MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of WEC 53: "Henderson vs. Pettis" below, beginning with the Versus telecast at 9 p.m. ET. We'll also deliver quick results of all the action from the preliminary card earlier in the evening.
WEC 53 will feature two of the promotion's world titles on the line for the last time as lightweight champion Benson Henderson defends his 155-pound strap against division number one contender Anthony Pettis, while 135-pound kingpin Dominick Cruz tries to quell the uprising of streaking bantamweight Scott Jorgensen.
A dynamite lightweight scrap between Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Chris "The Polish Hammer" Horodecki is also booked for the blockbuster card.
Many of our readers check-in before, during and after the event to share their thoughts on the action. Therefore, feel free to leave a comment (or 53) before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it always turns out to be a great discussion.
Keep in mind that we will also be the spot for the latest news, recaps and post-fight analysis after "Henderson vs. Pettis."
Without further delay, see below for the latest WEC 53 results. (Note: This will go from the bottom up; therefore, scroll toward the bottom for the latest detailed round-by-round action!)
Anthony Pettis defeats Ben Henderson via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
Dominick Cruz defeats Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Donald Cerrone defeats Chris Horodecki via submission (triangle choke) at 2:43 of round two
Kamal Shalorus defeats Bart Palaszewski via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Shane Roller defeats Jamie Varner via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:55 of round one
Brad Pickett defeats Ivan Menjivar via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Eddie Wineland defeats Ken Stone via knockout (slam) at 2:11 of round one
Yuri Alcantara defeats Ricardo Lamas via knockout (strikes) at 3:26 of round one
Danny Downes defeats Tiequan Zhang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Danny Castillo defeats Will Kerr via knockout (strikes) at 1:25 of round one
Renan Barao defeats Chris Cariaso via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:47 of round one
WEC 53: "HENDERSON VS. PETTIS" PLAY-BY-PLAY LIVE MAIN CARD COMMENTARY:
Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis (155-pound limit)
Round one: Great staredown. This is going to be good. Here we go with the last fight in WEC history. Henderson has the center. No gloves touching. Henderson shows a leg kick but misses. Pettis taking his time here early on. Nice kick from Henderson upstairs. Pettis with a leg kick. Henderson jabs to the body. High kick from Pettis now gets blocked. Pettis moving forward with straight punches. He kicks to the body. Henderson drives forward with punches and a hard leg kick. He drives Pettis into the fence and he's looking for the takedown. Nice knees from the champion. Foot stomp from Henderson. Henderson tries a knee to the head but comes up short. Trip takedown for Henderson. Pettis has full guard. Punches from both fighters. Pettis has his back against the fence here. Pettis tries for an armbar, but Henderson escapes easily. Pettis back to his feet. Leg kick from Henderson. Pettis gets a high kick blocked. Jab from Pettis. Nice right hand sneaks in there from Pettis. Hard leg kick from Pettis. He's starting to get more comfortable here. Henderson shoots in for a single. Pettis defends it, but Henderson is relentless and drags him to the floor. The bell sounds shortly after. 10-9 Henderson.
Round two: Pettis walking Henderson down. Nice body kick from the champ. Now he goes upstairs and misses. Pettis with a nice counter to the leg. Huge right hand from Pettis. Henderson goes down to a knee and Pettis jumps onto his back. Knee from Pettis as Henderson tries to escape. Pettis with a takedown. He's trying for a kimura. Henderson works back to his feet and he's trying for a takedown now. Pettis defending with his back to the fence. Knees from the champion. Nice left from Pettis on the break. Henderson with a body kick. Pettis fires back with a high kick that gets blocked. Nice left hand from the challenger. Henderson misses with a left then shoots. Pettis sprawls and stands. Small exchange before a clinch. Henderson eats another punch on the break. Pettis eats a right hand. Now a left. Hard kick to the body from Henderson. Pettis with a flying knee that grazes the champ. Back into the clinch with Pettis' back to the fence. Henderson punches on the break. Low kick from Pettis to the groin. Henderson is fine. Back underway. Nice exchange of kicks. Pettis again with kicks to the leg. The round ends shortly after that. Close round. I'd give it to Pettis from the early action.
