UFC 226 Preview & Prediction: Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis

One of the main card bouts for UFC 226 is a lightweight clash between The Ultimate Fighter: Live
winner Michael Chiesa and former UFC Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

Chiesa vs. Pettis Fight Preview

It is a big fight for both men, as the winner will assert themselves as a top ten fighter in one of the UFC’s most talent- filled divisions. There’s no shortage of competition for the winner of this duel, with Dana White having built a killer’s row of athletes on the UFC’s books ready to prove themselves to be the log-term successor to Conor McGregor.

Incidentally it was the outlandish Irish mouthpiece who put the brakes on these two athletes going at it at UFC 223 when he caused chaos by attacking a bus full of UFC fighters. Chiesa reported in as injured and left Pettis stranded for an opponent. Acting fast, Dana allegedly offered Pettis the hot-seat to meet Khabib for the vacant title, although negotiations with Showtime never materialised in time.

But fortunately for fans of MMA, the fight goes ahead at the second time of asking.

Michael Chiesa Form and Fight Record

Event

Date

Result

Opponent

Method

UFC Fight Night 112 June 25, 2017 Loss Kevin Lee Submission (rear-naked choke)
UFC on Fox: Teixeira vs. Evans April 16, 2016 Win Beneil Dariush Submission (rear-naked choke)
UFC Fight Night: Namajunas vs. VanZant December 10, 2015 Win Jim Miller Submission (rear-naked choke)
UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs. Lamas April 4, 2015 Win Mitch Clarke Decision (unanimous)
UFC Fight Night: Jacare vs. Mousasi September 5, 2014 Loss Joe Lauzon TKO (doctor stoppage)

Chiesa’s best work is done on the ground, where his long limbs and grappling experience make him one of the most prolific submission artists at 155 pounds. The 6’1 lightweight is also great at using his long reach to hit fighters from the outside and use those strikes to set up takedowns.

In order to beat Pettis, Chiesa needs to use those strikes in high volume as Pettis has been shown to succumb to opponents who pressure him on the feet. By constantly frustrating Pettis, Chiesa may be able to set up an easy takedown. While he will have to be weary of Pettis’s strong submission game, Chiesa should have the edge over Pettis when it comes to grappling.

Anthony Pettis Form and Fight Record

Event

Date

Res.

Opponent

Method

UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Pettis November 11, 2017 Loss Dustin Poirier TKO (rib injury)
UFC 213 July 8, 2017 Win Jim Miller Decision (unanimous)
UFC 206 December 10, 2016 Loss Max Holloway TKO (body kick and punches)
UFC on Fox: Maia vs. Condit August 27, 2016 Win Charles Oliveira Submission (guillotine choke)
UFC 197 April 23, 2016 Loss Edson Barboza Decision (unanimous)

Pettis needs to start fast and gain Chiesa’s respect if he is to walk away victorious. The former UFC and WEC Lightweight champion has elite striking skills when fighting from range, but has trouble fighting backwards and up close.

Because of this, Pettis needs to hit Chiesa early in an effort to keep him at bay, where Pettis can use his diverse array of punches and kicks to wear Chiesa down and finish the fight.

Chiesa vs. Pettis Prediction

Flicking through both fighters’ resumes it’s easier to draw comparisons of their patchy form than of any formidable runs in the lightweight division. Chiesa and Pettis have taken their fair share of beatings in the Octagon at the hands of the more rounded 155 lbs crop.

Should these guys have wizened up to their flaws then we’re in for a well-matched 15-minute marathon but if either guy steams in too early and gasses out, it could be over sooner than we think.

Both fighters are proven finishers, but we think this one will be a close fight that will go the judges’ scorecards. Chiesa via decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

 

This is a preliminary bout for UFC 226, a card headlined by Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier who will fight for the heavyweight title. You can read more on this event in our regular UFC previews

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