Anthony Pettis entered UFC 197 on Saturday night in what seemed to be a showcase performance against Edson Barboza, who entered off a loss to Tony Ferguson in December, but he walked away with his third straight loss.
It’s been an incredibly rapid fall from grace for the former UFC Lightweight Champion, who fought hesitant throughout the bout, allowing Barboza to dictate the pace and land at a much higher pace. That came after a loss to Eddie Alvarez in January that seemed to have more to do with Alvarez slowing things down and holding Pettis at the cage. Pettis wanted a fight with a striker to show he was better than his fights with Alvarez and Rafael dos Anjos, and that simply didn’t happen.
For the Brazilian, it’s his biggest career win, and a massive rebound from the loss to Ferguson. He was confident, landed kicks to the legs and body with frequency, and continuously countered Pettis’ attacks with an effective left hook. He kept Pettis off his game before it even started, and he moves on with a likely bump to his spot in the rankings.
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]