Round three: Jabs from both fighters. Pettis with a straight kick. Henderson with a very hard leg kick. Another hard kick to the body from the champ. Pettis counters with a low kick. Pettis moving forward here. Henderson explodes with a right hand. Pettis wrestles him to the mat. He has full mount. Henderson gives up his back. Pettis is latched onto him as Henderson stands. He has a body triangle. Punches from Pettis now. He's still on the champ's back. Henderson isn't doing much but standing here with Pettis on his back. Pettis continues to work punches to the head and body. More punches from Pettis. Pettis trying to get the neck now. Big shots to the body from Pettis. Henderson elbowing to Pettis' leg now. Pettis trying to get under the neck. Henderson defends it and breaks the hold just before the bell. 10-9 Pettis
Round four: Henderson with the center and he eats a left hook. Leg kick from Pettis. Hard body kick from Henderson. He's had success with that. Nice flurry of punches from Henderson and he wrestles Pettis to the mat. Pettis with full guard. Henderson stands and Pettis tries to roll out. Henderson takes his back! He has a body lock. Pettis is in trouble. Henderson is under the chin with the choke. Somehow Pettis escapes. Henderson still has his back, though. Pettis spins and gets the top position. Passes right to side control and now he has Henderson's back! Henderson stands and Pettis is off. They separate and Henderson lands a push kick. He misses with a high kick. Pettis stalking. Hard body kick from Henderson and a nice counter punch from Pettis. Pettis moves forward with a combination. Henderson drops down for a takedown. He gets it. Pettis trying for a guillotine. Henderson moves to half guard. Petts gets full guard back and he still has Henderson's neck. The round ends there. 10-9 Henderson.
Round five: Kick to the body from Henderson. Pettis with a nice counter. Henderson eats a right hand that drops him down to a knee. He's right back up. Pettis still stalking. Leg kick from Pettis and Henderson says it was to the groin. He's okay now and we're back underway. Nice kicks from Henderson, but Pettis rocks him with a counter right hand. Pettis continuing to move forward. Henderson punches to the body. Henderson slips and Petts follows him to the floor and takes his back. He lets him go and they're back on their feet. Henderson shoots and eats a knee. He's latched onto the single. Pettis with hammerfists. Henderson powers his way to a takedown. Pettis setting up a triangle. Now Henderson has Pettis' back. Nice sweep and escape for Pettis. He gets back to his feet with a minute and a half to go. Stiff left hand from Pettis. Now a high kick gets blocked. Pettis stalking still. He runs off the cage and connects with a beautiful kick to the face! Some Bruce Lee shit right there! Wow! Henderson with a single, but Pettis is hammering away with punches. Anthony Pettis may have just done enough to win this decision. He's still teeing off with punches. Henderson stands and tries for a takedown just before the bell. Great fight! I've got Pettis on my card.
Final result: Anthony Pettis defeats Ben Henderson via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
Dominick Cruz vs. Scott Jorgensen (135-pound limit)
Round one: Jorgensen misses with a leg kick. Cruz leans in awkwardly with a jab. Nice combination of punches now from Cruz. Now a kick to the legs. He moving around very well here, using his reach to his advantage. Jorgensen with a leg kick. Nice kick and punch combo from the champ. Jorgensen walks him into the cage, but he can't capitalize. Cruz with great movement. Big combination of punches and a high kick at the end from Cruz. Jorgensen still moving forward. Stiff jab from the champ. Now a nice hook. Knee to the body from Cruz. Jorgensen catches it and latches on. He takes the champ's back momentarily before Cruz escapes. Jorgensen having trouble finding his range with the jab. Cruz explodes with another combination. Jorgensen still coming forward. Hard leg kick from Cruz. Now Jorgensen lands with a jab. Now a hard counter right lands on the champ. Big uppercut from Cruz. Another exchange in the center. Jorgensen tries for a takedown. He has Cruz against the fence. Cruz working body shots and he pushes out of the clinch. Flurry of punches from Cruz. Jorgensen answers with a takedown attempt. He gets it, but Cruz scrambles and takes the top position just before the bell sounds. Good round. 10-9 Cruz.
Round two: Jorgensen jabs and eats a counter. Cruz catches a leg kick and almost gets a takedown. Leg kicks from the champion now. Stiff jab from Cruz. Another followed up with an uppercut. Jorgensen is having trouble dealing with the angles Cruz is coming in from. He's eating a lot of shots. Looping left hand lands from Cruz. Jorgensen misses with a big right hand. Cruz's nose is bright red. Takedown from the champion. Jorgensen has full guard. Nice ground and pound from Cruz here on the talented wrestler. Cruz with several shots to the body. Nice elbows from the champ! Jorgensen trying to use the cage to get back to his feet, but Cruz is all over him. More elbows from the champion. More work to the body. Excellent ground and pound from Cruz. He's staying busy and landing. Jorgensen back to his feet and he gets separation. Flying knee from Cruz. Into the clinch now with Cruz looking for another takedown. They separate and the bell sounds shortly after. 10-9 Cruz.
