People seem to not believe in Pettis as they did circa WEC absorbed by the Zuffa era UFC. A slew of loses using the same game plan RDA made famous pressure high volume striking and a nonstop wrestling shot. You don’t really want to hit the mats with Pettis because his arm-bar and triangle game is legit, just ask Benson and Gilbert about that. However he hasn’t been loose in the cage since that RDA fight, he’s just now getting back to his old ways the confidence booster in my eyes was the Jim Miller fight some might say the Oliveria fight but in my opinion that was a fight he should have one Jim was a real should I still be doing this kind of opponent that would let us know if Anthony still has it. His last bout against Chiesa was another step towards getting back to where he was before the RDA fight back to being the best striker in MMA. People discuss top strikers but in my mind, Edson and Pettis are the top strikers at 155 since Jorge left for 170 and I will hear no rebuttal against this. Pettis has better hands and more dexterity in both legs while Edson is as fast as DJ with a Pro-Kickboxer level understanding of timing, not the best hands but not bad either. So Pettis is no slouch at all his still got fights in him.
Back to Pettis and Ferguson, the interesting thing about this fight is not how Ferg bounces back from injury because he is an outside the square thinker about recovery and conditioning. Tony is always the wild card in the cage his only close battle was against Lando for as long as it lasted seeing how Lando took the bout on short notice but he still caught Tony more off guard than any opponent Tony faced on that 14 fight win streak. Pettis lives in that same world because he’s loose and funky but its built on sound striking taught to him by Duke Roufus, I said Duke Roufus. Pettis hits the showtime kick he has iced guys with the lead leg roundhouse he lands the sidekick flush he can box and has seamless elbows. He’s the closest to Gaston Balonos, and nobody wants to be in the cage with that butcher. The GIF is just a showcase of the brilliant dexterity and fundamental skills involved in landing a kick so crisp and flush. He can catch anyone with that. Now can Tony Ferguson eat that shot maybe, we know Tony has a beard on him and he can keep a blistering pace that gets faster and faster following a snappy d’arce that will suck the life out of you. Tony is no bum boys and girls this is an interesting fight between to guys that sit atop the elite still one off an injury the other off a rough patch in his career.
Having these two on the card leaves room for a drop out from the main event the fights that could be set up garner similar or the same acclaim, Conor vs Pettis or Conor vs Ferg and for my money Ferg vs Khabib. Pettis has the potential to make another run and a win over Ferg puts him in Tony’s current spot or the spot he was in pre-injury, a win for Tony lets everyone know he’s still here and laying in wait while chomping at the bit. Both men respect each other and in this current circus its a nice reprieve to be able to concentrate solely on the skills presented. I’m taking Pettis with heavy nerves just because I know Ferguson can snap it down and catch you anywhere.