Former Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, looked to end an uncharacteristic two-fight losing skid and get back in the title chase tonight (Sat., April 23, 2016) at UFC 197, which took place inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he took on fellow Top 10-ranked contender, Edson Barboza.
But, it didn't happen, as the devastating Muay Thai skills of Barboza were just too much to overcome.
Both fighters emerged from their corners in shifty fashion, bouncing across the Octagon floor looking to put together something special. Pettis got the action started with a nice, short uppercut that didn't appear to affect the Brazilian all that much. Barboza uncorked a low kick and Pettis made him pay with a straight right hand. Barboza returned fire with a left hook, and then another, which definitely caught the attention of "Showtime." Barboza landed a beautiful spinning back kick to the gut, compelling Pettis to shoot in for a takedown that was quickly defended. Pettis tried some spinning shit of his own as the round concluded, but his foot missed the mark.
Round two began with Pettis throwing a jumping wheel kick that Barboza easily blocked. Pettis poured on the pressure and jumped in with a combination, but Barboza landed a nice left hook, seemingly getting the better of the exchange. Barboza unleashed a hard kick that Pettis blocked with his forearm and then later wagged his finger at the Brazilian as if to say, "That's not going to work, pal." Pettis landed a nice overhand right as Barboza continued to attack with his legs. Barboza landed a nice combination with his legs as Pettis caught his leg, but was unable to use it against him. Pettis tried to put together another combination, but once again, Barboza clipped him with a hard left hook. One more thunderous kick to Pettis' mid-section from Barboza as the round came to a close with "Showtime" once again flying through the air and missing with a kick.
Third and final round and it was clear that Pettis needed it more than Barboza if he wanted the win. But, it was Barboza who got the action started with a leg kick that nearly knocked Pettis off his feet. He followed it up with a stiff jab as Pettis circled, looking to get something going. After a brief break from a low blow, Barboza continued to pour it on with his kicks, nailing Pettis with blistering inside leg kicks. Pettis just didn't have an answer, as Barboza continued to light him up and then disappeared so that "Showtime" couldn't hit him. With 15 seconds remaining, Pettis landed a nice combination, but it was too little, too late, as Barboza ran away with it in the third and final round, handing Pettis his third consecutive defeat.
And leg bruises for days.
For complete UFC 197: "Jones vs. Saint Preux" results, including play-by-play updates and much more, click here and here.