Pettis wasted no time taking the fight to late-replacement Dillard “Joe” Pegg, who didn’t hesitate to engage.
Less than a minute into their fight, however, Pettis landed a straight right hand to Pegg’s jaw, dropping him to the mat. Pettis swarmed and unleashed a few right hands, forcing the referee to step in and stop the fight.
The victory puts the RFA flyweight belt around Pettis’ waist, but the UFC has a still-developing 125-pound division that would benefit from the addition of a fighter of his caliber. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if Sergio soon joins older brother Anthony on the UFC roster.
It may have seemed a little odd that then-champion Jared Downing entered his featherweight title defense against Lance Palmer as a heavy underdog, but that was exactly where he found himself.
It took him all five rounds, but Palmer proved why, grinding out a five-round split decision victory to take the belt away from Downing.
Downing found early success, bloodying Palmer, looking confident and sharp with his striking.
The former four-time All-American wrestler from The Ohio State University, however, kept the pace high throughout the fight, weathering Downing’s early storm, eventually taking control and wearing the champion down.
Palmer launched the power left hand over and over, and eventually putting his wrestling pedigree to good use.
Several accidental kicks to Downing’s groin throughout the fight finally cost Palmer a one-point deduction in the final seconds of the fifth round, but it wasn’t enough to nullify his cumulative efforts. The judges, even with the deduction, awarded the fight to Palmer. Two judges scored the bout 48-46 for Palmer, while the third scored it 48-46 for Downing.
Losing the point definitely made the outcome nerve-racking for Palmer.
“I was definitely worried about that because none of them were intentional, I’m not trying to get a cheap win out of anything,” said Palmer, who gave a tremendous amount of credit to new Team Alpha Male coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig.
Palmer became the new RFA featherweight champion with the victory, but like Pettis, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the UFC come calling soon.
Not far behind Pettis and Palmer is undefeated Brazilian bantamweight prospect Pedro Munhoz, who showed excellent stand-up skills before securing a tight guillotine choke for the first-round submission finish of Mitch Jackson.
RFA 8 Results
-Sergio Pettis def. Joe Pegg by KO at 0:51, R1
–Lance Palmer def. Jared Downing by Split Decision (48-46, 48-46, 46-48)
–Pedro Munhoz def. Mitch Jackson by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 4:49, R1
–Mike Rhodes def. Benjamin Smith by TKO (Strikes) at 0:56, R1
–Dan Moret def. Jose Pacheco by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
–Zak Ottow def. Matt Gauthier by Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) at 3:07, R1