Sergio Pettis looked to score his fifth consecutive win inside the Octagon at UFC 218 tonight (Sat., Dec. 2, 2017), taking on former Flyweight title contender Henry Cejudo inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. With a win, Pettis would vault himself into title contention and offer a fresh challenge for dominant division champion, Demetrious Johnson.
Unfortunately for him, though, the high-level wrestling of Cejudo was just too much for him to overcome, dropping a unanimous decision after three rounds of grappling dominance.
Cejudo came out looking like Lyoto Machida and Pettis made him pay with a solid leg kick. Pettis then snuck in a nice punch and another leg kick as Cejudo began to bounce around. Cejudo — a gold medal-winning Olympic wrestler — then secured an effortless takedown in the center of the Octagon and eventually moved to his back, drilling Pettis with knees to the body from behind. Pettis tried to get back to his feet, but Cejudo was able to keep him on the mat. Pettis postured like he was going to throw up a triangle choke, but Cejudo avoided danger. Cejudo gave him some space and Pettis landed a nice up-kick, but Cejudo dropped a nice hard shot as he dove back in and then a few more on the ground as the round came to a close.
Pettis came out for the second stanza in a Southpaw stance as Cejudo unleashed some nice kicks to the legs and body. Cejudo dove in recklessly with a combination, but nothing of consequence landed. Shortly thereafter, Cejudo secured another takedown on a slip, putting Pettis on his back once again. The crowd reacted with boos as the referee warned Cejudo that he needed to work. Pettis locked in a body triangle from the bottom, which stalled the action even further. He angled for an armbar, but Cejudo spun out and quickly took his back. Pettis was finally able to get to his feet with one minute remaining in the round and finally break free, but it was Cejudo who landed a hard uppercut before the round ended.
Likely down two rounds, it was incumbent on Pettis to pull out all the stops and go for a finish. He connected with a straight right hand early, then an effective combination, as Cejudoonce again looked to get the fight on his terms. And he did just that, snatching a single-leg takedown and getting back on top of Pettis. The crowd once again reacted angrily as Pettis struggled to get back to his feet. Cejudo stacked him up along the bottom the cage as Pettis bucked, eventually getting back to his feet before Cejudo slammed him back down to the canvas. With one minute remaining in the bout, Pettis was finally able to break free, but it was a case of too little, too late.
In the end, the wrestling and grappling of Cejudo was just too much for Pettis to handle. It wasn’t pretty, but it was dominant, as Cejudo strung together his second straight win on the road back to possible a “Mighty Mouse” rematch sometime in 2018.
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