Following the toughest stretch of his professional career that included a brief stop at featherweight, Anthony Pettis returned to form on Saturday night with a unanimous decision win against Jim Miller at UFC 213.
The fight not only got Pettis back into the win column after a TKO loss to Max Holloway last December, but it served as his return to 155 pounds where he once ruled as champion.
Judging by his latest performance, Pettis will be sticking around at lightweight from here on out.
As the fight got underway, Miller tried to set the pace by attacking Pettis’ lead leg with a series of inside kicks to offset the former lightweight champion’s balance while striking on the feet.
Pettis fired back midway through the round after connecting with a blistering series of punches, while trapping Miller against the cage as he unloaded a barrage of punches.
The assault continued as Pettis’ confidence grew and he started to unload with kicks to the body along with long, stiff punches that kept catching Miller again and again.
Miller struggled to find his range with Pettis keeping him on the end of his punches, but he was finally able to pressure forward before grabbing his first takedown of the fight.
It didn’t come without some damage as Miller started leaking blood from his head after getting clipped with a head kick during the exchange that ended with the fighters hitting the mat. Despite the cut, Miller advanced his position before looking for a rear naked choke, but Pettis defended and eventually slipped out the back door.
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Rather than stand up again, Pettis leapt down into Miller’s guard where he started to fire hard punches and short, inside elbows.
Following a blistering pace in the first two rounds, Pettis and Miller both slowed a bit in the third round. Pettis remained in control for the most part, while staving off Miller’s best attempts to stage a late fight comeback.
When it was all over, Pettis held his head high as the judges gave him the win with 30-27 scores across the board. Afterward, Pettis admitted how brutal his brief move down to featherweight was on his body, while promising that his future will remain at lightweight.
“I felt like myself. That cut to 145 was no joke,” Pettis said.
“155 pounds is my home. I was champ here. I’m just having fun now. I had a great damn time.”