Anthony “Showtime” Pettis: Top 5 MMA

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis who was born January 27th, 1987, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, is a former UFC Lightweight Champion.

He is ranked the 13th Greatest MMA Striker of All Time; 3rd MMA Fighter of the Year 2003; 57th  Greatest MMA Striker of All Time, 93rd Greatest Grappler of All Time, and 57th Greatest MMA Fighter of All Time.

The American fighter is currently signed to PFL (Professional Fighters League). He was also the last WEC Lightweight Champion before UFC bought it under its banner. Pettis represented the welterweight, lightweight and featherweight divisions of the UFC.

At the early age of 5, Pettis started training in Taekwondo and boxing. During his college years, he trained at one of the top MMA gyms based in Wisconsin – Roufusport.

Progressing by leaps and bounds, he successfully earned a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo. Pettis has also practised capoeira – a form of Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance and acrobatics, with music.

Pettis made his professional MMA debut in December 2007 by defeating Tom Erspamer at GCF (Gladiators Cage Fighting).

He compiled a record of 8–0 before debuting with WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting), going on to win the Gladiator Fighting Series Lightweight Championship.

Pettis also went to The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs United Kingdom try-outs but did not make it to the show.

He was praised by Fight Magazine in 2010 as the ‘New Comer of the Year’. In the same year, Sherdog tagged him as the ‘Breakthrough Fighter of the Year’.

Pettis also appeared on episode 4 of World of Jenks. The episode revealed Pettis’ pre-fight preparations as well as his family life.

Anthony’s brother, Sergio Pettis is the current Bellator Bantamweight Champion and has represented the UFC in the Flyweight and Bantamweight divisions.

Okay, now you’ve got the back story on this exciting fighter, it’s…SHOWTIME…so let’s get into Anthony Pettis’ Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)

5. Vs. Joe Lauzon – UFC 144 (Feb. 26, 2012)

Right from the off, a big kick by Pettis lands on Lauzon as both fighters heat up for the match.

Moving in southpaw stance, Pettis gets attacked by Lauzon as “Showtime” sneaks away just in time, at 30 seconds into round 1. The dexterity of Pettis’ moves appear as nimble as a deer.

Pettis shortly after smashes a lightning, skull-crushing high kick and quickly goes for the ground and pound on Lauzon at 1:19 into the round. Just moments before getting smashed, Lauzon was drawn into a trap as Pettis threw a bait jab but instantly came up with a high kick to axe his opponent’s head, almost as if off his body!

Referee Marc Goddard came rushing forward to separate the two at 1:21 of round 1. Pettis had won the bout via KO (head kicks and punches).

This match is ranked: the 97th Greatest Knockout of all time; 3rd  Best MMA Knockout of the Year 2012; 87th Best MMA Fight of the Year, 2012 and UFC Knockout of the Night.

In one of his post-fight interviews, Pettis said that he deserves to be the next UFC lightweight championship contender.

4. Vs. Donald Cerrone – UFC on Fox 6 (Jan. 26, 2013)

Here, Pettis was pitted against the “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone. To start, Pettis went in with a right hook on Cerrone, accelerating the attack with a combination of meaty blows – a left hook and right hand, to rock Cerrone’s face at 0:22 of round 1.

Pettis then executed a sublime kick maneuvers, attacking Cerrone with circular kicks. Hurriedly, Pettis scrambled across the octagon as quickly as he could to find the best angle to totally destroy his opponent.

Pettis went on to brutally attack Cerrone’s ribs at 2:15 of round 1, where he appears visibly hurt. Another left kick cracks with force targeting Cerrone’s rib cage, putting him down…and out.

Pettis then finished proceedings with ground and pound as the referee, Robert Madrigal swiftly intervened to call the stop at 2:35 of round 1. Pettis won the match via body kick TKO.

This fight chalked up the following credentials, 34th Best MMA Fight of the Year 2013; 8th Best MMA Knockout of the Year 2013; and UFC on Fox 6 Knockout of the Night.

3. Vs. Benson Henderson – UFC 164 (Aug. 31, 2013)

The UFC lightweight championship was on the line as the champ Henderson went one on one with Pettis in their second outing.

Pettis was riding high on his last 3 consecutive victories in the UFC and was now here (in white trunks).

In round 1, Henderson leapt forward aiming to decimate Pettis with his furious brand of blows.

Grappling takes place at the side of the ring with both fighters looking to establish their dominance over the other.

At 1:27 in, Henderson, with a quick jab went berserk on Pettis to gain the clinch.

In the last minute of the round, lightning-quick body shots by Pettis agitated Henderson as he pushed for a takedown.

Whilst trying to rub down Anthony’s face with his steel-pointy elbows, Pettis surreptitiously locked on an extremely tight armbar to which Henderson was forced to tap under its unrelenting pressure.

Anthony Pettis won the match at 4:31 of round 1 by armbar submission.

