Alex Morono and Anthony Pettis

UFC Vegas 17: Deep Dive – Alex Morono and Anthony Pettis

In a year where unexpected surprises seem to be normal, the UFC has remained a steady constant. The final show of 2020 will go down at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Since the headliner Stephen Thompson versus Geoff Neal is in the spotlight, let’s take a closer look at a bout that could easily hold the main event spot itself. Former lightweight king Anthony Pettis and Alex Morono will share the cage in a fierce welterweight scrap.

While training at Roufusport MMA Academy, with head coach Duke Roufus, Pettis (23-10) reached the pinnacle of the sport. At times, his wrestling ability got him into jams, but that certainly won’t be the case against Morono (18-6). Both athletes love to stand and trade and rarely shoot for takedowns.

Nevertheless many recognize the striking acumen of Pettis. The dedication the former champion has for various forms of striking is extraordinary. Essential to his success, Pettis uses his Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to keep the foe guessing. Pettis’s tactical awareness enables him to set up such slick striking. This was on full display against the Karate specialist Thompson, who suffered his first knockout loss after Pettis bounced off the cage with a superman punch.

Alex Morono and Anthony Pettis – Closer Look

After reaching out to Morono, he spoke about his weight cut and his training. First, he reaffirmed his commitment at Fortis MMA. Also, Morono added that he was getting quality training with headliner, Geoff Neal for his bout at UFC Vegas 17. Then, we spoke about his weight cut after he mentioned this one was a little bigger than the last, and said, “As soon as I got word of the fight, I make sure to keep a super clean and effective diet to supplement the hard training while staying lean. This cut I’ll be just a bit more than the last, but they’re never super hard. I’ve made damn near the same cut for about a decade now, and they get easier every time, especially as I get older, I’ve become a bit leaner.”

Undoubtedly the welterweight mainstay has benefited from training with a versatile striker like Neal. The Orthodox Morono’s nickname is the “great white” because he takes opponents into deep water. He showed this ability early in his career at Legacy Fighting FC 44. Specifically, against Valdir Araujo, although he lost both rounds and most of the third round, ultimately Morono’s pressure would be too much, and finished his opponent with an overhand right in the final round.

As a consequence of this style, sometimes the Fortis MMA product may start slower than some athletes. Consequently, this is an area Pettis could exploit. However, with some of the lowest takedown percentages in the UFC, the bout will no doubt be packed with violence.

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Doug Murray
Freelance Writer - Sports MMA