Anthony “Showtime” Pettis’ coach, Duke Roufus, talked with Luke Thomas on the differences of Pettis’ striking compared to other lightweights, as well as featherweight Champ Jose Aldo in an in-depth interview over the weekend. Pettis is looking to dethrone the UFC Featherweight Champ this August and Roufus believes Anthony has the Edge one needs to beat the long reigning champion. He believes ‘Showtime’ in his experience from Tae Kwon Do at 5 years old, to the Muay Thai and Dutch Style Kickboxing he trains today, has an advantage over any fighter he encounters in the octagon. Just his leg dexterity alone is enough to make the former K1 Fighter confident in his student’s striking stating, “Wherever Anthony kicks is going to do damage,” as we saw in his last bout when he demolished Donald Cerrone with kicks to the liver on his way to a KO over the ‘Cowboy’, a feat we have never seen against the WEC and UFC veteran.
But its not just the kicks that Pettis’ coach thinks makes him the better striker, its the punches as well. Roufus emphasizes on the importance of setting up kicks with punches and how Pettis is better equipped to do so with a smooth style, throwing a hard punch and using his momentum to change stances to deliver a kick the opponent would have never seen coming. When asked if a fighter would be better suited for MMA having better punches or kicks Roufus felt a fighter would need a good mixture of both kicks and punches and know how and when to use them saying “I think kicking is cool but if you don’t have punches to set it up it isn’t a pragmatic style.”
Aldo is surely going to try to use his powerful leg kicks in this fight which he has in every fight in the past. He is a powerful striker with his legs and hands but Roufus states, “Anthony’s kick defense will shut Aldo’s leg kicks down.” He believes fighters just don’t defend the leg kicks like Thai and Dutch Fighters, who learn to defend kicks from early on in their training.
Pettis’ coach elaborated on the fact that they train kickboxing in relation to MMA, and believes that is why his fighters have such great striking when it comes to their performances in the octagon. They train to use their striking in the cage, and to use the octagon itself to their advantage at times, shown in Pettis’ fight against now lightweight Champ Benson Henderson when he used his infamous “Showtime Kick” to drop the Champ and earn him the WEC lightweight title.
If Aldo is to keep the Featherweight Strap he’ll have to watch out for Pettis’ flashy kicks when they face each other in August for the UFC Featherweight Championship, a belt Duke Roufus believes has Anthony Pettis’ name written all over it.