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WEC 53 Aftermath Notes: Video of ‘The Showtime Kick’, Prelim Madness, Bonuses + More

(In slo-mo for your convenience. Props: kemist. Full-speed gif is at the end of this post.)

Let’s get this out of the way: The cage-spring head-kick that Anthony "Showtime" Pettis landed on Ben Henderson in their lightweight title fight at last night’s WEC 53 event was 1) The greatest kick in MMA history, 2) Maybe the most impressive knockdown in MMA history, and 3) Further proof that Pettis is one of the most exciting 155′ers in the universe. (He’s also punched his ticket to challenge for the UFC lightweight title against either Frankie Edgar or Gray Maynard, who both look dull as hell by comparison.)

We already knew Pettis was capable of stuff like this, but to have the balls to throw that kick in the fifth round of a title fight? If he planted his foot wrong, the video above might be titled "Ultimate Fail." Instead, he clinched the match on the judges scorecards with absolute authority. Said Pettis after the fight: “Duke Roufus plays with us, and we try these new kicks. He told us if one of us lands it in the cage that he would take us to dinner. So he owes me some dinner.”

The main event earned both men $10,000 Fight of the Night bonuses. As action-packed as the "Henderson vs. Pettis" broadcast was, the unaired prelims were equally hardcore, producing five first-round stoppages in seven bouts…

Zhang Tie Quan‘s streak of 11-straight first-round stoppages came to an end, as he was outpointed by 7-1 Roufusport lightweight Danny Downes. Quan was clearly not prepared for the fight to go longer than five minutes, and looked increasingly exhausted in the later stages, allowing Downes to capitalize with ground-and-pound and submission attempts en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Former WEC bantamweight champ Eddie Wineland scored his fourth-straight WEC victory, knocking out newcomer Ken Stone with a body-slam, as Stone was working for a flying guillotine. Stone had to be stretchered out of the cage. On the bright side, Wineland picked up a $10,000 Knockout of the Night bonus for his efforts.

Submission of the Night went to Shane Roller, who bounced back from his WEC 50 submission loss to Anthony Pettis by finishing Jamie Varner with a first-round rear-naked choke. Varner ends 2010 with a record of 0-3-1 (including losses to Donald Cerrone and Ben Henderson, and a draw against Kamal Shalorus), which means his continued employment by Zuffa is by no means guaranteed.

In one of the two prelim fights that went the distance — and could have been a runner-up for Fight of the Night — British bantamweight standout Brad Pickett and Canadian veteran Ivan Menjivar enjoyed a back-and-forth war packed with ferocious striking exchanges and near-finishes on the mat. Pickett secured the first and third rounds on all three judges’ scorecards, rebounding from his previous decision loss to Scott Jorgensen.

WEC 53 Preliminary Card Quick Results

– Danny Downes def. Zhang Tie Quan via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
– Shane Roller def. Jamie Varner via submission (rear-naked choke), 3:55 of round 1
– Brad Pickett def. Ivan Menjivar via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
– Eddie Wineland def. Ken Stone via KO (slam) at 2:11 of round 1
Danny Castillo def. Will Kerr via KO (punches), 1:25 of round 1
– Yuri Alcantara def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punches), 3:26 of round 1
– Renan Barão def. Chris Cariaso via submission (rear naked choke), 3:47 of round 1

And two more random notes: Dominick Cruz says he’d delay his hand surgery to accept a coaching position opposite rival Urijah Faber on The Ultimate Fighter; if Dana White gives the word, he’s all over it. "I would accept (a coaching position) very much, and I would be stoked. And it would be awesome, because I could get my loss back." Also, the Glendale crowd sucked even more in person.

(Props: the UG)

Cagepotato Comments

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FaH Q NL15- December 19, 2010 at 8:11 am
LOL @ Japanadian. Easily one of the Top 5 dumbest fkn comments ive read. The angle Pettis came at was absolutely perfect for exactly what he did. Two steps and fucking amazingness. Stop watching it in slowmo brah. Kids kicks are best in MMA, bar-none
mtnthc- December 17, 2010 at 8:57 pm
Kid Clam Curtains, thanks, the very thought kept running through my mind as I watched, what a complete bunch of douche bags who don't know shit about mma. Arizona,...haters.
kickhead- December 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm
Mortal Kombat
RustyShackleford- December 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm
Henderson vs Pettis was the best fight of the year, hands down. An absolute 25 minute war. I didn't think it would have been a unanimous decision, it seemed a lot closer to me. Either way I felt Pettis won the fight with the last round antics. I could probably watch that fight a thousand times and still be sitting on the edge of my seat.
NomadRip- December 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm
That was a beautiful way to end the WEC.
WuTangClan- December 17, 2010 at 1:04 pm
You're a jap, stop talking.
just some dong- December 17, 2010 at 11:55 am
Anytime you knock someone down with a kick, you did it right.
Japanadian- December 17, 2010 at 11:29 am
pettis says he practices that kick in training? cause he's not doing it right at all. waaaay more power if he jumped off the cage with his left foot and then roundhouse with the right. that way you land the kick while still pushing off the wall.
the more i watch that kick, the worse it looks, like something i might have done in elementary school
dranokills- December 17, 2010 at 11:11 am
thats the best fucking kick I have seen since "game of death".
RwilsonR- December 17, 2010 at 9:18 am
Gymkata, fuck yeah!!! Good call, LOKI.

