Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight contenders Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno clashed last night (Aug. 5, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 114 inside Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico.
Pettis lost his Flyweight debut, but a trio of wins since against an increasing level of competition pushed him into the top half of the rankings. A very well-rounded fighter for his age, Pettis looked to break into the title mix with a win over “The Assassin Baby.”
Moreno’s story is rather similar. The Mexican athlete lost his first fight on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), but he’s since bounced back with three quality wins to break into the top 10. Last night, the likable 23 year old also had a chance to enter the title mix and become a star in the process.
Moreno opened the fight with some long kicks before landing an early takedown. Pettis was able to stall him for a few moments, but he eventually advanced past Pettis’ guard and locked up a body triangle.
From the back mount, Moreno hunted for the rear naked choke but was unable to get under the chin. Meanwhile, Pettis spun constantly and fought hands well, but he just wasn’t able to break Moreno’s hold.
It was a dominant start from Mexico’s fan favorite.
Pettis stalked his opponent to begin the round, using long kicks and jabs to stab at Moreno, who was circling quite a bit. Pettis began to pick up some momentum just as Moreno scored a takedown, but this time Pettis used a triangle attempt to return to his feet.
“The Phenom” picked his shots well while advancing. He partially landed a couple high kicks, and Pettis frequently looked to capitalize on Moreno’s lateral movement with low and spinning kicks.
All in all, it was precisely the return to form Pettis needed.
Moreno tried to set up a takedown to start the round, but he couldn’t dislodge Pettis from his game. The younger Pettis brother had fully found his range and was pressuring heavily, landing at a much higher rate than before. It wasn’t long before another high kick partially connected, and a follow up right hand stunned his opponent.
Moreno recovered, but he began to look uncomfortable and desperate. On the other hand, Pettis kept smacking him with the jab, and his fade away cross was landing with a great deal of consistency.
Frankly, Pettis dominated the round, slicing his opponent open and winning almost every exchange.
Pettis’ strategy did not change in the fourth round. Working behind the jab, Pettis picked his shots and did real damage. However, Moreno did find a bit more success, as he simply stopped backing away as much. By planting his feet and throwing, Moreno didn’t win the round, but he did keep himself in the fight.
Pettis ended the fourth round with a nice little cartwheel kick that actually landed.
Moreno opened the round with a takedown, capitalizing on his opponent’s failed guillotine attempt. Pettis maintained closed guard until Moreno threatened a back take, which allowed “Phenom” was able to shake him off in the process. Back on the feet, Pettis stalked his foe and picked him apart, evening up the round a bit.
All three judges awarded Pettis the victory, although we came perilously close to a draw.
Pettis fought excellently last night. He stalked his opponent, stopped a lot of takedowns, and showed off his technical kickboxing in the process. While moving forward, Pettis managed range spectacularly well, which allowed him to hit-without-being-hit so well.
That left high kick was especially on point.
Lastly, I have to point out some fantastic advice from Pettis’ coach, Duke Roufus. Between rounds, he advised Pettis to avoid kicking while moving backwards — something Pettis does well — and to kick with full power each time. Those step back kicks were causing Pettis to fall to the mat, as Moreno was crashing forward too quickly for them to land effectively. Cutting them out of his game helped him avoid the takedown. Meanwhile, Pettis was setting up his offensive kicks well, and powering through them meant that Moreno would be too off-balance to drive through any catches.
Moreno is an opportunist. In many of his fights, he will lose until he suddenly wins. That’s the nature of his game, as Moreno isn’t truly dominant in any one area. He is, however, dangerous, and if he’s able to create an opportunity to finish, he’ll usually capitalize on it.
In this fight, that opening never happened. He had a chance in the first, but Pettis fought hands really well and made it difficult for him to sink in the choke. The rest of the fight, Moreno was looking for a single big punch/kick/takedown to change the fight, but it never came.
Nevertheless, Moreno still has a bright future ahead of him.
Last night at UFC Fight Night 114, Sergio Pettis put on a strong performance to win his first main event. What’s next for “The Phenom?”
For complete UFC Fight Night 114 “Pettis vs. Moreno” results and play-by-play, click HERE!