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Maggie Hendricks

WEC 53's Three Stars: Pettis, Wineland and Cruz

Cagewriter

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The WEC went out with a bang on Thursday night, leaving MMA fans with memories of crazy kicks, talented fighters and another reliably exciting card. Who rose above?

No. 1 star -- Anthony Pettis: This was an easy choice. Pettis won the WEC lightweight belt by realizing that he was in a razor-close fight, and then hitting one of the craziest moves MMA fans have ever seen. His off-the-wall kick made Sportscenter's top plays and was nothing short of Matrix-esque. The scary thing about Pettis is that he's just 23 years old.

No. 2 star -- Eddie Wineland: The WEC's first bantamweight champ closed the promotion with a humongous slam knockout of Ken Stone. His first-round KO was Wineland's fourth win in a row. Though Urijah Faber is the obvious next contender for Dominick Cruz's belt, Wineland is making a case to be in the upper echelon of the UFC bantamweights.

No. 3 star -- Dominick Cruz: The new UFC bantamweight champ didn't finish Scott Jorgensen, but that has more to do with Jorgensen's stone chin than Cruz's lack of ability. Cruz executed a perfect gameplan, sticking and moving throughout the entire fight and taking down Jorgensen with ease. On Twitter last night, I heard fans say that Cruz didn't engage, and that's just crazy talk. Cruz engaged; Jorgensen just couldn't keep up with him. For those who don't like his quick-footed style ... haters gonna hate.

A special mention to the WEC: World Extreme Cagefighting earned the reputation of always giving fans exciting cards. Last night was no different. Though the main card had a few less-than-exciting rounds, the main events delivered. As that promotion ends and gives way to the UFC, one last kudos to the little promotion that could.

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