No longer in the shadow of his older brother, Sergio Pettis has become a force in the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight division.
The budding Roufusport star pushed his winning streak to four fights with a unanimous decision over Brandon Moreno in the five-round UFC Fight Night 114 “Pettis vs. Moreno” headliner on Saturday at Mexico City Arena in Mexico City. All three cageside judges scored it for Pettis (16-2): 49-46, 48-46 and 48-46. The 23-year-old Milwaukee native now owns a 7-2 record in the UFC.
Moreno (14-4) made it difficult. He executed a takedown inside the first minute of the first round, scrambled to the back and threaded his hooks before securing position with a body triangle and pursuing the rear-naked choke. Pettis spent more than four minutes with the Entram Gym standout attached to his back. Nevertheless, he survived. Pettis stayed upright over the next three rounds and carved up Moreno with a stiff jab, chopping right hands and a variety of kicks, one of which opened a cut near the right eye in the middle stanza.
Pettis was in control at the start of Round 5 but yielded a takedown and again wandered into danger. However, he kept his composure and stayed active from the bottom, feeding Moreno a pair of upkicks at one point. Pettis eventually escaped to his feet and closed the round by showcasing his superiority in the standup.
The loss snapped an 11-fight winning streak for Moreno, who suffered his first defeat since July 2012.
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Grasso Rebounds to Outpoint Markos
Lobo Gym prospect Alexa Grasso rebounded from her first professional defeat, as she was awarded a narrow split decision over Randa Markos in the women’s strawweight co-main event. Scores were 29-28 for Markos, 29-28 and 29-28 for Grasso.
Grasso (10-1) dragged “The Ultimate Fighter 20” semifinalist to the canvas in the first round and dropped elbows from top position. Markos (7-5) responded in the second, where she countered body kicks with repeated takedowns, climbed to full mount and cut loose with ground-and-pound of her own. The momentum was short-lived. A back-and-forth third round saw Grasso gain the upper hand late with crisp boxing, unleashing sharp jabs and clubbing right hands. She denied one last takedown attempt from the winded Markos, as she jumped to a standing guillotine before scoring with a quick two-punch combination on the break.
Undefeated Price Wrecks Jouban
American Top Team’s Niko Price remained unbeaten, as he took care of Alan Jouban with punches in the first round of their welterweight pairing on the main card. Jouban (15-6) succumbed to blows 1:44 into Round 1, the Black House and 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu rep suffering his second consecutive defeat.
Price (11-0) countered a leg kick with a rolling right hand down the pike. The impact sent a dazed Jouban reeling backward, his 27-year-old counterpart in hot pursuit. Price hammered away with punches on the downed Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt until referee Gary Copeland jumped in to stop it.
Bandenay Knee KOs Bravo
Team Oyama export Humberto Bandenay knocked out “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” winner Martin Bravo with a nuclear knee strike in the first round of their featherweight feature. A replacement for the injured Chris Gruetzemacher, Bandenay (14-4) brought it to a shocking conclusion 26 seconds into Round 1.
Bravo (11-1) walked into the fight-ending blow. Bandenay fired a body kick and followed it by shooting his shin toward the head. His knee caught the previously unbeaten Bravo on the way in, freezing him where he stood and sending him to the mat stiff and unconscious.
Bandenay, 22, has rattled off six straight wins, none more important to his career than this one.
Alvey Decisions Fading Evans
Team Quest’s Sam Alvey won for the fifth time in six fights, as he wound up on the right side of a split decision against onetime UFC champion Rashad Evans in a featured clash at 185 pounds. Scores were 29-28 for Evans, 29-28 and 29-28 for Alvey.
Neither man did much to distinguish himself in what was a plodding affair. Evans (19-7-1) pursued a fruitless clinch and was ineffective outside of a first-round takedown and a few overhand rights and left hooks. Alvey (31-9) did surprisingly well in close quarters, as he cut loose with standing elbows and knees to the body. Evans fought a losing battle with output for most of the 15-minute confrontation, and the fatigue and frustration that set in late did not aid his cause.
Evans, 37, has lost four fights in a row.
Perez Edges Soukhamthath in Split Verdict
“The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” winner Alejandro Perez overcame three knockdowns to eke out a split decision over former CES MMA champion Andre Soukhamthath in a three-round bantamweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them for Perez (18-6-1).
Soukhamthath (11-5) twice sat down the 27-year-old with left jabs in the first round and followed suit in the second. However, Perez knocked him off-balance with an overhand right midway through the middle stanza, assumed top position and altered the direction of the fight. Soukhamthath faded down the stretch, as he surrendered a takedown and spent far too much time pinned in a seated position along the fence.
The 28-year-old Soukhamthath remains winless in two starts inside the Octagon.
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