The Ultimate Fighting Championship hosts its final event of 2020 tonight, December 19, at UFC Vegas 17, live from the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Headlining the event is a welterweight bout between two ranked assassins in Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson and Geoff ‘Handz of Steel’ Neal.
Initially, we were supposed to be getting a welterweight main event between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev, but Edwards withdrew from the bout due to a positive Covid-19 test, and the bout was replaced by the initial co-main event, Thompson versus Neal.
Headlining the preliminary card tonight on ESPN+ is a welterweight bout between former WEC & UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis and Alex ‘The Great White’ Morono.
Both men are black belts in Taekwondo, and both men are black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Morono has a 1st-degree black belt in BJJ, and Pettis has a 3rd-degree black belt in Taekwondo. Pettis has also has submitted a number of elite BJJ black belts on the mat. We knew one thing coming into this fight, it was going to be a good one!
Morono immediately takes the center and presses the action. Pettis goes for flashy kick, but misses and ends up on the bottom. Morono ends up taking Pettis’ back and is reigning down punches, looking for the choke.
Pettis is controlling Morono’s hands well, keeping himself from being submitted, but is still in a terrible position very early on. Pettis eventually spins into Morono’s guard about halfway through round one, but isn’t on top for long, as Morono gets up.
Morono lands a nice snap kick, while Pettis is getting comfortable on the feet, choosing his shots more wisely now. He lands a nice spinning back kick that momentarily backed Morono up, before Morono ties up with him. Morono dragged Pettis down, but ended up on the bottom of the exchange at the end of the round.
Morono takes the center immediately again, he’s forcing Pettis to fight at his pace, and he’s looking sharp. Pettis lands a hard right cross, but Morono remains unfazed and continues walking Pettis down.
Pettis is starting to use his hands more, because most of his kicks are being blocked, and he’s having success with them. He does need to do more though, he has yet to do anything seriously effective.
Pettis lands another nice cross, this time with his left hand, but he’s still being backed up, and he only has six minutes to really do something about it. Michael Bisping seems to believe round one went to Morono, and round two went to Anthony Pettis, and that sounds accurate. It’s not a certainty though, this is a very close fight.
Morono eats a head kick at the beginning of round three, but shrugs it off, as he has with every other strike thus far. The two end up in a scramble, with Pettis ultimately ending up on top. It got a little dicey for a couple seconds there.
Pettis is on top, in Morono’s guard. He’s trying to pass, and he’s also reigning down some punches, but he needs to be careful in order to not lose this position. Pettis passes and gains half guard, before being put back in guard. Morono is trying for the life of him to get up, but is denied and kept on his back.
Morono scooted up to the fence, trying to get up, and is pulled back down again. He ends up giving Pettis his back in order to stand up, and it worked, Morono’s back to his feet, but is pressed against the fence by the former champion.
The two separate with 40 seconds left, and Pettis lands a beautiful uppercut, then a leg kick, then a spinning wheel kick. The wheel kick hurt Morono badly, as he dropped, before Pettis jumped on a guillotine choke.
Morono was able to scramble out of it, but man, that was a close one, he was so close to being finished. Pettis set that up so beautifully.
Official Result: Anthony Pettis def. Alex Morono via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)