World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight prospect Anthony Pettis can pay some bills thanks to one beautiful head kick.
Pettis banked a $10,000 “Knockout of the Night” bonus after he leveled Team Alpha Male’s Danny Castillo 2:27 into the first round at WEC 47 “Bowles vs. Cruz” on Saturday before a crowd of 8,345 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The 23-year-old Duke Roufus protégé followed the shin-to-face shot with a handful of ground strikes on the defenseless Castillo, who had never before been knocked out.
A tae kwon do black belt and former Gladiators Fighting Series lightweight champion, Pettis rebounded from his split decision defeat to International Fight League veteran Bart Palaszewski in December. The Wisconsin native owns seven first-round finishes among his eight career victories.
The WEC’s post-fight outreach spread beyond Pettis.
Joseph Benavidez, perhaps next in line for a crack at the bantamweight crown now held by Dominick Cruz, pocketed a $10,000 “Submission of the Night” bonus after he stopped former champion Miguel Torres with a second-round guillotine choke in the co-main event. The once-beaten Benavidez opened a nasty gash on Torres’ forehead before catching the desperate East Chicago, Ind., product in the fight-ending choke.
Finally, former two-division Rage in the Cage champion George Roop and one-time WEC featherweight title contender Leonard Garcia earned matching $10,000 “Fight of the Night” bonuses in wake of their spirited three-round encounter, which ended in a draw. Roop’s low blow in the third round, which resulted in “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 semi-finalist losing a point, appeared to cost him the victory.