Sergio Pettis has been mostly known for being former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis‘ younger brother, but he’s been fighting himself out of the shadow of his older sibling.
On Sunday at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Pettis picked up the biggest win over his career thus far when he defeated former title contender John Moraga to kick off the UFC Fight Night 103 main card.
Moraga and Pettis were content to strike in the opening round, but Pettis proved to be the more precise striker between the two. He used his reach advantage to establish his jab and won the exchanges. In the closing seconds of the frame, Pettis had Moraga hurt and knocked him down with a right.
In the second frame, Moraga made an adjustment and started looking to get the fight to the ground. While he only secured one takedown in the round, the change in game plan had Pettis more hesitant to let his strikes go.
In the final round, Pettis appeared to be the fresher fighter. Moraga continued to try and get the fight to the ground, but gave up top position fishing for a heel hook when he did. After a scramble, the two were back to exchanging punches with Pettis doing the damage. He put Moraga on his back in the closing seconds of the fight to put a period on his performance. The 23-year-old picked up his third consecutive win and took out a top ten ranked opponent.
“He’s fought for the title. He’s fought some of the best in my division. I’m only 23-years old. I came in here to see my progression as a martial artist, so I’m very excited. It had been nine months since I fought and I felt pretty good in here,” said Pettis after the win.
Pettis was originally slated to face No. 4 ranked Jussier Formiga, but Formiga was forced out of the fight on Dec. 29. Pettis would like to face Formiga in his next outing.
“I’d like to fight Formiga again, possibly March 4 on the Woodley card (UFC 209). I put a lot of time dissecting his game and I want to expose him,” he said.
For Moraga, the loss was his third in a row.