UFC 163 will prove to be a heavy striking display, a combination of Muay Thai & Tae Kwon Do at its finest. Headlined by the meeting of featherweight king Jose Aldo jr. and the challenger, the phenomenally young Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, a great upset will be presented on the night of August 3rd and its not likely to be in disfavor of the champion Aldo.
Currently on a 15 fight win streak, which makes him #3 in the UFC of fighters on the longest career win streak to Renan Barao (31) and Anderson Silva (17), Aldo is one of the most complete mixed martial artist the world has ever seen.
On his entrance into the UFC and first title defense, he earned a unanimous decision victory of Mark Hommick, snapping his 5-fight win streak at UFC 129, a unanimous decision victory over former 2-time lightweight title challenger and TUF veteran Kenny Florian at UFC 136, a first round Knockout against then undefeated Chad “Money” Mendes at UFC 142 and dominated former Lightweight Champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar at UFC 156 taking home a unanimous decision. The “Machine” broke down, Ken Flo couldn’t find his “Flo,” Mendes wasn’t about his “Money,” and Frankie couldn’t find “the Answer.” So what makes Anthony Pettis the greater challenger?
Pettis (16-2) is known for his flashy moves that awes the crowds and makes him a favorite in every fight thus far in the UFC. The “Kick heard round the world,” that he landed on Benson Henderson in the last WEC title fight granted him fame and hype, but a trademark that all of his UFC opponents have been wary of. With a KO victory vs. Joe Lauzon at UFC 144 and a TKO against Donald Cerrone at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson, Pettis is no doubt a dangerous striker regardless if he’s failed to land those beloved flashy technique thus yet in the octagon.
Anticipation was at its greatest when Pettis arrived in the UFC. With rights to an automatic title fight as the WEC’s last Lightweight Champion, Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard’s second meeting resulted in a draw, which left Pettis to face Clay Guida, a headliner for TUF 13 Finale. It was clear from the start that Pettis made the perilous mistake of underestimating “The Carpenter,” and spent a great deal on his back, attempting to submit Guida. Unsuccessful in his flashy hype and submission ability, Clay Guida ran away with a unanimous decision victory, being the second to slow down the hype-train after veteran Bart Palaszewski bettered him at WEC 45.
Pettis insist that he is the best striker that Aldo will face in his career and by the looks of things, it may be true on both accounts- Aldo is the best striker Pettis will face thus far. We’ve seen Pettis outings against strikers at 155 but never the most dangerous (Barboza, Njokuani, Guillard, Makdessi).
With the physical conditioning of both fighters world class, Aldo will have an advantage with his Muay Thai and will cripple the young Pettis if he is foolish enough to just stand and not mix it up. Pettis displayed much diversity in his fight with Jeremy Stephens, completing takedowns. Not such an easy task to do vs. Aldo, who barely broke a sweat defending the takedowns of the featherweight division’s greatest wrestler, Chad Mendes and his training with Gray Maynard will ensure Aldo can stay on his feet.
Pettis, once, had made the ill-fated choice to feed into his hype which blinded him when he faced Guida, lets hope that he is mature enough to know that even youth can crumble under the impending brutal onslaught he’ll face in Rio De Janeiro. And let’s also hope that the UFC organization adheres to its ranking system once Pettis falls to Aldo.