My jaw literally dropped wide open for a good thirty seconds yesterday while watching the lightweight championship match of WEC 53. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis lunged forward with what appeared to be a running high kick, but redirected his foot to the cage, which he used to launch himself into a jumping head kick with the same leg, striking Ben Henderson in the head as he circled away from the fake high kick—hands now lowered at the worst possible time.
I couldn’t believe how smoothly that move was put together. So I looked at it a few more times and suddenly realized that it might have been staged! Pettis throws a high kick at “Smooth” Ben Henderson’s head, forcing Ben against the cage, which he pushes off from immediately. Henderson then does something rather strange: he drops his hands and taps his left foot on the cage behind him, even though he already knew where the cage was from pushing off of it one second earlier. He does this literally two seconds before the worlds first prince-of-persia-style kick is either attempted or accomplished!
I’ll bet Kamal Shalorus was pissed that he didn’t pull that one off. Anyway, I don’t want to recklessly besmirch either the WEC, Henderson, or Pettis, but that little cage tap just seconds before such an amazingly acrobatic, “low-percentage” maneuver looked a bit fishy to me. What better signal could you devise for such a ruse? Plus, it was the last WEC fight card ever, so it would be a perfect time to play fast and loose with the company name. Seriously though, the WEC manages to produce the most amazing, acrobatic, showstopping move in the last minute and ten seconds of the last fight–the title fight no less–of their last event? I hope I’m just being paranoid. Take a look for yourself: