Anthony “Showtime” Pettis has definitely endured a tumultuous few years in his career but the former champion looked better than ever with his performance on Saturday night.
After going 1-1 in two fights since returning to 155 pounds, Pettis decided that it was time to go back to what he does best — kickboxing and working for submissions from his back.
That plan paid massive dividends at UFC 226 as Pettis faced off with submission specialist Michael Chiesa, who actually came in over weight at 157.5 pounds for their fight.
As it turns out the extra weight didn’t pay off as Chiesa found some early success but then faced some serious adversity that led to the finish in round two.
Chiesa had a specific strategy in mind as soon as the fight got started as he took Pettis down in the opening seconds of the first round while continuing to hunt for the ground battle.
To his credit, Pettis was able to scramble free time and time again while resisting Chiesa’s best attempts to lock up a submission on the ground.
With just seconds remaining in the round, Pettis went for a spin kick that missed but then he followed up with a quick punch that clipped Chiesa as the horn sounded.
Pettis was quick on his feet as the second round got underway as he immediately began launching his attacks including a big body kick that glanced off Chiesa’s midsection. Immediately after Pettis pulled back, Chiesa wagged his finger at the former champion as if to say the kick didn’t catch him.
A split second later, Pettis fired a right hand down the middle that blasted Chiesa on the chin and sent him staggering towards the cage wall.
— UFC (@ufc) July 8, 2018
A quick scramble on the ground ended with Pettis locking on a triangle choke from the bottom with Chiesa trying to find a way to escape. Unfortunately for Chiesa he was caught and as he fell backwards, Pettis tightened up the grip and he got the tap a few seconds later.
The end came at just 52 seconds into the second round.
After a run going 2-5 over seven fights including a brief run at featherweight, Pettis looked back on track Saturday night as he pulled off the submission win over Chiesa, who says he will now be moving to the welterweight division.