The MMA world was buzzed big time by what Anthony Pettis did at UFC Nashville, and clearly Dana White is a member of that camp.
Pettis moved up to face longtime welterweight contender, Stephen Thompson in the card’s headliner. Pettis ate plenty of jabs from “Wonderboy” during the opening rounds of the fight and his face was the worse for wear for it. But, “Showtime” continued to press forward and punished Thompson’s legs with kicks. The consensus seems to be that Thompson was about to go up two rounds, but right before the second frame ended, Pettis KO’d the vaunted striker with a Superman punch.
Well, during the post-fight show, here’s some of what White had to say about Pettis and what he believes was the game plan the Roufusport team implemented (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“Pettis was a +385 underdog, huge underdog. I loved his gameplan from the beginning,” White said. “I’m assuming — I don’t know this — (coach) Duke Roufus studied ‘Wonderboy’ and the way that he jumps with his karate movement, it’s hard to block leg kicks, so he started busting up the legs early, both legs, on the outside, on the inside, to try to slow him down so he could punch with him.
“Think about this,” White continued, “Anthony Pettis, who was 155 and moved up to 170, was able to do what (Tyron) Woodley couldn’t do twice. I mean, that’s pretty impressive. And I’m not ragging on Tyron, which is going to be the thing that comes out of this, but what Pettis did tonight is unbelievable against a bigger [opponent]. Look at the size difference with these two tonight.”
Yup. It was quite the win for Pettis. In terms of the leg kicks, it’s hard to say whether Thompson would have been in trouble on account of the kicks, if the fight had moved on into the fourth and fifth rounds. But, you could definitely see the dividends of the technique on Thompson’s legs.
Woodley faced Thompson in 2016 and 2017, and battled the contender to a majority draw, before winning the rematch via decision.
All this aside, there’s no question that Pettis is inline for another big, big fight on account of the win. The former lightweight champ was coming off a TKO defeat (via corner stoppage) to Tony Ferguson in October.