Pettis, the younger brother of UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, appeared well on his way to a decision victory at UFC on FOX 10 on Saturday night in Chicago. But Caceres took advantage of an opening and stunned Pettis with a rear-naked choke victory with 21 seconds left in the fight.
"I felt it right away," said Caceres (10-5, 1 NC). "It was in deep, I knew I had to finish him, I knew I had about 30 seconds to do it, I didn't want to go to the judges."
After a cautious couple minutes to start the fight, Pettis started finding his range by the opening round's midpoint. An impressive mix of combos and kicks gave Pettis the nod in the round.
Just as one began mentally comparing the younger Pettis to his brother, though, Caceres dropped Pettis early in round two. Pettis managed to hang on and regain his bearings, but the second was Caceres' round.
Pettis returned to his first-round form in round three and appeared to have the fight in hand until he made an ill-advised attempt at a late takedown. The ensuing scramble gave "Bruce Leeroy" his opening to steal the fight, and Caceres took advantage.
"I knew I hurt him but I didn't want to get antsy because he's dangerous on the ground," Caceres said. "He's a talented guy, he'll have a bright future."
Caceres is now 4-0 with a no-contest since he went to bantamweight. Pettis' first career loss dropped him to 10-1.