Former UFC champions Benson Henderson and Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis will complete their trilogy, but this time, the two human highlight reels will face-off under the Karate Combat banner.
Per a report from MMA Fighting, the long-awaited threequel will go down at 170-pounds and will headline Karate Combat 43 on December 15 at the Expo at World Trade Market in Las Vegas. Both fighters are said to have verbally agreed to the matchup which will come more than a decade removed from their last clash at UFC 164.
Anthony Pettis enters the bout with a career record of 25-15, including two wins over Benson Henderson, the first coming under the WEC banner in 2010. Three years later, they would meet again inside the Octagon with the UFC lightweight title on the line. Showtime’ scored a first-round submission via armbar to go two-up on Henderson.
Pettis closed out his career with the UFC in 2019, earning wins over Charles Oliveira, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Gilbert Melendez, Jim Miller, and Michael Chiesa along the way.
“I am excited to announce my next endeavor with the Karate Combat family,” Pettis said. “I am returning to my traditional martial arts roots for this one. I am the most complete and exciting striker in martial arts and I will show the world where my expertise in MMA comes from. I want to help grow this sport and I can’t wait to put on a show for this organization. It’s Showtime!”
In April, Pettis earned a majority decision against legendary pugilist Roy Jones Jr. at Gamebred Boxing 4 after going 1-4 competing inside the PFL Smart Cage.
After amassing an impressive 11-3 record with the UFC, including wins over Jorge Masvidal, Nate Diaz, and Frankie Edgar, Benson Henderson signed on the dotted line with Bellator MMA in 2019. ‘Smooth’ would go 7-7 with the promotion, completing his contract in March following a first-round defeat at the hands of lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov.
Following the announcement, Asim Zaidi, the new president of Karate Combat, added, “I wanted to start off by gifting the combat sports community with an epic fight featuring two former UFC champions free on YouTube.”
The promotion is also said to be in talks with former UFC champions Jose Aldo, Luke Rockhold, and Lyoto Machida for potential matches in the pit, as well as high-profile free agents Michael ‘Venom’ Page and Darren Till.