Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight contenders Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno will clash TONIGHT (Aug. 5, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 114 inside Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico.
Pettis entered the UFC when he was just 20 years old, and there were certainly some growing pains. Nevertheless, a few years later and Pettis is an established top 10 Flyweight on a three-fight win streak, and he’s looked better than ever.
Moreno, also 23 years old, first made his name known on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) in a gutsy losing performance to the top seed. He was given another chance at the finale, where he toppled a top 10 fighter quickly and has followed up with two more victories.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each athlete.
Key Wins: John Moraga (UFC Fight Night 103), Chris Cariaso (UFC 192), Chris Kelades (UFC 197)
Key Losses: Ryan Benoit (UFC 185), Alex Caceres (UFC on FOX 10)
Keys to Victory: On the surface, Sergio Pettis shares a few similarities with his older brother, former Lightweight kingpin Anthony Pettis. While both men are primarily kicks -and-submissions fighters, Sergio Pettis tends to look for takedowns more often and struggles less with pressure. That said, he’s also more hittable and less powerful.
At any rate, the younger Pettis brother is the far more technical striker in this match up. Moreno moves around a ton and can throw hard, but he’s still learning when to throw what type of combination. Every once in a while, he makes a wrong choice and whiffs badly as a result.
Pettis, on the other hand, almost always picks the proper weapon for the situation. He uses the jab very well to control range, and the rest of his game builds from that. Pettis builds from the strike expertly, using it to set up kicks, combinations, and counter strikes.
Opposite Moreno, that range control should allow him to get the better of most exchanges. Moreno will always be dangerous with a looping strike or takedown, but Pettis has the skills to win most of the 25 minutes if he can avoid getting put in a bad spot.
Key Wins: Dustin Ortiz (UFC Fight Night 108), Louis Smolka (UFC Fight Night 96), Ryan Benoit (TUF 24 Finale)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Moreno is a submission specialist. His wrestling is solid enough to get most foes to the ground, but he’s not a dominating top fighter and can be taken down himself. Once on the mat, however, Moreno is a nasty finisher with 10 wins via tapout. He’s also come a long way on his feet, mixing combinations and hard kicks together to keep his opponent honest.
In this bout, activity is Moreno’s key to victory. He pushes a hard pace than Pettis, who tends to either fade or just check out mentally on occasion. Plus, he’s the more durable man, which means wild exchanges favor him.
In a technical match, Moreno will have a difficult time: Pettis is the cleaner striker with some strong takedown defense. In a wild brawl, however, everything favors Moreno. His chances of stunning Pettis with a strike, landing a takedown, or forcing his foe to gas are all higher.
Moreno would be best advised to take the fight to Pettis immediately and try to overwhelm him.
Bottom Line: It’s a very important bout to the Flyweight title picture.
Alongside upcoming title challenger Ray Borg, these two are the brightest young prospects in the division. In five years, there’s a fair chance they’ll both still be relevant to an otherwise very different title picture. The winner of this match sets himself up for big things, as there’s a real opening at 125 lbs., particularly with Joseph Benavidez injured and TJ Dillashaw-Cody Garbrandt tied up with each other.
Alternatively, the momentum and win streak of the loser will fall to the side. They’ll still be reasonable close to the title mix — there aren’t all that many fighters threatening to steal their spots — but this is a real opportunity to potentially earn a title shot.
Tonight at UFC Fight Night 114, Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno will meet in the main event. Which man will be awarded the victory?