Sergio Pettis and Brandon Moreno fought each other in the flyweight main event tonight (August 5, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 112 on FOX Sports 1 from inside Arena Ciudad de México in Mexico City, Mexico. Pettis had quietly strung together a three-fight win streak, the latest against former title challenger John Moraga. Brandon Moreno, fighting in his native Mexico, had won eleven straight, the last three in the UFC. The winner of this fight would find themselves in a good place to demand a title shot, with champion Demetrious Johnson having already cleaned out most of the division.
Brandon Moreno walked out all cheers and smiles, kissing his family on the way to the cage. Sergio walked out calm and serious.
They touched gloves. Moreno looked for a couple leg kicks to start out. Moreno caught a Pettis kick and ran Pettis backwards to the canvas. He got top position, in Pettis’ closed guard. Pettis wrapped up one of his arms with an overhook. He finally pulled it free and forced Pettis to turtle, taking his back. Pettis tried to create space, but the body triangle was making life difficult for him. Moreno landed punches and looked for a rear-naked choke. Pettis used the safe side to stay out of imminent danger, but no matter how much he flopped around he couldn’t seem to break free. Moreno looked for a short choke, but couldn’t get it under the chin. He landed more shots from back control to close out an extremely dominant round one.
Round two began with Moreno in his weird posture, waving his hands about; Pettis pushed him off balance with a well-timed teep. Moreno danced around while Pettis talked him, landing a low kick. Moreno had a kick caught, and Pettis swept his leg, but declined to go to the ground with the Mexican. Pettis landed a head kick, then another, but Moreno ran through the second one to take him down. Pettis nearly locked up a triangle from the bottom, but Moreno pulled free. On the feet again, Pettis resumed stalking Moreno. He tried a wheel kick that fell short. Moreno threw hands into a nice low kick. Pettis connected with yet another head kick while Moreno was waving his hands. Pettis seemed unwilling to lead, but when Moreno threw a hook he countered with a nice rear straight. They exchanged. Pettis threw another wheel kick before the round ended.
Pettis counted a jab with a hard right straight. He stepped in with more punches, landing his technical straight shots while Moreno threw wild slapping hooks. Moreno threw a lead body kick. Pettis caught a body kick and just missed with a head kick counter. Moreno looked for hooks in the next exchange but Pettis stayed out of danger with a high guard. Moreno ran in with punches but Pettis sidestepped. When Moreno caught another kick and tried to run him back, Pettis caught his kick in return and landed a hard right straight, then another moments later. Moreno ate a jab, then a one-two. Pettis hit a low calf kick. Moreno tried a hook, level change and hook again, but Pettis evaded, countered and blocked all three. Pettis landed another nice right straight. Moreno bobbed and weaved, looking for hooks. Pettis backed him to the cage and landed a sharp straight, hook and a jab. Moreno was busted up, a cut above his eye.
The fourth round opened with more Pettis stalking. He landed sharp jab. Moreno moved away, threw a body kick that Pettis blocked. Moreno threw a hook. Moreno claimed his eye was poked, and John McCarthy stopped the fight to check. The replay showed Pettis had, indeed, put fingers in his eye socket. Moreno said he was good to continue. Pettis renewed his diet of jabs, right straights and high kicks. Moreno ate a right straight, then darted in to throw a single hook, which Pettis blocked. Pettis landed a low kick, then a jab. Moreno landed a hook, but Pettis countered. Moreno threw a body hook into a right hand and whiffed on a spinning backfist. They exchanged, and Moreno landed a right hand that Pettis countered with a rear straight. Pettis went over the top of Moreno’s head with a wheel kick. Pettis hit a high kick, and Moreno landed a couple hooks. Pettis cartwheeled into a kick and Moreno ran him back into a takedown, ending the round in top position.
The fifth round opened with Pettis up three rounds to one, though the one round Moreno had won was likely a 10-8. Pettis worked behind his jab, but Moreno shot in and took Pettis down, avoiding Sergio’s guillotine attempt. Pettis locked up his guard. Moreno stood up and Pettis hit him with a couple nice upkicks. Moreno rained down a couple nice hooks. Pettis got butterfly hooks and seemed to want to work to his feet, but Moreno fought them until Pettis returned to closed guard. Pettis tried to stand using the cage, but Moreno had his back for a moment. When he tried to get both hooks in, Pettis shucked him off. With a minute left, Pettis began stalking Moreno. He caught a kick and landed a sharp one-two. Pettis attempted a spinning back kick. He ended the fight stepping in with punches. After the fight, Pettis back-flipped and did pushups to show how fresh he was. This would be a difficult fight to score, with Pettis solidly winning the three middle rounds, the first round a 10-8 for Moreno by all rights, and the last round questionable, with Moreno having top position for much of the round but doing little with it, and Pettis landing nice upkicks, and sharp punches once the action returned to the feet.
As it turned out, the judges saw it Pettis’ way.
In the post-fight interview, Sergio Pettis said the style of Moreno was a different look that made him question his approach, an open style he had to adjust to. Pettis was the calm technician analyzing his own performance, with the silent Mexican crowd doing nothing at all to either hype or boo him. He said he wants a title shot with this win, his fourth in a row. He finally got something like cheers when he said it was an honor to compete in Mexico.
Official Result: Sergio Pettis def. Brandon Moreno by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-46×2)