Jussier Formiga scored an important victory over Sergio Pettis at UFC 229 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Both fighters were 7-3 in their last 10 bouts coming into the fight. Pettis was ranked No. 2 in the UFC flyweight division, while Formiga sat at No. 5. That’s likely to change after Formiga scored a unanimous decision victory.
Pettis looked good at the opening bell, fluidly switching between stances, snapping his jab and landing some low inside kicks. While Pettis seemed to consistently be looking to set up an opening, he never found it. Formiga, meanwhile, didn’t land a lot, but landed a few one-two punch combinations that kept him on an even keel on the feet.
What separated the two was the takedown game, where Formiga excelled. He landed a takedown late in the first frame that set him apart as the more aggressive and more effective fighter in the round.
The second round was uneventful, but again Formiga landed the takedown and controlled the final couple minutes of the stanza.
Though there were no real fireworks in this fight, Formiga punctuated his victory by taking Pettis’ back early in the final round. Formiga shot on Pettis, didn’t get the takedown, but got his back and remained on the back of a standing Sergio Pettis for the final four minutes of the fight, pot-shotting him and searching for the choke that never came.
Despite the lack of much excitement, Formiga ground out an important victory that could edge him close to a title shot.
“That is MMA, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to get the win and take the next step,” Formiga said through a translator after the fight.
Considering Formiga has a razor-thin split-decision loss to current champion Henry Cejudo on his record, he’d like for a rematch to be his next fight.
“You’re next man! I want to fight Cejudo. Cejudo is next.”