The top writers in Hollywood could not have scripted a better ending to WEC’s run as a Mixed Martial Arts promotion than the scene unfolding Thursday night in Glendale, Arizona during the closing moments of the final fight in organizational history.
In an instant classic, Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis battled it out for twenty-five tough minutes with the closing moments featuring one of the most amazing kicks in MMA history as Pettis sprung off the fence and landed a flush flying head-kick sending “Smooth” to the mat. Though the force was not quite enough to finish Henderson, the exciting maneuver and resulting damage may have made the difference in winning the judges’ favor for the round and ultimately the WEC lightweight title, not to mention the attached opportunity to face the UFC 155-pound champion at some point in the near future.
The exciting offering from both was named the event’s “Fight of the Night”. News of the distinction, as well as the $10,000 bonus coming along with the evening’s awards, was announced at the post-event press conference.
“Knockout of the Night” went to Eddie Wineland for his first-round slam of opponent Ken Stone during the preliminary portion of WEC 53. The resulting damage was enough to eventually cause Stone to be carted out of the arena on a stretcher for precautionary reasons. Wineland improved his record to 18-6 with the impressive victory and has won his last four fights.
Meanwhile, a surprisingly quick defeat for former lightweight champ Jamie Varner produced “Submission of the Night” honors for All-American wrestler Shane Roller. The related finish came with a little more than a minute remaining in the opening round of their bout after the Oklahoman was able to lock in a Rear-Naked Choke based on Varner’s inability to shake Roller off his back with a slam.
PHOTO CREDIT – WEC