Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight scrappers John Moraga and Sergio Pettis threw down last night (Jan. 15, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 103 inside Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
Last night was a very important bout for Moraga. The former title contender could not afford a third straight loss, and his position inside the top 10 hung in the balance. To remain relevant at 125 lbs., Moraga needed a strong showing.
On the other hand, Pettis entered this fight with some momentum behind him, having won four of his last five. Opposite Moraga, Pettis was aiming to score the biggest win of his young career.
Pettis began the fight very intelligently. Working from both stances, the kickboxer pumped a hard jab into his foe’s face, slicing Moraga open and keeping him on the reactive. As he grew more confident, Pettis opened up with his hands even more, throwing in good combination.
Because of his range control and active jab, Pettis was really getting the better of exchanges. Moraga landed a few hard counter punches, but Pettis landed at much higher rate and with better accuracy.
To cement the round, Pettis rocked his opponent multiple times just before the bell.
Moraga recognized how poorly the fight was going for him and switched it up with a takedown to start the second round. Pettis, however, was able to kick the veteran off him before long, and he immediately returned to stalking his foe.
The second round was a far closer round than the first. Moraga’s offensive wrestling attempts — alongside a bit of fatigue — really slowed down Pettis’ offense. Unfortunately for the former title contender, he wasn’t creating all that much offense himself.
At best, it was tied up.
Both men scored with some blows early to start the second round, but Moraga again switched it up with a takedown from the clinch. Desperate to make up some ground, Moraga attempted to dive onto a heel hook, but it allowed Pettis to scramble back to his feet.
With a minute remaining in the round, neither man had really accomplished enough to have much of a lead. It was Pettis who took the initiative, landing sharp jabs and decent counters before finishing the bout with a brief takedown.
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was enough to win the fight.
Pettis’ improvement has been slow but steady throughout his UFC career. While some of the same flaws still exist, his excellent combinations and counters have become sharper than ever. Additionally, Pettis has developed a solid wrestling game, as he’s now winning these exchanges more often than not.
Opposite Moraga, those two traits were enough to edge him the win.
Really, the story of this bout was Pettis’ jab and head movement. After tagging Moraga with the jab, Pettis would take a step back or slip his head to the side. Either way it was often enough to make a lunging Moraga miss, which left Pettis in great position to capitalize.
As for the issues in his game, Pettis still hangs around at range a bit too often. In his pursuit of the counter and combinations, Pettis will occasionally stand in the pocket without moving his head. Aside from that defensive problem, Pettis does tend to slow down in the latter half of his Flyweight fights, which will be more of an issue as he faces the division’s best.
Still, Pettis put on his best performance yet, and a bout with someone like Brandon Moreno would make sense.
As for Moraga, his slide from grace continues. Moraga is a game fighter, but he’s not really exceptional in any one area. That’s a problem against specialists, as top wrestlers can generally drag him to the mat, and strikers like Pettis get the better of him more often than not.
Unless he’s able to make something happen due to his heart and craftiness, he’s probably going to lose.
That was the story here, as Moraga was never able to consistently accomplish anything. He landed some decent counters but far fewer than his opponent. He was able to score a couple takedowns, but Sergio Pettis defended most and escaped the other quickly. He just wasn’t able to interrupt Pettis’ game, and it cost him the decision.
Last night, Sergio Pettis continued his winning ways by taking out John Moraga. How high can Pettis climb at 125 lbs.?
For complete UFC Fight Night 103 “Penn vs. Rodriguez” results and play-by-play, click HERE!
Source:: mma mania