‘Showtime’ beats Henderson by 1st-round armbar to win 155-pound belt

Published on Monday, 9/2/13, at 2:11 a.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis is the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s new lightweight champion after submitting Benson ‘Smooth’ Henderson with a vicious armbar late in the first round of the main event at UFC 164 in his hometown of Milwaukee.

Pettis notched his second win over Henderson as an even-money underdog. Bettors taking ‘under’ 4.5 rounds were easy winners.

Pettis called out bantamweight champ Jose Aldo Jr. following his victory, but he also indicated that he heard something in his knee pop during the fight. Therefore, he could be out for an extended period of time.

UFC President Dana White shot down any idea of a Pettis-Henderson trilogy anytime in the near future. Not only did Pettis score a first-round finish, but he also beat Henderson to win the WEC strap three years ago.

Henderson could also be out for a decent stretch depending on how bad of injury he sustained to his arm. You would think his next bout would come against Gray Maynard, who lost a No. 1 contender match against T.J. Grant his last time out.

The co-main event was marred by a way-too-quick stoppage by inexperienced referee Robert Hinds. White said he had never laid eyes on Hinds before, yet the Wisconsin commission assigned him to a crucial co-main bout.

Josh Barnett was having his way with Frank Mir and got the TKO stoppage less than two minutes into this heavyweight showdown. Barnett had Mir pressed against the cage and landed a huge knee to Mir’s face that dropped him to the canvas.

But before even witnessing how Mir would react, Hinds called a halt to the fight. There’s no doubt the stoppage was early, but it might have not made a difference. Then again, we’ve seen Mir pull out improbable comeback victories against Brock Lesnar and Big Nog when he was in all sorts of trouble.

Mir bounced right back up and appeared fine as he passionately protested, but his argument went for naught. At the post-fight media scrum, Mir said, “I think the fans got robbed. We’re fighters. If all the fights were stopped on any kind of flash shot or anything like that — I got screwed.”

Barnett, at the age of 35, was fighting in the UFC for the first time since winning the heavyweight belt over Randy Couture back in 2002. The -170 favorite understood Mir’s frustration.

“I come from the old school,” Barnett said. “Believe me, I didn’t want to stop. I understand Frank’s frustration, but I feel like there was no getting out of that, personally. I feel it was the beginning of the end, but that’s what I’m supposed to feel.”

Barnett improved his career MMA record to 33-6. Mir, 16-8 overall, lost for the third straight time.

In another heavyweight clash, Ben Rothwell scored a third-round KO of Brandon Vera as a -120 favorite. Rothwell wants a shot at Travis Browne next, but I don’t see that happening. Stipe Miocic, fresh off a dominant win over Roy Nelson, is probably a more realistic option.

Chad Mendes won his fourth consecutive fight by KO when he laid waste to Clay Guida in the third round as an expensive -425 ‘chalk.’ Mendes badly wants a rematch against Aldo for the 145-pound strap, but he’s probably at least one more win away from that opportunity, especially since he already was given a title shot and lost to Aldo by first-round TKO.

Dustin Poirier cashed a nice +170 underdog ticket for his betting supporters in a unanimous-decision victory (29-28 once, 29-27 twice) over Erik Koch to open the pay-per-view card. Poirier improved to 6-2 in the UFC with his only defeats coming at the hands of Cub Swanson and ‘The Korean Zombie.’

In a 155-pound scrap, Gleison Tibeau beat Jamie Varner by split decision (29-28 twice, 27-29) as a short underdog.

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