Anthony Pettis submits Charles Oliveira in featherweight debut
Anthony Pettis is a former lightweight champion, but his featherweight debut against Charles Oliveira on Saturday night may have been the most important fight of his UFC career.
Pettis moved down to 145 pounds after a trio of losses that saw him drop the title and then two more bouts against a pair of top contenders in the lightweight division.
The move to featherweight was a chance for Pettis to reignite his career, but it came against a legitimate top-10 threat in Oliveira.
Pettis wasted no time showing that he still maintained his speed and power in the new division after snapping off a pair of body kicks that buckled Oliveira and it appeared the former champion might get a finish in his featherweight debut.
To his credit, Oliveira survived and came back at Pettis with everything he had, including a very dangerous submission arsenal that saw him take his opponent’s back several times over the next two rounds.
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As good as Oliveira is on the ground, Pettis did his homework and consistently found a way to reverse position and stave off all the submission attempts against him.
Finally in the closing moments of the third round, Oliveira once again tried to drag the fight to the ground, but Pettis saw an opening and snatched the Brazilian’s neck in a guillotine choke as they fell to the mat. Pettis wrenched up on the hold and a second later Oliveira was tapping out to signify the end of the fight.
Following the win, Pettis acknowledged that he may have exhausted himself a bit while looking for the finish in round one, but he’s confident in making the adjustments necessary to come back and make a run at the title in his new home at 145 pounds.
"I’m here for one thing and one thing only," Pettis said. "And that’s the belt"