Moreno dominated the opening round. He caught a kick from Pettis and put “The Phenom” on his back. Pettis tried to scrambled back to his feet but found himself in a worse position. Moreno quickly took his back and started looking to sink in a rear-naked choke. Pettis fought Moreno’s hands and avoided the submission.
In the second frame, Pettis began to take over the fight. Instead of throwing kicks to the body that got him taken down in the opening frame, Pettis began launching high kicks at his opponent. He landed two in the round, but Moreno rushed forward and put Pettis on his back. Pettis quickly applied a triangle choke and used it to get back to his feet as Moreno escaped the submission attempt.
Pettis picked Moreno apart in the third round. He started landing power punches and figured out Moreno’s awkward timing. In the fourth, Pettis continued to out strike Moreno.
In the final frame, Moreno secured a takedown early in the round. He maintained top position for half the round but was unable to inflict damage. Pettis fought his back back to his feet and spent the final minute of the round pressing the action and landing shots. The judges awarded Pettis the win with the scorecards reading 49-46, 48-46, and 48-46.
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“I definitely had to face some adversity. He came out there and put me in a very dangerous situation. I stayed calm. I had four more rounds to prove that I’m better than this man,” said Pettis following the unanimous decision win.
“His standup surprised me a lot. He gave me a different look, kind of made me almost question my look. It’s just an open style that I had to adjust to,” he added.
With the win, Pettis ended Moreno’s 11-fight winning streak and extended his own to four consecutive fights. The victory puts Pettis in close proximity to a title shot. Three of the five fighters ranked ahead of him have lost to champion Demetrious Johnson, one is getting a shot at the title at UFC 215 and the other is coming off a loss.
“Obviously, I’d like a title shot. But there’s a lot of things I feel like I need to polish up to get there,” said Pettis.