Few mixed martial artists have a highlight reel as exciting, diverse and decorative as Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. While the elder of the Pettis brothers may not have the most impressive record compared to Conor McGregor’s incredible finishing rate and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone’s workhorse style records, Pettis has an impressive resume of his own.
While Pettis’s numbers don’t tell the story of his career, if you see him in action, you’ll know that he’s special. We take a look at some of Anthony Pettis’ most impressive moments leading up to his upcoming bout with Diego Ferreira.
Off the cage kick
Pettis may be most known for his highlight reel kick at WEC 53. In an anticipated bout between Pettis and then champion Benson Henderson. It was a back and forth affair between the two martial artists, with each of them securing one body lock while mounting the other. In the fifth and final round Pettis would land an off the cage kick that looked like it had been stolen from an action movie.
While the kick did not finish the job, Pettis would go on to secure the victory through a unanimous decision. The highlight reel blow continues to be played till this day as an exhibit of the true potential of martial arts.
Michael Chiesa is a large athlete. He is big even for the 170-pound welterweight division of the UFC. In a sport where size matters to such a large degree, Chiesa must’ve looked overwhelmingly the favourite in a matchup against Pettis. At the weigh-ins, Chiesa was overweight. But when Pettis and Chiesa squared off, the difference in size was largely neutralised. Pettis fended off Chiesa’s attacks and finally caught him in a triangle in the second round. The much larger Chiesa soon tapped.
Showtime Pettis would walk-off with the air of a man who’d just put in the work on a job well done.
War with Ferguson
Tony Ferguson and Pettis fought on the UFC 229 card. While Pettis lost that bout, and while the entire evening was overshadowed by the chaos which ensued afterward, it was an instant classic. Pettis threw a spinning backlist early on in round one. He followed that up with a cartwheel kick towards the end of the round.
Early on in the second round, Pettis threw a few straight right hands and rocked Ferguson. El Cucuy would quickly roll and recover, but we saw his vulnerability. Pettis would also eat an elbow and soon both fighters were bloody.
Both fighters then exchanged rights and lefts fighting in a phone booth as the already excited crowd started cheering even more. Ferguson would pile on the pressure as Pettis threw up yet another cartwheel kick, which unfortunately did not connect. Pettis’s coach Duke Roufus threw in the towel at the end of the second round. Pettis had broken his hand and was unable to continue.
However, Pettis only became more popular as a result.
Superman Punch Knockout
Pettis made the move to welterweight early last year when he signed up to face Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
Ahead of their fight, Wonderboy said about Pettis, “I’m expecting some straight up ninja-stuff”. Those words would prove prophetic.
Wonderboy was doing a picture perfect job of keeping Pettis at bay. The karate prodigy looked to have the fight under control and was happy to keep throwing sideways kicks and jabs at Pettis.
Mike Tyson once said “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face”. With less than ten seconds left in the second round, Pettis leaped off the ground and caught Thompson right on the jaw with a perfectly well placed and well timed superman punch. It would mark the first time that Wonderboy was ever knocked out in his career.
The fallout earned Pettis praise from fans and the UFC alike.
Artists are more interested in their art than in the result of their art. It is in this sense, that Showtime Pettis is a true martial artist. From his performances inside the cage, he’s far more interested in testing the limits of his skills. On occasion, this looks like inconsistency. But if you’re a fan of martial arts for the sake of the artistry involved over the sporting and competition aspects, then there’s a lot of value for you in the career and works of Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.