The Size Up: UFC Fight Night – Pettis vs. Moreno

Main event – Flyweight – Sergio Pettis vs. Brandon Moreno

Pettis Notable Fights: John Moraga (W), Alex Caceres (L), Ryan Benoit (W)

Moreno Notable Fights: Dustin Ortiz (W), Louis Smolka (W), Ryan Benoit (W)

Pettis Stat: All 6 of his UFC wins have been via decision.

Moreno Stat: He has won 7 of his last 9 fights via submission.

The Match Up

With Demetrious Johnson’s seemingly unending reign at the top of the UFC’s flyweight division taking its next step against Ray Borg in the coming weeks, it’s a interesting time to be a 125 lbs fighter in a big fight. And that’s exactly what Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno are this week as they headline the UFC’s latest sojurn across the border to Mexico. And what makes it even more important is the fact that neither Pettis nor Moreno has previously taken on the only ever flyweight champion. Fresh, interesting match-ups atop this division aren’t exactly ten a penny but the winner of this main event could provide just that later this year.

Although this one doesn’t really have the name value many people would expect from a main event, it does have two big prospects with a lot of skill in all areas.

Moreno is an old-fashioned action fighter who will bite up on his mouthpiece and fight for the win in all areas. He is a relatively high output fighter, although almost everyone in that division is, who sets up his improving striking well. His variation is definitely the best thing about his stand up and it’s the low kicks and jab that allow him to land the power high kicks and right hand.

The most impressive part of his game is certainly his jiu-jitsu. Moreno doesn’t have great takedown defence and strikes wildly but that can play in his favour because of how good he is on the ground. He is quick when it hits to floor to dominate position. He favours the body lock on a lot of occasions and is almost impossible to get off of you once attached. If it gets that far, it’s usually ending in submission.

Sergio Pettis, on the other hand, is a much more orthodox fighter. Well, as orthodox as a southpaw can be. Over the last few fights, the younger Pettis brother has matured greatly and is actually fighting more like Anthony than ever.

Good takedown defence, solid clinch and an underrated submission attack are traits of both brothers and something which Sergio actually has to show less than his brother.

Recently, his comfort levels when striking has increased. He is becoming more intelligent with his range and likes to jump between just inside and just outside of the pocket. He attacks the body well at times with his four striking limbs and sets out his stall better in fights now than previously. Sergio’s best trait is definitely the slickness of his hands. He is at his best when he throws in combination of three or four shots. His defence and head movement is also something which is improving and makes him a tough task for anyone.

The Pick

Neither of these men, though, are the finished article. Both are still improving and both still have weaknesses. Pettis sometimes coasts a little when ahead and there are questions on his ability over a long distance; while Moreno tends to run out of ideas when he can’t get the finish.

I think this one will be a pretty even fight. Moreno doesn’t really have the wrestling to trouble Pettis so I think this will mostly play out on the feet. Where it could hit the ground is from a knockdown or a wild scramble. If that does happen, I think Pettis will surprise people with his ability to defend on the ground but in the end could very well succumb to the dangerous Moreno.

Photo via Zuffa

On the feet though, it will be very interesting. Moreno will take one to land one and that could play into Pettis’ game of combination striking. If Pettis can defend well against the wild Moreno there is the prospect that he lands at will while the Mexican continues to search for openings.

If it goes five rounds, I think it’ll be close but I’d favour Pettis. But, for me, I think the most likely outcome here is Moreno catching him at some stage. He has showed his striking is more hurtful in the past and if he can land one of those headkicks it could be another Moreno submission special once it hits the deck.

Women’s Strawweight – Randa Markos vs. Alexa Grasso

Markos Notable Fights: Carla Esparza (W), Karolina Kowalkiewicz (L), Aisling Daly (W)

Grasso Notable Fights: Mizuki Inoue (W), Felice Herrig (L), Heather Jo Clark (W)

Markos Stat: 7 of her 11 fights have gone the distance.

Grasso Stat: She is 5-0 in Mexico.

The Pick: On top form this is an even fight but I have to go with Markos based on their last outing.

Middleweight – Rashad Evans vs. Sam Alvey

Evans Notable Fights: Rampage Jackson (W), Jon Jones (L), Dan Kelly (L)

Alvey Notable Fights: Thales Leites (L), Eric Spicely (W), Dan Kelly (W)

Evans Stat: After only losing 1 of his first 19 fights, he is now 2-5 in his last 7.

Alvey Stat: He has 18 wins via TKO/KO but only 1 in the last 7.

The Pick: I think this will be an uneventful enough decision win for Evans.

Additional Picks

Welterweight Alan Jouban vs. Niko Price – Jouban
Featherweight Martín Bravo vs. Humberto Bandenay – Bravo
Bantamweight Alejandro Pérez vs. Andre Soukhamthath – Perez

Middleweight Brad Scott vs. Jack Hermansson – Scott
Flyweight Dustin Ortiz vs. Hector Sandoval – Ortiz
Bantamweight Henry Briones vs. Rani Yahya – Yahya
Bantamweight Jose Alberto Quinonez vs. Diego Rivas – Quinonez

Flyweight Joseph Morales vs. Roberto Sanchez – Sanchez
Lightweight Alvaro Herrera vs. Jordan Rinaldi – Rinaldi

Bet Of The Week

Randa Markos to win at 5/4

Start Times

Early Prelims – Fight Pass at 12am

Prelims – BT Sport 2 and Fight Pass at 1am

Main Card – BT Sport 2 at 3am

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook