Patricio Pitbull entered Bellator 297 on Friday night looking to make history as the first man to win world titles in three weight classes for a major mixed martial arts promotion. Bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis had other plans, however, and completed his mission to avoid becoming a footnote in the record books with a technical and complete performance to retain his title by unanimous decision.
Pettis was fantastic from early in the fight, firing off strikes with speed and confidence. Pettis also targeted Pitbull's entire body, landing blistering leg kicks, punching and kicking to the body and tagging Pitbull with shots to the head from both legs and arms.
Pitbull, currently on his third reign as Bellator featherweight champion and a former lightweight champion, never seemed to get going. He would often walk forward and feint and posture but not let his hands go. Pettis filled those spaces left by Pitbull by letting go with quick combinations and moving back out of range.
As the striking game wasn't working out for Pitbull, he occasionally attempted to use takedowns to turn the bout into a grappling contest. Pettis was up to the task of fighting off the takedowns, however, and only found himself stuck to the mat once in the fight, and that came with just 30 seconds left in Round 3.
After five rounds of action, the judges were in agreement, with two cards reading 50-45 and one 49-46, all for Pettis, who retained his title and made a claim that he was going to be Bellator's next big thing.
"Bellator, I'm taking out all your poster boys," Pettis said after the fight. "I think it's time I get some respect. ... I'm your next star. 100%."
After his interview, Pettis had a face-off with Patchy Mix. Mix will be the next man up to challenge Pettis as he won the interim bantamweight title by winning the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix earlier in the year. After Pettis' showing against the greatest Bellator fighter of all time on Friday night, fans have plenty to get excited about in Pettis vs. Mix.