UFC 164 Results: Full Winners and Analysis for Fight Card
The anticipation surrounding UFC 164 isn't difficult to understand.
In one of the main events, you have lightweight champion Benson Henderson defending his title against Anthony Pettis in a rematch of the duo's epic Fight-of-the-Year battle at WEC 53 in 2010.
In the other, you have one former heavyweight champ, Frank Mir, going to battle with another, Josh Barnett, who hasn't fought in the UFC since 2002.
Throw in two intriguing bouts from an increasingly talented featherweight division and a war between heavyweight veterans Ben Rothwell and Brandon Vera, and you have a loaded event.
Let's take a look at how the entire pay-per-view main card went down from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Dustin Poirier Defeats Erik Koch Via Unanimous Decision
In a battle between two up-and-coming featherweights full of potential, Dustin Poirier spoiled Erik Koch's return to Milwaukee by winning via unanimous decision on Saturday night.
It was an excellent, back-and-forth fight between two similar, tantalizing prospects who essentially mirrored each other inside the Octagon.
Still, it was a victory "The Diamond" needed in a bad way.
After submitting Max Holloway back in 2012, the sixth-ranked featherweight lost to Chan Sung Jung in the Fight of the Year before beating Jonathan Brookins and losing to Cub Swanson. He could ill afford a third loss in four fights.
For Koch, this is his second loss in a row since a string of injuries in 2012 took him out of the title picture. While it's clear he is still trying to get re-acclimated inside the Octagon, it was encouraging to see him looking healthy on Saturday.
Ben Rothwell Defeats Brandon Vera Via TKO
Veteran heavyweight sluggers Ben Rothwell and Brandon Vera locked horns, and "Big Ben" came away with the important victory via TKO in front of his home state of Wisconsin.
Vera looked like he was in control for the first two rounds, but Rothwell finally attacked in the third round, connecting on a series of knees and uppercuts that forced the referee to stop the fight.
Just 3-3 in his last six MMA fights and a meager 2-3 in the UFC since joining in 2009, Rothwell might have needed this win to keep his job. In the end, his raw power won out over Vera's agility and more well-rounded attack that was working in the opening two rounds.
After the match, Big Ben called for an opportunity against fifth-ranked Travis Browne.
Unfortunately, Vera's time might be up. The 35-year-old has lost four of his last five fights (three of the last four not counting the overturned match against Thiago Silva) and hasn't looked up to snuff in the recent past.
Chad Mendes Defeats Clay Guida Via TKO
In an important match in the burgeoning featherweight division, No. 1-ranked Chad Mendes did what was expected of him and took care of No. 9-ranked Clay Guida.
What was a little more shocking is that Mendes was able to grab the victory via TKO. He became the first fighter to do so against Guida.
This marks the 28-year-old's fourth straight victory via knockout since a first-round loss to featherweight champion Jose Aldo in January 2012. It's starting to look like a rematch will be on the horizon—this time with Mendes looking far more prepared than 19 months ago.
For Guida, he is now 1-1 at featherweight after beating Hatsu Hioki via split decision in January. He could now see himself outside the Top 10.
Josh Barnett Defeats Frank Mir Via TKO
It has been over 11 years since Josh Barnett defeated Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Championship before having his title stripped after testing positive for banned substances.
He still has plenty left in the tank, though, as his return to the UFC went swimmingly with a first-round TKO victory over fellow former champion Frank Mir.
Barnett connected with a massive knee that dropped Mir to the mat. The referee stopped the fight, drawing boos from the fans who felt it was premature.
Nevertheless, a win is a win, and with several big names at the top of the heavyweight division, it will be intriguing to see whom Barnett challenges next.
Mir, however, is moving in the opposite direction. This marks his third straight loss after defeats to then-champion Junior dos Santos and Daniel Cormier, although he didn't agree with the ending to this one.
Anthony Pettis Defeats Benson Henderson Via Armbar Submission
Challenger Anthony Pettis, stepping in for the injured T.J. Grant, defeated Benson Henderson via first-round submission with an armbar to capture the UFC Lightweight Championship in front of his home town of Milwaukee.
It's been quite a ride for the 26-year-old. He won Breakout Fighter of the Year in 2010, and after losing to Clay Guida in the Ultimate Fighter 13 finale, he has reeled off three straight UFC wins in impressive fashion.
And now he can call himself a champion after beating Henderson for the second time.
Don't expect Bendo to go away anytime, soon, though. After winning the title over Frankie Edgar in February of 2012, he successful defended three times in a row before this defeat. At just 29 years old, he'll remain firmly entrenched in the title picture, although Pettis has proven to have his number.