Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 | 3:45 p.m.
Leather and bikes are around every turn in this city. They were even inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Friday afternoon.
The world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion got into the spirit of one of its main sponsor’s weeklong festivities at the UFC 164 weigh-in. The 24 fighters appearing at tomorrow night’s card hit the scales adjacent to a classic black-and-white Harley-Davidson at the Bradley Center.
Behind them were octagon girls Arianny Celeste and Brittney Palmer, decked out in Harley-Davidson leather bikinis and boots. The UFC is making it clear that Saturday night’s pay-per-view, which begins at 7, isn’t an independent event.
It’s as much a part of the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Celebration as the chaps and vests sold by street-corner vendors.
And like an outlaw motorcycle gang speeding down the highway after completing a job, the UFC 164 weigh-in came and went with a rapid pace. There were no issues, as all the fighters made weight on first attempt to make their bouts official.
There was a healthy engine-roar of hostility, though. Lightweight champion Benson Henderson felt it the most.
Milwaukee sports fans aren’t as renowned for booing as their northeastern counterparts in Boston or Philadelphia, but they let Henderson have it as he came out to the stage from behind a curtain.
Local opponent Anthony Pettis (154.5) nodded in approval as he waited for Henderson (155) a few feet from the motorcycle for their staredown.
“I’m fighting for the belt, and there couldn’t be a better place to do it,” Pettis said to his hometown at the conclusion.
It seems fair that Pettis receives an advantage in location this time around despite the fact that he’s the challenger. The first time they fought, Pettis had to go Henderson’s home in Phoenix.
The road trip didn’t bother him as he came away with a unanimous-decision victory in one of the most memorable fights of the past several years.
“You can’t go back in time,” Henderson said in a video shown at the event. “You can’t erase a loss. But I knew at some point in time I was going to get my hands back on Pettis. I’m not letting him take my belt.”
Other fighters who received a warm welcome included Pettis’ teammates, Erik Koch (145), Pascal Krauss and Chico Camus (135). As a biker himself, former heavyweight champion Josh Barnett must have felt welcomed at his first UFC weigh-in since 2002.
Barnett (255) will have seven pounds on fellow former champion Frank Mir (248) in the co-main event. Mir, naturally, spent some downtime earlier this week touring the Harley Davidson museum.
Check below for full results from the UFC 164 weigh-in.
Lightweight championship bout: Benson Henderson (155) vs. Anthony Pettis (154.5)
Heavyweight bout: Frank Mir (248) vs. Josh Barnett (255)
Featherweight bout: Chad Mendes (145) vs. Clay Guida (146)
Heavyweight bout: Ben Rothwell (262) vs. Brandon Vera (241)
Featherweight bout: Erik Koch (145) vs. Dustin Poirier (145.5)
Lightweight bout: Jamie Varner (156) vs. Gleison Tibau (155)
Flyweight bout: Louis Gaudinot (125) vs. Tim Elliott (125.5)
Welterweight bout: Pascal Krauss (170) vs. Hyun Gyu Lim (171)
Bantamweight bout: Chico Camus (135) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (136)
Heavyweight bout: Soa Palelei (265) vs. Nikita Krylov (236)
Lightweight bout: Ryan Couture (156) vs. Al Iaquinta (156)
Middleweight bout: Jared Hamman (185.5) vs. Magnus Cedenblad (185)