UFC 164 is in the books from BMO Bradley Harris Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the main card delivered a heart-pounding night of action culminating in a new UFC Lightweight champion. Benson Henderson looked to avenge his 2010 loss to Anthony Pettis at WEC 53, but “Showtime” had the Wisconsin crowd in his corner. “Smooth” dominated the early part of the first round by grinding Pettis against the cage. Pettis landed a sequence of hard body kicks, and then went for a flashy cartwheel-type of move to land in bottom guard. Henderson looked to rain down in top position, but he got caught in a slick armbar to lose the championship with a verbal submission. Pettis said after the fight that he felt Henderson's arm pop.
Submission specialists Frank Mir and Josh Barnett squared off at Heavyweight, and the two rivals chose not to touch gloves when it began. A slugfest ensued, with Barnett grinding Mir up against the cage. They clinched, and Barnett began to score with uppercuts and knees. “The Warmaster” crumpled Mir with a huge knee to earn the stoppage. Some may think it was too early, but an impressive return to the Octagon for Barnett nonetheless.
Chad Mendes and Clay Guida went to war at Featherweight for important ranking position. The two began a chess match on the feet, with Mendes looking to find his timing against Guida’s unorthodox movement. Mendes looked for a power guillotine and cored a nice takedown to win the first. Guida hit Mendes low with a leaping front kick in the second, but “Money” returned to sprawl a Guida takedown and get his back. Guida continuously stalked Mendes, who fought back with several knees to the body. In the third round, Mendes came out aggressive and landed a huge right hand followed by an uppercut to become the first man to stop “The Carpenter” via strikes, marking four such victories in a row.
Brandon “The Truth” Vera and his opponent Ben Rothwell may have fighting for their job tonight. Vera came out looking to use his speed and agility, utilizing some good punches and kicks to the body. Rothwell wouldn’t stop coming forward and landed some good power shots, slightly wobbling Vera. The two clinched for position to start the second, then traded shots throughout. Rothwell may have won the round with some late combinations. “Big Ben” pushed forward with a flurry in the third, rocking Vera with big uppercuts and knees to earn an impressive TKO stoppage from Herb Dean.
Erik Koch and Dustin Poirier met in a battle of promising young 145 lb. fighters, and it was quite the show. Poirier rocked Koch early with a punch and some ground shots, but Koch countered with a super-tight triangle choke. Incredibly, Poirier escaped to rock Koch with a right and almost finish the fight with big ground strikes, and then nearly got the win with a d’arce choke. Poirier took Koch down in the second, achieving the mount to land some shots. “Diamond” dominated the rest of the round. Down two rounds to none, Koch landed on top in Poirier’s guard during the third. He had Poirier’s back for the most of the round, but ultimately dropped a unanimous decision.
UFC 164 Main Card Results:
Anthony Pettis def. Benson Henderson via R1 submission (armbar)
Josh Barnett def. Frank Mir via R1 TKO (knee)
Chad Mendes def. Clay Guida via R3 TKO (punches)
Ben Rothwell def. Brandon Vera via R3 TKO (strikes)
Dustin Poirier def. Erik Koch via unanimous decision
Outer Photo: David Banks for USA Today Sports Images