Bellator 272: Mohegan Sun Arena, Connecticut:

Sometimes in sports a person or team can literally pull victory out of the teeth of defeat. And after his first title defense, Sergio Pettis still on top. Now on a five-fight win streak (the last four in Bellator); the knock out of Kyoji Horiguchi ends a streak of back-to-back unanimous decisions. As the younger Pettis brother continues to forge his own career path.

There’s no denying the fact that for three-rounds plus three-minutes and 21-seconds he was being dominated. Both on the ground, and on the feet, thanks to the grinding skills, movement, and shot selection of Horiguchi. Then Pettis missed with a head kick, and sent the Uncasville crowd into a frenzy at the 3:24 mark of Round 4:

as well as the MMA world:

After the vicious crumbling of the Japanese star, a stretcher had to be brought into the cage to take him out. The 31-year old was trying to regain the belt he had to give up, (after regaining the RIZIN strap, he also had to give up). Pettis post fight said:

“I needed to face some adversity, and tonight Horiguchi gave me all of that. Man, it was hard trying to time his rhythm, try to get his movement down, but man, I just had to open up. My coaches always tell me, ‘If you open up you’re one of the best in the world’ and that’s what I’m pushing for. I’m only 28 years old, and this fight showed me that I have a lot more to work on”.

Pettis Still On Top, But Is Going From The Frying Pan Into The Oven

Once the hunter becomes the hunted, it shows what he is truly made of. And with “The Phenom’s” first title we will now see just how good he can be and is. Bellator, before the fight; announced that next year they are doing a Bantamweight Grand Prix. It’s loaded with the champion having to defend his title non-stop. The others in the tournament are the Top-6, plus Horiguchi.

However, with the way the fight ended, he may not stay in the GP. In which case, the eighth slot might go to Josh Hill who won impressively earlier in the night. Then Scott Coker said he’s first on the list to be backup. Although that only plays out as of now if Horiguchi’s medicals say he must sit; in combination with him needing to defend his RIZIN title.

But as of this minute, the champion is still not getting respect. To an extent. He’s sitting as third choice to come out of it with the strap and the million dollars. He’s ahead of James Gallagher (who’s looking more and more like Conor McGregor everyday), the man he beat for the title, Juan Archuleta, Leandro Higo, Patrick Mix, and Raufeon Stots, who beat Magomed Magomedov. And the Russian is the second choice of the tourney, behind only Horiguchi.

Those odds aren’t outlandish. As a matter of fact, they’re pretty spot on. However, if there’s a “darkhorse” in the event, it’s Pettis’ teammate at RoufusSport; Stots. When he just lets the fight come to him, he has the well rounded style to win it all.

So sure, for tonight Pettis gets to celebrate, but next week will start a year long non-stop push in training. Congrats champ, now face a hungry pack of wolves. Such is life for those that sit on the throne.

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Cyclone, considers himself the Chris "MadDog" Russo of combat sports. He got the nickname in 1984 after riding the roller coaster multiple times, and then made it his professional name. He's been officially covering combat sports since January 2017 when Chael Sonnen fought Tito Ortiz. Cyclone's been lucky enough to do some regional mma play-by-play. Loving to entertain since childhood, he continues to round out his schedule as a comedian, actor, producer, and show host. Away from the "bright lights", he enjoys cooking, fishing, and gambling. A lover of animals Cyclone hopes to one day return to working at an animal shelter.

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