Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's Showtime!

Sometimes, try as we might, no matter what we do, there are just some things that cannot be conquered. It's not a matter of failure, it's just the way things are; I mean we're only human. Even Superman had kryptonite and in mixed martial arts, there are some great fighters, Supermen per Se, that have their own kryptonite.

Legendary Kazushi Sakuraba could not overcome Wanderlei Silva; even after three tries. Future Hall of Famer Rich Franklin had Anderson Silva; so did Chael Sonnen for that matter and BJ Penn, as great as he was, just couldn't get past Frankie Edgar. The latest example of kryptonite comes in the form of new UFC lightweight (155 lbs.) champion Anthony 'Showtime' Pettis (17-2, 7 KO's, 7 subs).

In typical Pettis fashion, he highlighted an exciting UFC 164 card with another show stealing effort; this time in the main event in front of family and friends in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In a rematch of a bout nearly three years earlier against now former UFC lightweight champion Benson 'Smooth' Henderson, Pettis followed up his electrifying five round show stopping performance against Henderson in 2010 by leaving no doubt this time.

In less than five minutes he finished the equally talented former champ by catching Bendo in a tight arm bar submission at the end of the first round forcing a verbal submission. This finish and win was even more impressive considering everything going into this fight. Henderson (19-3, 2 KO's 8 subs) was on top of his game, having defeated the aforementioned Edgar for the title and then defending it three times against him, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. Besides this he had the revenge factor going in after losing his WEC lightweight title to Pettis in that 2010 classic.

However, call it karma, as Pettis did about the whole scenario afterward, or just call it bum luck; some may even call it a jinx, but Henderson losing via submission seemed to be destined after Joe Rogan before the fight had made a big deal about Bendo coming into the arena for the first time wearing his "black belt in jiu-jitsu." Ironically I had written about this very thing last week as being an overused and tired cliche.

Nonetheless, it appears Rogan put the whammy on Henderson, who is a legit submission grappler, as he talked about his recent jiu-jitsu promotion. It appeared though he started out using the right game plan by pressuring Pettis and giving him no room to operate. However, Pettis never showing emotion continued to free himself from every clinch, eventually starting to assert himself offensively and getting the better of the exchange till he went for the show stopping cartwheel knee strike that caused him to fall off balance to the ground.

Of course Henderson pounced on top of him and why shouldn't he? He had no problem at all in avoiding submission in Nate Diaz's guard for five rounds and Donald Cerrone couldn't make him tap, even after it appeared he had him in chokes and joint locks that were tighter than a rusty vice grip. There's no way, as talented as he is, that Pettis was going to submit the new appointed black belt in jiu-jitsu.

Well to Rogan's credit this time, he did also say beforehand that Pettis "has an active guard from the bottom" and "is dangerous off his back." Either Henderson slept on him or Pettis is that good, but he swiveled his hips and trapped Bendo's right arm in a blink of an eye and before you knew it, with less than 30 seconds in the round, Henderson tapped; verbally no less. That's like the equivalent to saying "uncle," which considering how bad he wanted to avenge his previous loss to Pettis, was a bitter pill to swallow.

Benson Henderson is a legit talented young fighter and former champion and I anticipate that somewhere down the line he will work his way back to the point that he and Pettis will meet a third time. However, whether that happens while Pettis is still champion or not, even he has to be wondering if Pettis just has his number. Meanwhile, Pettis has called out featherweight (145 lbs.) champion Jose Aldo and if that dream match comes to fruition I just have two words, "its showtime."

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