I never thought that the battle for the lightweight crown would end in a first-round submission finish! Has Anthony Pettis been training with Ronda Rousey? I'm just asking because that armbar was beautiful! Here are my thoughts on this freaking amazing card (in which I correctly picked all five winners! Woooo!).
Poirier vs. Koch: Poirier won this one with the skin of his teeth. He survived a vicious triangle choke in the first round and came back to drop Koch with a right hand. He followed it up with a D'Arce choke, but Koch was saved by the bell. Poirier dominated Koch from the top and in the clinch in Round 2. However, Koch made a comeback in Round 3, working the jab, getting top position and taking Poirier's back. He got a rear naked choke, but was simply too tired to finish. Even though Koch lost, he should be proud of his effort, and Poirier made it clear that he is still a contender at featherweight.
Rothwell vs. Vera: The first two rounds were basically Vera running away from Rothwell. Fortunately, "Big Ben" took his time, refusing to let his smaller opponent tire him out. Finally, he cornered Vera in Round 3. He threw him off by erratically posturing like a mad man before putting his lights out with a series of punches, knees, and strikes after he hit the mat. Afterwards, he called out Travis Browne. While that would be an extremely awesome fight, I doubt that Browne will accept after having finished a ranked opponent in Alistair Overreem. Nonetheless, Rothwell definitely deserves a top-ten guy.
Mendes vs. Guida: Mendes controlled Guida the entire fight, stuffing numerous takedowns to take his back. In Round 3, "Money" was the first guy to ever KO "The Carpenter." He caught him with two right hooks first. After that, he finished him with an uppercut while his back was against the cage and two straight punches after he hit the ground. I honestly don't know who deserves a second shot at Aldo more: Mendes or Cub Swanson.
Barnett vs. Mir: Barnett dominated Mir against the cage with punches and knees before dropping him with a brutal right knee in Round 1. If I was the referee, I would have stopped the fight, too. It appears that "The Warmaster" is still relevant in the heavyweight division. I wouldn't be surprised if he leapfrogged over Werdum to get a shot at the winner of Dos Santos-Velasquez III because of his name. Mir, on the other hand, would be better off hanging up the gloves and either coaching the next generation of fighters, or going corporate like Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell.
Henderson vs. Pettis: "Showtime" has done it again! The most unpredictable fighter in the UFC pulled off a crazy armbar after a failed capoeira-style knee attack. He basically used one of Bendo's arms to pop the other one a la Rousey vs. Kaufman. To Bendo's credit, he honored Jesus even in defeat.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," he said, "I'll be back."
Pettis, meanwhile, thanked his hometown for their support and said that he was proof that they could do anything that they put their mind to. He also called out Jose Aldo. While that would be an interesting fight, I think he has enough contenders in his own division to keep him busy for a while. In particular, I hope that T.J. Grant gets his well-earned title shot.
At any rate, the Pettis Era has officially started in the lightweight division. Due to his insane athleticism and creativity, I don't see it ending anytime soon.