Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will make his second appearance under the Professional Fighters League (PFL) banner later tonight (Fri., June 25, 2021) at PFL 6 live on ESPN+/ESPN2 from inside Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and “Showtime” finds himself in a must-win situation.
Pettis made his PFL debut this past April against former UFC fighter and professional boxer Clay Collard. While Pettis was favored to win the lightweight matchup it was Collard who did more over the course of 15 minutes to walk away with the unanimous decision. The loss snapped Pettis’ two-fight win streak he carried over from UFC and it once again provided some doubt about his ability to return to his dominant ways.
Luckily, Pettis will have another opportunity to prove his worth as a member of the PFL roster when he takes on Raush Manfio tonight at PFL 6. Pettis will need a finish over the young Brazilian to score enough points to secure his playoff spot in the 155-pound division. It is a big moment for the former UFC champion and one that has forced him to refine his training and focus on the things he needs to improve.
“I immediately focused on my boxing,” Pettis told MMA Junkie. “I’m gonna use a lot more hands in this fight. I’ve been posting it. Everybody’s seen what I’ve been attacking. He knows what I’m gonna be doing. I’m gonna be putting my hands together. I’m looking to put these hands on him, and I’m not gonna force the kicks, I’m not gonna force anything flashy. You’re gonna see a well fought, smart fight by me.”
Pettis, 34, was once considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but after losing his UFC lightweight title back in 2015 the veteran simply hasn’t been able to rise back to the top. “Showtime” has gone just 6-8 since that title loss and is still trying to find himself again inside of the cage. It will be interesting to see Pettis put his new training to use later tonight at PFL 6 against a hungry and confident fighter like Manfio.
“He has a great right hand, counter right hand, good left check-hook,” Pettis said. “He doesn’t have too much off his back. When he’s on his back, he doesn’t look for submissions, he’s not trying to go for crazy stuff, but my game plan is to knock him out. I’m gonna go out there in the orthodox stance. I’ve been showing it on my feeds. There’s nothing that I’m gonna change. I’ve been showing everything that I’ve been doing. I’m gonna put him in the orthodox stance, I’m gonna find my rhythm, I’m gonna build up a range, and once I find that range, it’s showtime.”
What say you, Maniacs? Does Pettis get back on track later tonight at PFL 6?
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage of the PFL 6 main card below, which begins at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2. We’ll also provide quick results for the “Prelims” undercard on ESPN+, which will start streaming at 6:30 p.m. ET.