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‘Overlooked’ Sergio Pettis admits there’s fear ahead of Patricio Pitbull return clash: ‘This is a big fight’

“I’m excited to show these guys I’m a shark as well. I can swim and I hope he’s overlooking me because I wanna look over him when I’m done with this fight.”

A lot has changed since Sergio Pettis successfully defended his Bellator Bantamweight title for the first time in Dec. 2021.

Scheduled to be a part of the Bellator 135-pound Grand Prix tournament in 2022, Pettis, unfortunately, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that left him sidelined until Dec. 2022. The champion has been back to his full training regimen ever since and now has two title challengers awaiting him, starting with the Featherweight kingpin and pound-for-pound best Bellator fighter, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire at Bellator 297 on June 17, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois.

Saying Pettis has a chip on his shoulder going into the match up would be putting it mildly.

“I am overlooked,” Pettis told MMA Mania. “A lot of people do overlook me. I’ve been the underdog for most of my career. It’s something I’ve kind of got used to. Especially coming into this fight. I’m coming off an injury, so I’m sure I’m gonna be the underdog and it could play for either a really s—tty story on my end or it could play for an amazing comeback. That’s what I’m pushing for and I believe I have the skill set to go out there and compete against Pitbull and come out successful.

“I’m nervous as I speak about it,” he continued. “I’ve been nervous ever since this fight’s been announced. I ain’t gonna lie, I’m afraid, I’m scared. This is a big fight for me and a big comeback fight. Throwing me right into the deep end with the sharks and I’m excited to show these guys I’m a shark as well. I can swim and I hope he’s overlooking me because I wanna look over him when I’m done with this fight.”

Pettis’ last appearance was a memorable one against former titleholder, Kyoji Horiguchi. The flashy striker found himself fighting from behind as the bout went on and seemingly needed a finish as the championship rounds began. In ridiculous comeback fashion, Pettis missed a head kick that he blended into a spinning back fist, connecting perfectly on Horiguchi’s chin to score the fourth round knockout (watch highlights).

During Pettis’ time away, the aforementioned Bantamweight tournament crowned a new interim champion in the form of Patchy Mix, who devasted the previous interim titlist, Raufeon Stots, with an 80-second step-knee knockout (watch highlights). Mix’s victory only continued to show the insane amount of depth in the division across the board. With Pettis’ return, the argument for their weight class being the best in the world is only bolstered.

“The ‘35 division crazy everywhere, not even just in Bellator,” Pettis said. “I’m seeing boxers at 135, man, it’s stacked. I’m excited to see the little guys get some love. For a bit, we were looked down upon and now people are wanting to see us fight and wanting to see us compete.”

“Last year, Patchy had a great year, to be honest, man. He went out there and dominated Horiguchi, put Magomed Magomedov to sleep, and caught Raufeon with a knee, which I don’t think anybody expected. I didn’t expect it. I was watching it and my mind was blown. It was great, a great performance by him.

“Being at this level I am in my career, I’m excited to fight all these top-tier guys,” he continued. “That’s what I’m here for. I’m not here for easy fights. I’ve worked to get to this position to fight some of the best in the world and to show that I am one of the best in the world.”

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