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Monday Morning Hangover: What's next for Anthony Pettis after suffering third straight loss?

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC 197 blew the roof off MGM Grand Garden Arena this past weekend (Sat., April 23, 2016) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For complete coverage of the entire UFC 197 card click here.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Henry Cejudo, who was outclassed and eventually knocked out by Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in the very first round (full recap here). And Ovince Saint Preux, who was no match for interim light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (read all about it here).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover now 48 hours removed from the show?

Anthony Pettis.

The former lightweight champion of the world looked to stop the bleeding of a two-fight skid against one of the best and most underrated stand-up fighters in the game today in Edson Barboza.

And it was a fight tailor-made for "Showtime," too, as he recently lobbied to face someone who was willing to stand-and-bang and not smother him to a decision.

Yes, I'm looking at you, Eddie Alvarez.

Unfortunately for Pettis, he was no match for Edson's precise and powerful kicks. In fact, the Brazilian not only cruised to a decisive unanimous decision win, but he also made sure to leave Pettis with some painful reminders that he was indeed involved in a stand-up war by leaving his feet imprinted on Anthony's ribs and legs.

See the photo evidence here.

The loss was painful in more ways than one, though, as it marked his third straight defeat, losing previously to Rafael dos Anjos and the aforementioned Alvarez. It's a crucial streak for a man who was once pegged as a potential face of the promotion not too long ago.

And it wasn't for a lack of preparation, as Pettis migrated down to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in order to further sharpen his mixed martial arts (MMA) game with the best fight camp in the game today, Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA.

But it wasn't enough, as Anthony simply couldn't get his explosive offense going.

So where does "Showtime" go from here? It's tough to say, as he'll have to ponder his next move very carefully, as another loss will be very detrimental to his young combat sports career. Should he decide to do like others before him and try a new weight class, perhaps featherweight, a fight against Hacran Dias should be in order.

If he stays put at 155 pounds, a showdown against Michael Johnson will be a good comeback fight for both combatants. And while they may not be the biggest names in the game at the moment, they're formidable foes that will give Pettis a tough night.

Plus, with three straight losses in his back pocket, it's going to be hard for Pettis to convince UFC matchmakers to give him a high-profile fight.

Any of you care to throw out some alternate suggestions?