Value On Former Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis

Sunday, March 17, 2019 12:31 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 17, 2019 12:31 PM UTC

What looks like a squash match will actually be more competitive than people would expect and Pettis is a much larger underdog than he should be.

UFC Fight Night 148

Anthony Pettis vs Stephen Thompson
When: Saturday 23rd, 11:55 PM EDT
Free UFC Pick: Anthony Pettis

Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Okay okay okay just hear me out! Yes Pettis fought as low as 145 pounds. Yes Stephen “Wonderboy” is a natural 170 pound fighter. HOWEVER, Anthony Pettis is being massively underrated in this fight. His athleticism and explosiveness is something that few fighters in the UFC can match and that was what really put him on the map when he landed the “Showtime Kick” on then WEC champion Ben Henderson.

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Wonderboy is primarily a karate fighter and is mostly still and stationary until he decides to explode. When he explodes he has brutal knockout power, however I believe that Wonderboy is no longer evolving as a mixed martial artist and that is making him predictable. If you play Wonderboy’s game you can get dropped. In fact the only person to play Wonderboy’s game and win is former champion Tyron Woodley.

Stephen Thompson has KO’d fighters like Jake Ellenberger in 2015 and Johnny Hendricks in 2016, but the majority of his other fights have gone to decision. After beating Hendricks, Thompson won a decision over the fading Rory McDonald that earned him the title shot at Woodley. While that resume sounds impressive I am going to poke some holes in it. In 2016 Hendricks was at the edge of the cliff. After losing to Thompson, Hendricks went 4-1 in his next 5 and was dropped from the UFC. Jake Ellenberger similarly went 5-1 in his next 6 and was dropped by the promotion as well. Rory’s loss completed the first ever 2 fight losing streak of his career and he took almost a year off to get himself right before taking his next fight in Bellator. Wonderboy’s 3 big wins that got him to a title shot do not look so impressive in hindsight.

One of the biggest factors in this fight is the size difference. Pettis dropped all the way down to 145 at one point and has been fighting at 155 for his entire career however he’s not as small as that would lead you to believe. Take a look at him standing next to the up until recently champion of 170 Tyron Woodley and top contender Ben Askren.

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Tyron Woodley with Din Thomas, Anthony Pettis and 2 guys that will never fight in The UFC pic.twitter.com/a9ZZ6CsRcE

— MMA Roasted (@MMARoasted) 29 de julho de 2016
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Pettis is BIGGER than Woodley is.

If we know anything in MMA its that weight cuts affect your performance and chin. Pettis has fought the absolute who’s who of the most stacked division in the entire UFC for his entire career and is in the midst of a resurgence. He is 3-3 in his last 6 and while that may not SOUND like a resurgence let me break it down for you. Pettis submitted BJJ specialist and rising young star Charles Oliveira who is a high level BJJ practitioner and who submits basically everybody he fights. Then he lost to 145 pound champion Max Holloway who may be one of the greatest fighters to ever grace the octagon.

He rebounded against Jim Miller and then dropped a fight to Dustin Porier who is currently matched up with Max Holloway for the Lightweight title in just a few weeks at UFC 236 and is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division. He then submitted the massive Michael Chiesa who is moving up to 170 permanently and just beat former 170 pound champion Carlos Condit. Pettis’ last fight was a loss to interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson who is on the longest win streak in the division’s history and Pettis looked the best he has in years in that fight.

To make a long story short Pettis’ wins AND losses have aged VERY well and Thompson's have not. Pettis has arguably fought the higher level of competition and he is going to be even stronger and more explosive at 170 than he was at 155. Both fighters took this fight because neither is interested in a ground fight and both have struggled against wrestlers, but should the fight hit the mat Pettis will have the edge both on top of Thompson and off of his back.

So yes, Thompson will be larger than Pettis but they have very different striking styles and I believe that Pettis’ is actually superior. Showtime will be the more active fighter and a moving target is much harder to hit and explode on the way Thompson likes to. This may also be the first time Stephen Thompson faces a fighter faster than him in the UFC. All things considered I think people are underestimating Anthony “Showtime” Pettis and we will get more value on him because of it.

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