Round three: Nice right hands right away from Cruz. Jorgensen misses with a counter combo. Jabs from both now. Short right hand drops Jorgensen, but he pops right back up. Nice one two combo from the champ. Another hard right. Three punch and kick combo from Cruz. Now he gets a high kick blocked. Now he connects with another. Jorgensen eats it and stands in there. Cruz is picking him apart. Leg kick from Jorgensen. Cruz to the body with a right. Jorgensen eats a big uppercut. Good head movement and counter punching from Cruz. Jorgensen can't find his range. Big exchange and Cruz tees off with punches to Jorgensen's head. Jorgensen is tough. He's still coming forward. Hard jab from Cruz. Counter right lands from Cruz. Jorgensen eats another jab. Now an uppercut. Cruz tackles him to the floor and lands in Jorgensen's full guard. More solid ground and pound from the champion. He's been very impressive so far in this fight. Sweep from Jorgensen and he takes Cruz's back. Cruz escapes back to his feet quickly and throws a couple of punches before the bell sounds. 10-9 Cruz.
Round four: Cruz connects with a big right hand right off the bat. Takedown from Cruz. Into Jorgensen's full guard. Cruz trying to pass. Jorgensen blocks. Punches from Jorgensen off his back. Cruz to the body and a big miss with an elbow to the head. Lots of punches to the body and head from Cruz. Jorgensen trying to get off his back, but Cruz has great control here. Jorgensen finally gets up and gets separation. Back into the clinch against the fence. Cruz looking for another takedown. Now Jorgensen reverses. They separate after some knees and punches. Nice kick from Jorgensen. Cruz with another flying knee. Jorgensen jabs to the body. Cruz powers Jorgensen to the mat for another takedown. He has side control. Now Jorgensen grabs a leg and works back to his feet. Hard kick to the body from Cruz followed up by a hard right hand. Nice combo from Jorgensen, but Cruz's head movement is too good. Another takedown for Cruz and he ends the round with more ground and pound. He's dominating this fight. 10-9 Cruz.
Round five: Cruz takes the center and kicks high. It gets blocked. Nice exchange with Cruz swinging hard punches. Big right hand from Cruz. He hasn't let off the gas pedal at all. Kick upstairs again. More jabs and superb head movement from the champion. He's putting on a clinic. Jorgensen still moving forward with jabs, but Cruz is making it nearly impossibly to land. Jorgensen blocks another high kick. Kick, punch and kick combo from Cruz. Hard right hand from Cruz. Jorgensen walking forward and he eats another combination of punches and kicks. Jorgensen grabs for a takedown and powers the champion to the floor. Cruz pops right back to his feet. Now it's Cruz shooting in and scoring with the takedown. Jorgensen with full guard. Cruz working the ground and pound to the head and body. Jorgensen has now answer. Cruz to half guard. Back up quickly now for Jorgensen. Big uppercut connects from the challenger, but Cruz isn't fazed by it. Another nice exchange right before the bell. Dominating win for Dominick Cruz, the first ever UFC bantamweight champion.
Final result: Dominick Cruz defeats Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Donald Cerrone vs. Chris Horodecki (155-pound limit)
Round one: Cowboy sprints out and lands with a jab. Horodecki counters with a high kick that gets blocked. Leg kick from Cowboy. Now upstairs. Nice counter left from Horodecki. A knee from Cowboy puts them into the clinch. Cowboy knees and punches out. Counter low kick from Cowboy is to the groin and there's a pause in the action for him to recover. No harm done. Both fighters land jabs on the restart. Horodecki misses with a high kick. Hard body kick from Cowboy. Cowboy with a quick takedown. He jumps into mount, but Horodecki scrambles and gets back to his feet. Horodecki staying busy with kicks and counter punches to the head and body. Body kick from Cowboy. Another stiff counter from Horodecki. Leg kick from Cowboy. Jab then clinch and knees from Cowboy. Horodecki pushes out. Horodecki shoots and eats a big knee. Cowboy with a nice two punch combo. Hard counter uppercut from Horodecki. Leg kicks from Horodecki. Nice body punch from Horodecki. Cowboy jabs and eats another body shot. Horodecki is staying very active with his movement and strikes. He's doing a decent job dealing with Cowboy's range. Now he shoots for a takedown. Cowboy sprawls and then connects with a head kick on the break. Horodecki is okay though. Another nice exchange with both fighters landing. Cowboy with a trip takedown. He lands on his back and almost secures an armbar right away. He's setting up another one, but he doesn't have it. Back to his feet quickly. Body kick from Horodecki. Cowboy with a body lock and takedown. He quickly takes Horodecki's back and goes to work on a choke. The bell sounds there. 10-9 Cerrone.
