UFC 223: Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis fight preview

***UPDATE**** This fight has been cancelled by the UFC due the injuries Chiesa suffered in the McGregor bus attack.

Name: Michael Chiesa
Age: 30
Nationality: American
MMA Record: 13-3
UFC Record: 7-3
Notable Wins: Al Iaquinta, Francisco Trinaldo, Beneil Dariush
Notable Losses: Kevin Lee, Jorge Masvidal
Last Fight: Submission loss to Kevin Lee

Fighter Profile: A former winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Chiesa has been a very good fighter in the UFC lightweight division, one who is looking to take that next big step in his career. After three-straight wins, including back-to-back submissions over Beneil Dariush and Jim Miller, Chiesa lost via controversial submission to Kevin Lee in his last fight. But anyone who saw that bout knows referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in too early, and who knows how the fight would have played out had it continued. Chiesa is an excellent grappler who has solid wrestling skills, slick submissions, and we’ve seen in the past during his time on TUF that he has some sneaky knockout power. Chiesa is looking to jump into contender status and a win over a big name like Pettis would be huge for him going forward. 

Anthony Pettis
Age: 31
Nationality: American
MMA Record: 21-7
UFC Record: 7-6
Notable Wins: Benson Henderson, Gilbert Melendez, Donald Cerrone, Jeremy Stephens
Notable Losses: Dustin Poirier, Eddie Alvarez, Rafael dos Anjos, Max Holloway
Last Fight: TKO loss to Dustin Poirier

Fighter Profile: The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, Pettis was once one of the most exciting, dynamic fighters in the sport. After all, who could forget his “Showtime Kick” on Benson Henderson back in the WEC? Or his highlight-reel knockouts over Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon in the UFC? Unfortunately for Pettis, those days are long in the past, as the former champ has not been looking good as of late. He’s lost five of his last seven fights including two TKO losses in his last three outings. Not good. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Pettis look good in the striking department and even his ground game hasn’t been as effective as of late. To be fair to Pettis, he’s mostly only fought elite fighters, but still, I don’t like what I’ve seen, and at this point it’s hard not to consider him an autofade, especially against a talented opponent. I almost feel like the UFC should have given him a tune-up fight.

Fight Breakdown: I feel like Pettis is pretty much done as a top-level lightweight at this point, while I believe Chiesa still has the potential to be a contender at 155lbs. The thing that bothers me the most about Pettis as of late is his lack of durability. A fighter who was once known for his toughness, which he displayed in the fight against RDA, Pettis has not been able to weather the storm in recent fights and the TKO losses against don’t look good on him. Chiesa is the bigger fighter and I believe he will be able to use his size to wear Pettis down and take him deep into this fight. I think Chiesa gets on top of Pettis on the ground and pounds him out for a TKO win to emerge as a top contender in the lightweight division, while for Pettis this may very well be his last fight in the UFC.

Prediction: Chiesa via TKO

UPDATE: Chiesa was involved in an incident where he was cut by broken glass after Conor McGregor allegedly broke a bus window. However, Chiesa still plans to fight. The cut, though, could come into play during the fight, so keep that in mind when making a wager. Remember, Chiesa was stopped by Joe Lauzon due to cuts a few years back.

Written by Adam Martin.

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