While Anthony Pettis earned a split-decision victory over heavy-hitting Jeremy Stephens, Pettis showed that he still has much work to do before he is ready to compete with the best lightweights in the UFC.
The first round saw Stephens getting the better of the stand-up game against Pettis. Stephens got a takedown early, and Pettis went for a triangle choke. Stephens was able to fight his way out of the submission attempt and continued to get the better of the striking for the remainder of the round.
Pettis came back in the second round and took Stephens down to the ground early in the frame. Pettis put his ground game on display as he worked ground-and-pound on submission after submission attempt. Toward the end of the round, Pettis secured Stephens' back and nearly notched a rear-naked choke.
Stephens was able to fight back to his feet as the round came to and end, landing some heavy ground-and-pound of his own.
Stephens came out and took Pettis down early in the third round. Pettis went for a triangle choke, but Stephens postured up and fought his way back to his feet.
Pettis went on to take down Stephens two more times in succession, only to have Stephens fight his way quickly back to his feet both times. For the remainder of the fight, the two fighters fought to take the other down.
After 15 minutes of action, the judges awarded Anthony Pettis a split-decision victory (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Upon his arrival from the WEC, Pettis was in line for a shot at the UFC lightweight title. However, his chance never came to be thanks in part to Edgar vs Maynard II ending in a draw.
Instead of fighting for the title, Pettis was put in the Octagon against Clay Guida, Pettis was out-wrestled for a full three rounds and lost a unanimous decision victory.
While he got a much needed win against Stephens, Pettis did not look overly impressive. His striking and grappling both looked very average.
Pettis is still young with a tremendous amount of talent. In his next couple of fights, Pettis will have to win his fights more impressively. If he doesn't, he may never get a shot at the title that he was supposed to have gotten already.
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