Round two: Horodecki takes the center and kicks to the leg. High kick gets blocked by Cowboy. Horodecki with a takedown. Cowboy with full guard. He almost gets a triangle. He transitions to an umaplata. Back to the triangle. Horodecki escapes somehow. Cowboy has it again. Horodecki is in trouble now. Cowboy looks to have it locked in. He's pulling on Horodecki's head for pressure. Cowboy with some elbows now. He looked like he was going to let the choke go for a second, but he singed it back up. Horodecki is trying to fight it. Cowboy putting more pressure and Horodecki finally taps. Very nice win for Cowboy over a tough Polish Hammer.
Final result: Donald Cerrone defeats Chris Horodecki via submission (triangle choke) at 2:43 of round two
Bart Palaszewski vs. Kamal Shalorus (155-pound limit)
Round one: Gloves touch and we're underway with the first fight of the night. Shalorus with the center. Bart circling. Shalorus eats a body kick then counters with a combination of punches. Bart covers up and circles out. Bart misses with a leg kick. Now he misses upstairs. Shalorus scores with a slick throw to get Bart to the mat. Bartimus with full guard. Shalorus with some hard ground and pound to the head and body. He's drilling Bartimus to the body with big punches. Palaszewski trying for an armbar. He lets it go. Shalorus stands and rains down more punches. He's throwing some heat. He continues to tee off and a covered up Palaszewski. Shalorus back down into Bartimus' guard. More punches and hammer fists. Shalorus stands again and goes to the legs with a kick. Bartimus explodes back to his feet. Shalorus makes him pay with some stiff punches, but Bart stands tough and fires back with a punch then kick. Another leg kick from Bart. Another. Shalorus with a jab. He avoids another kick upstairs from Bart. Hard leg kick from Shalorus almost takes Bart's legs out from under him. Leg kicks from both fighters. Shalorus has a ton more power on his strikes, though. The round ends there. Easy 10-9 for Shalorus.
Round two: Bartimus right back to work with kicks. Shalorus gets a head kick blocked. Jabs from Palaszewski. Another power kick to the leg from Shalorus. Shalorus catches a kick from Palaszewski now, but he can't get him down. Nice jab from Shalorus. Hard combination of punches from the Iranian against the fence. Palaszewski circles out. He's still working the jab, but Shalorus is winning more points with his power. Head kick lands for Bart, but Shalorus eats it pretty good. Shalorus lowering his head and swinging wildly now. Bart avoids those easily and kicks again to the legs. Shalorus shoots for a takedown now, but he can't get it. Bartimus gets separation and again lands with a head kick. Shalorus eats it like it was nothing. More punches from Shalorus and now he scores with a scoop takedown. Bart has full guard. Bartimus doing a nice job tying Shalorus up here so he can't work his ground and pound. Now Bartimus powers his way back to his feet and he's urging Shalorus to trade with him. Shalorus shoots with a tired takedown. Bartimus pushes him away. He falls to the mat on the exchange, but he pops right back to his feet. Palazewski coming forward with punches. He connects with another head kick just before the bell. Closer round. I'd still give it to Shalorus.
Round three: Shalorus with a leg kick. Bartimus with punches right away. Nice counter from Shalorus. Nice left from Bartimus. Bartimus eats a stiff right hand that backs him up. Another hard leg kick from Kamal. Big left hook lands from Shalorus. He tees off again, but Bartimus stands in there and connects with a counter. Shalrous coming forward with tired punches. Now he shoots and picks Bartimus up easily and puts him on the mat. Bartimus quickly back to his feet. Straight punches from Palaszewski. Now a kick to the body. Now a nice left hook. Shalorus shoots with a lazy takedown. Bart stuffs it easily. Now Shalorus has a single and he manages to get Bart down with it. Full guard for Palaszewski. Body punches from Shalorus. He works to half guard. Bart working elbows and he gets full guard back. Kamal passes to half guard again. Nice elbow from Shalorus. Bart working hard to get back to his feet. He gets there and tees off with a knee then kick combination. Now he connects with a knee right on Shalorus' chin. Shalorus tries desperately to take Bart down, but he can't. Bartimus with kicks and punches to close out the round. Nice round at the end there for Palaszewski. This fight could go either way depending on how the second round was scored.
Final result: Kamal Shalorus defeats Bart Palaszewski via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)