Anthony Pettis vs. Carlos Diego Ferriera
By Jack Maher
The main card of UFC 246 features a bout between two lightweights who’ve had rather contrasting career paths, as former UFC champion Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis takes on Carlos Diego Ferriera.
Despite his recent inconsistencies, it’s hard to fully write-off Pettis, simply because of his ability to pull a result out of the bag in situations other fighters can’t.
Pettis adds to his legendary highlight reel with every win, but those wins have been harder to come by in recent years for the Milwaukee fighter. Pettis has formed an undesirable pattern of winning one then losing one across his last eight fights, going 4-4, so if this is anything to go by then he’s due a win this week, although that’s not really much to go off. If Pettis can’t get his hand raised against Ferreira, then the #11 ranked lightweight may find himself out of the rankings all together.
Spending the majority of his career relatively unnoticed, Ferreira now gets his chance to give himself a solid foothold in the UFC’s most competitive division.
On a five-fight winning streak, the Brazilian picked up his most recent win on the main card of UFC 242, picking up a dominant win over Mairbek Taisumov, snapping the Russian’s six fight win streak in the process.
Ferriera has managed to look good against opposition it’s generally hard to look good against, with his two recent wins against Russian grapplers Rustam Khabilov and Taisumov likely being the main reason for him being given this big opportunity. A UFC fighter since June 2014, Ferriera is approaching four years unbeaten, and at the age of 34, finally gets his chance to break in to the top 15.
While Pettis is no longer the unsolvable puzzle he was once seen as, it still takes a certain calibre of fighter fighting a certain style to beat the Duke Roufus-trained lightweight, who typically struggles against fighters who can fight at and maintain a high pressure. If Ferreira fights the same as he did in the second and third rounds in his last fight, constantly bombarding his opponent with heavy strikes, not giving them the time to settle, then he might leave the octagon with the biggest win of his career, however, whether or not Ferreira can maintain that style against a step up in competition remains to be seen.
The ultra-competitive nature of the 155lb division means that this is somewhat of a sink or swim fight for both men. While a loss for Pettis may not necessarily be the end of the road, it will see him start the new year on a losing streak and potentially unranked in any division, a far cry from where he stood at the peak of his powers.
For Ferreira, it’s taken the UFC brass long enough to give him a big opportunity, you’ve got to question that if he is unsuccessful on the 18th, will he be handed another opportunity like this one given his age and lack popularity in the wider MMA audience?