UFC Fight Night 103 features a flyweight showdown that could decide the future for both men involved. Former title challenger John Moraga looks to get back on track against the young and talented Sergio Pettis. How do these two match up? Let’s take a deeper look into things.
You’d think it’d be obvious who has the striking advantage in this fight, but it’s not so simple. While Sergio Pettis may have the more striking heavy attack, John Moraga doesn’t mind mixing things up on the inside. Where Pettis tries to remain at kicking distance, darting in with jabs and getting out throwing a skip back cross similar to Conor McGregor, Moraga likes to pressure forward with his boxing. Moraga also enjoys implementing calf kicks that the MMA Lab fighters are known for. The major deficiency in Moraga’s striking is his inability to fight while going backwards. Besides a check hook, he doesn’t employ many tools while on the back foot. Moraga also throws one strike at a time which can eventually get more predictable. Pettis can strike both going forwards and back. Both men also don’t mind switching up their stances during fights, though Pettis is more comfortable with this tactic as he comes from a traditional martial arts background. Pettis has more tools at his disposal in the stand up realm, though he can be susceptible to leg kicks, the bane of every traditional martial artist’s existence. Still, Pettis has the advantage while the fight remains on the feet.
Sergio Pettis does have some wrestling pedigree. In fact, his wrestling is sharper than his older brother Anthony who still seems to struggles with his entries. Sergio has no such weaknesses as he times his double leg takedowns with speed, precision, and solid technique. That being said, it will likely be John Moraga who looks for the takedown early and often. Moraga has been wrestling for his whole like and will look to use those skills to his advantage. Despite that fact, Moraga tends to rely more on his boxing than his wrestling pedigree. If he’s smart, he’ll want to go back to his roots for this fight. To do so he’ll have to throw more than one strike to set things up however. If he sticks to his single striking methods then it’s likely that Pettis will be able to defend his takedowns.
Moraga has more submissions under his belt than the young Pettis. While Sergio has certainly had his fair share of submissions during his career, it came against lesser competition, not at the highest levels of the sport. Moraga has managed to submit higher level opposition with either great time and instinct or by utilizing a smart top game until he’s able to transition into an advantageous position. If anyone is going to have a chance of securing a submission, it’s John Moraga.
The stakes are high in this match up and with Moraga flirting with retirement, you can expect both men to give it their all come Saturday night.
Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.
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