Later tonight (Sat., Jan. 25, 2014) at UFC on FOX 10, which takes place at United Center in Chicago, Ill., Sergio Pettis -- the younger brother of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis -- will make his second appearance inside the Octagon.
Like his brother, Pettis is a very good kickboxer, with fluid technique complemented by agile footwork. His speed is something to behold, and against the world's top Bantamweight fighters, it is absolutely necessary. He also sports good power for a 135 pounder, with three technical knockouts to his name.
Pettis is also a very adept grappler. I'd go as far as to say his wrestling is probably better than his brother's, but not by a large margin. On the mat, he is tricky and quick, always threatening with submission attempts and strikes or jockeying for position. He is masterful at slipping past guard and he boasts very good ground-and-pound. Four of Pettis' career finishes are by submission, showing the threat he poses on the mat.
With all these comparisons to his brother, it could certainly put a lot of pressure on a young fighter. At just 21 years old, Pettis is one of sport's hottest prospects, displaying a very high level of skill and composure despite his young age. Though his brother is certainly a great role model, Pettis cannot simply follow his lead in every way.
Indeed, he has to make his own MMA mark with his own style.
A main difference between he and his brother is the degrees of orthodoxy in their striking games. Anthony is known for his excellent, improvised striking game, while Sergio tends to be more reserved in his approach. This suits Sergio very well, because he is rarely put in danger because of his excellent defensive technique. In this manner, Sergio is a very different fighter than his brother, opting more often to keep himself safe than to take a big risk to bring the fight to a swift and shocking end.
When Pettis takes collides with Cacers later this evening, he'll be in the ring against an opponent who is sure to be his most unpredictable yet. Caceres is a fairly long, lanky Bantamweight with pretty good striking (if not occasionally sloppy). His grappling style takes a lot of risks, but also threatens to end the fight at any minute, making him a great test for an up-and-comer like Pettis.
Caceres could be the first of many steps for Pettis as he looks to escape his brother's shadow and make a move at the UFC bantamweight belt.