Lightweight Championship bout: Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (+105) vs (c) Benson “Smooth” Henderson (-115) Fight Breakdown: The main event for UFC 164 from Milwaukee, WI is a highly anticipated bout for the promotions Lightweight crown. The contest will see two former WEC Lightweight Champions in Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson face off, with the latter defending his UFC title. The odds for this match-up are currently at a near coin-flip, with Pettis being +105 ($100 to win $105) and Henderson being -115 ($115 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. ANTHONY “SHOWTIME” PETTIS (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is making his fifth trip to the Octagon, this time for a Championship fight he has been waiting three years for. Pettis beat Henderson at the WEC finale event in Henderson’s hometown of Glendale, AZ., and Pettis and Henderson both moved on to the UFC; Pettis was in line to get a title shot, but because Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard 2 was a draw, plans were changed. Pettis didn’t want to sit and wait, so he agreed to fight Clay Guida in his UFC debut, as a warm up fight before his title shot. Unfortunately for Pettis, things didn’t go his way that night. He had no answer for Guida’s relentless, unorthodox wrestling attack. Since that loss, Anthony Pettis has bounced back strong with three straight wins, including back to back knockouts over Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone, two fighters who are near-impossible to knock out. Pettis was set to face Jose Aldo for the featherweight title, but pulled out of the bout due to a supposed knee injury which somehow managed to heal within weeks, just in time for Henderson’s original opponent TJ Grant to get injured and for Pettis to step in to replace him. Everything that took place was very strange but I’m not making any accusations… Pettis is an incredible striker; one of the elite in MMA and arguably the most exciting fighter to watch. He has a flashy style but is very effective, as he is well known for his famous “kick heard around the world” AKA the “Showtime kick”, a kick-off-the-cage he landed on Henderson in the final round of their first meeting. Anthony Pettis is brilliant on the mat, as he is a serious threat from both top and bottom positions. He has a great rubber guard and always remains very active from the bottom, not giving the opponent in top position a second to have a clear thought. Training out of Roufosport in Milwaukee, WI., Pettis will be fighting in front of his hometown crowd and will be looking to make an impression. BENSON “SMOOTH” HENDERSON (19-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) is returning to the Octagon to defend his Lightweight Championship Title for a record-setting four times. He is currently tied with BJ Penn with three title defenses, and has a personal goal of breaking Anderson Silva’s record for most title defenses. I am not quite certain how likely that is, considering two of his three title defenses were closely contested bouts in which the majority of spectators had him losing in. Henderson is an incredibly talented fighter, but for some reason, he does not mentally show up 100% in every fight. He does not attack like he is capable of and displays a poor fight IQ when we’re all aware that he knows better. I think Henderson is well aware of the task at hand and is mentally focused to “get that Pettis stain off his soul”. Benson Henderson is a very good striker and wrestler. His striking skills, much like Pettis’ are very good, all around, but I would have to give Pettis the slight advantage in the striking department. Henderson is a skilled wrestler with good takedowns and should look to implement them in this bout, as that is Pettis’ only weakness, if you could call it that. Henderson didn’t find much success with his wrestling in their first meeting, but he is a different fighter now and his game plan should definitely be to take Pettis down and beat him up, like he has done against Nate Diaz and Mark Bocek before him. Benson Henderson trains out of the MMA Lab in Glendale, AZ., and certainly has more than enough gas in his tank for a five round war. Fight Prediction: The first round of this fight will be treated as the sixth round of their last fight; Pettis will be out to prove that he should have been Champ all along and Henderson will be out to prove that Pettis is not a threat to his title. Both fighters will undoubtedly be looking to make statements, especially Pettis, given that he is fighting in his own backyard. They are both in great shape; they have great cardio and are two of the best mixed martial artists in the word. Pettis has the slight striking edge, while Henderson has the wrestling edge, and their jiu-jitsu cancel each other out. Henderson should really look to implement his wrestling, as I think that is where he will be most effective. Pettis is incredible off his back, but Henderson’s submission defense is one of the best in all of MMA; throughout his career, he has shown that he is impossible of choking out, a la Brian Ebersole. This will be an exciting battle, but I feel Henderson will get the better of Pettis. Henderson lost his WEC title to Pettis in his hometown but will retain his UFC title in Pettis’ hometown. Be it finish or Decision, one thing will be certain; fight fans at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI will not be cheering when Bruce Buffer reads the verdict. Gabe’s Pick: Benson Henderson by Submission (guillotine choke, 0:42 round 4) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Ben “SMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTH” Henderson -115 for a BIG play.