After losing three-straight at 155 pounds, including a title fight opposite Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis looked to regain his promotional footing in his Featherweight debut opposite Brazilian Charles Oliveira earlier tonight (Sat., Aug. 27, 2016) at UFC on FOX 21 from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Like a man on a mission, Oliveira quickly shot for a takedown to begin the action and drove Pettis back. Pettis has been there once before, losing two out of his last three defeats after getting pinned to the cage. Oliveira then secured a savvy takedown, took the back of Pettis and threatened with a rear naked choke half way through Round 1. However, Pettis reversed course, gained top control and got back to his feet. The former UFC champion then proceeded to launch heavy leg kicks and brutal body shots. After Oliveira fell to the ground, "Showtime" began to rain heavy ground-and-pound on the tired Brazilian. The first frame ended with Oliveira on his back and Pettis battering his face with hammerfists.
In Round 2, a relaxed Pettis picked his shots and continued to circle away from Oliveira's reach. But after the two tied up, Pettis secured a twisting takedown to score some early points. After separating on the feet, "Showtime" began to find a home for his head kicks, but Oliveira hung in tough and landed his own power shots. With Pettis tired and out of position, "Do Bronx" was able to take his back and pressure with another submission attempt. Oliveira's efforts helped him gain some valuable control time, although Pettis defended nicely.
With more gas in the tank than Pettis, Oliveira was able to take "Showtime" down yet again in Round 3. After Pettis regained his footing and Oliveira took him down one last time, Pettis then locked in a quick guillotine choke to make the Brazilian tap. It was quite the finish for "Showtime" who may have entered the last frame behind on the scorecards. This was only the second time Oliveira has ever been finished by way of submission, first losing to Jim Miller back at UFC 124.
This is a gigantic feather in the cap of Pettis who has finally found success inside the Octagon after the worst stretch of his storied career. If he can continue to get back to his feet when these pesky 145-pound contenders take him down, there's no telling how close Pettis may get to a future matchup with Featherweight champion Conor McGregor.
MMAmania.com is delivering LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 21 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the UFC Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX at 6 p.m. ET, before the FOX main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.