Kid Clam Curtains- December 17, 2010 at 9:09 am
I was there for the fights last night and I must apologize for the joke of a crowd there. What a huge group of douches. 90% of the crowd looked like they were only there to take a break from their 24 hour jobs of playing video games and not getting pussy. one shitbag after another screaming unfunny shit like "punch him in the cunt" and "superman punch." One guy screamed that literally every 2 minutes through the entire night.

and all the booing? holy fuck kill yourselves please. PHX officially just fucked themselves from ever getting a UFC event i bet. i felt ashamed to live here.

that said, the fights were great. we had sick seats and the WEC puts on a great live show. the only thing that sucked was the $12 beers...but i guess that can be expected. met efrain escodero and danny castillo. both seemed super nice. wanted to meet cain and urijah but they were pretty well surrounded the whole time.
DangadaDang- December 17, 2010 at 8:49 am
Say what you want about Stephan Bonnar as an announcer, but his reaction to that kick was fucking brilliant. Harris, being the professional that he is, just kept talking like he was watching chess.
Seoul Brother- December 17, 2010 at 8:25 am
There is no spoon, bitches.
PortlandMMA- December 17, 2010 at 7:57 am
When Pettis landed that kick I literally sat there with my mouth open and my hands in the air for like 15 minutes. I like Benson, but you have something wrong with you if you don't like Pettis.
danomite- December 17, 2010 at 7:57 am
HAHAHA! He's a spot-on match. I always thought there was something familiar looking about the way he hopped around the cage but I couldn't think of what it was. Thank you for that.
Mofo- December 17, 2010 at 7:55 am
I saw GymKata in the theater dude... when it ended, I was doing spinning roundhouses all the way through the parking lot. Pudgy little badass Shotokan yellow belt, inspired by the worst martial arts movie of all time.

Thank god MMA came along or I'd still be waiting for GymKata 2.
Bruce_Buffer- December 17, 2010 at 7:52 am
Backpack Pettis! Good thing that ninja gaiden shit landed or he would just be backpack today!

I'm a big Bendo fan, and im bummed to see him lose, but what a way to go out. These dudes are really gonna inject some life into the UFC.
jimbonics- December 17, 2010 at 7:49 am
Pettis went from promising prospect to MMA Legend in 1.5 seconds.
Tardjitsu- December 17, 2010 at 7:35 am
Is it just me, or does Pettis' overtly groomed eyebrows weird everyone out. Either way, he ninja kicked his way into my faves list. I hope he stays this exciting with Ed-nard.
Fried Taco- December 17, 2010 at 7:23 am
I was watching live on my DVR, and when this kick happened, I just had to rewind and watch it again even though the fight wasn't over yet. I couldn't believe my eyes!
DangadaDang- December 17, 2010 at 7:14 am
According to Sherdog one of those prelim finishes was a walk off KO, so there's something else to be thankful for. Also, that kick......................................Jesus.
Smitty- December 17, 2010 at 7:12 am
Great way to wrap up a great fighting organization. Even tho the UFC owned the WEC, it seemed like an entire different world of fighters and fights. I kinda hate to see it go, but at the same time, I'm excited to see this lighter weight class in the UFC. I hope it works out.
P.S. That kick was freakin outta this world!
Stak40- December 17, 2010 at 7:08 am
Pretty dope card last night. I was surprised by Cruz's dominance. I figured he could win but didnt think it would be that dominant. I also couldnt decided on who i wanted to win between Pettis and Henderson and changed my mind many times before the flying ninja kick went down! Dizzam! Henderson should slap himself for allowing that shit to happen to him in his hometown...and then lose the belt...and the UFC title shot!
k-onda- December 17, 2010 at 7:03 am
Sick! Sick! Sick! That was just ridonculous! Way to go out kids. Benson v Showtime was a total fight - but that kick is gonna overshadow everything else. And all the fights were pumpin with energy, great stuff.
Now the UFC is stacked son, well, at the lighter weights at least.
BONGTAR- December 17, 2010 at 6:53 am
That was awesome. Ben will make some fans in the UFC with his style, And Pettis is a hell of a fighter. Does it seem odd that he will be fighting the winner of Gaynard, Headgar? Unless he scores a KO, he'll get layed on for 5 rounds.