Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis explained why he’s fighting Alex Morono at UFC Vegas 17 in what was a surprising booking.
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported that Pettis vs. Morono will take place at UFC Vegas 17, which is set for December 19 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card was originally set to be headlined by welterweights Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev, but the fight was called off after Edwards tested positive for COVID-19. The new main event will see Stephen Thompson take on Geoff Neal for five rounds or less.
Speaking to ESPN, Pettis explained why he accepted the fight with Morono. On the surface, this seems like a bit of a head scratcher as Pettis is a former UFC champion and a big name, plus he’s ranked No. 12 at welterweight. Morono, meanwhile, is a solid fighter in his own right, but him getting the opportunity to fight Pettis surprised a lot of people. According to “Showtime,” however, he just wanted to fight once more this year.
“I was actually trying to get a fight for a while now. My mindset has been so sharp. I’ve gone back to being a student of the game and I feel myself moving over this plateau. I feel like I was plateaued for a while and it was just never-ending, but last month I went to Colombia and got a stem-cell injection and I’ve been working with a sports psychiatrist. I have these tools in my mental game and I’m eager to put them to use. I’m making real progress as a martial artist and it’s felt so good to reinvent myself,” Pettis said.
“I’m not obsessing about getting back to a belt or getting that next spot. This is my first chance to get back-to-back wins in a while. Let’s start back over, take this one step at a time. I feel amazing at 170 pounds. This opportunity opened up and I couldn’t say no to it.”
Pettis (23-10) is coming off of a unanimous decision win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 249 this past May, bouncing back from a submission loss to Diego Ferreira at UFC 246. He is a few years removed from being an elite fighter in the sport but he’s still more than capable of getting his hand raised As for Morono (18-6), he is coming off of a decision win over Rhys McKee last month. He has won four of his last five overall.
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