Anthony Pettis’ featherweight debut is now set for August 27, as the UFC announced on Wednesday that he’ll take on Charles Oliveira at UFC on Fox 21 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The somewhat surprising piece of the event announcement is that it will be on Fox, as that makes it the fourth Fox event of 2016 by the end of August. The UFC has run four a year on the network since the deal was put together, with the final event typically coming in December; whether that means a fifth Fox event in 2016 is still to come remains to be seen.
Pettis hopes a drop down to featherweight brings him new life after a three fight losing streak in the lightweight division. The former UFC Lightweight Champion lost that belt to Rafael dos Anjos in a crushingly dominant decision last March, and he put out two highly uninspired performances against Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza in back to back decision losses earlier this year.
He’s not taking any easy task at featherweight in his drop down, as “Do Bronx” is one of the featherweight division’s best, and enters this event after taking out another former ranked lightweight dropping down in Myles Jury. The 26-year-old has won five of six fights, four of them by submission, with the sole loss in that stretch coming due to a freak injury against Max Holloway that halted their bout just 99 seconds into the bout.
The August 27 event will be the UFC’s fourth trip to the city of Vancouver and the Rogers Arena, coming just over two years after their last trip with UFC 174 in June of 2014. Also announced for the card is a middleweight bout between Garreth McLellan and Alessio Di Chirico.
Penick’s Analysis: That’s a hell of a fight. A hell of a fight. Credit to Pettis and the UFC that he’s not getting any “gimme” opponents after a three fight losing streak. He’s got a ton to prove, especially after the fight he had with Barboza. He needs to be aggressive, he needs to do something to show that there’s still something of the elite fighter who captured the UFC Title in him. Taking out Oliveira would be a big start, and he can bring some new life to featherweight from there if he can get a little momentum going. Conversely, it’s a massive opportunity for Oliveira to prove he’s an elite featherweight against a former UFC Champion, as a win here moves him right back into the mix on the fringe of the top five.
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]
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