This match received the following recognition by the UFC for being the; 31st  Greatest Submission of All Time; 52nd Greatest Lightweight MMA Fight of All Time;  92nd Best MMA Fight of the Year, 2013; 2nd  Best MMA Submission of the Year 2013, as well as UFC 164 Submission Fight of the Night.

Speaking to Joe Rogan in the post-fight interview, Pettis stated; “I came out in southpaw stance and saw him move his left hand…Ben Henderson did his thing and had three great fights, and hopefully, I can come out of here ready to fight the winner.”

2. Vs. Alex Karalexis – WEC 48 (April 24, 2010)

To start round 1, Pettis scrambles right and left, up and down, looking to hunt down his prey Alex Karalexis.

At 0:46, Pettis blasts off a brutal switch-kick right to Alex’s right eye, totally stunning him! Alex tries to fight back by driving Pettis to the edge of the octagon into a clinch.

At 2 minutes in, Karalexis this time catches another incoming, high-intensity Pettis kick.

Now mounted over, Karalexis exerts some hard blows to Pettis’ face as he lays on the canvas. Pettis absorbs all the heavy blows and then rises up to his feet. By this point there are just 44 seconds more to go in the round.

Pettis, clearly annoyed by the assault, now unleashes a couple of meaty kicks with excessive force that actually make Alex hop in the air like a kangaroo, and that nearly crack open his shins!

Karalexis went quickly after Pettis for a couple of hooks and a takedown. “You can’t let him go, That’s the mistake by Alex”, Mike Goldberg said in his commentary with colleague Joe Rogan.

Those words proved implicitly correct. Alex dropped himself forward to grab Pettis’ legs for another takedown, but Pettis quickly turned the tables by coiling his head awkwardly between his legs and mercilessly hammering his face at 1:30 into round 2.

The referee, Josh Rosenthal didn’t intervene, even though he saw Alex losing consciousness, until the fighter himself tapped out at 1:35 of round 2. Pettis won by triangle choke.

1. Vs. Charles Oliveira – UFC on Fox 21 (Aug. 27, 2016)

This match was live from British Colombia, Canada, as Pettis made his featherweight debut against Oliveira. Pettis ditched the lightweight division due to 3 consecutive losses.

Pettis was back in action with a fresh mindset to prove to the world that he’s a champion.

Oliveira straight away went for a clinch scrambling with Pettis towards the cage – a warm welcome for the featherweight division debutant!

Oliveira exhausts Pettis as he wraps him in a body triangle. Anthony turns over and sneaks himself out of the deadly clinch in the first half of round 1.

At 2:47, Pettis drops two, heavy sidekicks on Oliveira along with a devastating right hand. Oliveira’s grounded, but can Pettis capitalize?

Anthony then blasts Oliveira by mercilessly striking his face with a dozen hardcore punches landing square on his nose – ouch!

Oliveria, now in real trouble, still showed a huge amount of resilience to take all those heavy blows in an action-packed round 1.

Round 2 starts off with Pettis attacking Oliveira at will with momentary jabs making him lose balance, twice. A real striking bonanza then takes place as both fighters strike each other without a second wasted in calculating their next move.

At 2:30, Oliveira drags Pettis to the corner, mounts over and executes a deadly triangle, squeezing Anthony’s neck under the auspices of his elbow. Olivera was not going to quit easily as one would have thought witnessing the first round.

In the final round, Oliveira continued his game plan of clinching up Pettis, and instantly flipping him to the canvas for another takedown. Victimising Pettis by mounting on top, the victory looked to be ripe for the picking for Oliveira.

Pettis however, was determined to fight untill his last breath. The scramble saw him slither miraculously from the triangle and impose a guillotine choke which became extremely oppressive from behind his neck – forcing Oliveira to tap out.

The referee, Yves Lavigne, hurriedly intervened at 1:49 of round 3 to call the bout, with Pettis winning this battle of titans via guillotine choke.

In his post fight interview, Pettis heaped praises upon Charles Oliveira, saying; “He came to fight man and put on a hell of a show!”

This match is ranked the 14th Best MMA Submission of the Year 2016; 8th Greatest Submission of All Time; 81st Greatest Featherweight Fight of All Time, and 44th Best MMA Fight of the Year, 2016.

So there we have it folks, 5 of Anthony Pettis’ best MMA finishes!

With a robust record of 24 wins, 11 TKO/KO’s and 7 submissions, where would you rank Anthony Pettis among the lightweight elite? From the list above, what’s your favorite “Showtime” fight moment? And…which fighter should we KFK next? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

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Atif Khan is an MA graduate in International Journalism from Cardiff University. He is keenly Interested in learning about all types of martial arts and their essence in cultivating strong physical and mental strength. He's always been fascinated by Chinese kung fu pioneers along with their mystical animal styles, forms and poses, and their hard work philosophy leading to a balanced way of life.

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