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'Biggest change' for Anthony Pettis will be not fighting on same card as his brother anymore

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Anthony Pettis has watched his loss to Rafael dos Anjos five times. He still is not completely sure what went wrong, only that he felt mentally out of it from the moment he landed in Dallas.

One thing Pettis does know? He never wants to fight on the same card as his brother Sergio again. At UFC 185 on March 15, Sergio was knocked out by Ryan Benoit on the prelims. Later on, Pettis lost his UFC lightweight title by unanimous decision to dos Anjos, who completely dominated the bout.

"The biggest thing I think I'm gonna change is me and my little bro fighting on the same card," Pettis told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. "The first time it went amazing, the second time not so well. He got knocked out, I had to watch that and get up mentally for my fight. Not making excuses or nothing, but them little things could have triggered my performance."

Pettis (18-3) is not sure if it affected him emotionally or not. But it could have contributed to the overall mood around his team and coaches like Duke Roufus and Ben Askren.

"He gets knocked out and then you gotta reset the battery, reset everything and try to get back up for the next fight," Pettis said. "I think it was just a little bit too much for everybody emotionally to go through. Next time if I'm fighting in a big fight like that, it has to be all about me."

Pettis, 28, won the belt from Benson Henderson in August 2013 and defended it back in December against Gilbert Melendez. His last previous loss was to Clay Guida in 2011, but, as Pettis noted, dos Anjos was the first person to really rough him up.

Pettis left the fight with a broken orbital bone and needed seven stitches over his right eye. He still is not cleared to train with contact and he has now idea when he'll be able to come back and fight.

"He caught me with that big left," Pettis said. "The first punch he hit me with, I couldn't see. I had triple vision. It was a great punch. He got me right in the eyeball.

"There were a lot of things that factored into that performance. I mean, having one eye doesn't stop the fact that I didn't stop any of his takedowns. It didn't stop the fact of me taking the wrong angles."

Pettis said that he felt like he was only at 20 or 30 percent of himself. So, he takes some solace in the fact that dos Anjos didn't beat him at the top of his game.

"Yeah, I'm definitely upset with myself," Pettis said. "I'm definitely down about losing my belt, but that wasn't the best Anthony Pettis. He didn't go out there and demolish my best performance. Then [I'd be] like yeah I need to figure out why I suck at what I do. I just didn't put it together. It just wasn't my night."

As far as why, though, Pettis is still searching for answers.

"I had a really crappy performance," he said. "I don't know what happened. My timing was off. I didn't have any strength out there. I felt weak. And it was just like something went wrong, so I gotta figure it out and we gotta fix it. I never felt that weak in a fight and it was the wrong night to feel like that."

Maybe it really did have something to do with Sergio being knocked out earlier in the night and Pettis watching it on TV in the locker room. But Pettis doesn't necessarily point to that either.

"I don't think it really messed me up mentally," he said. "I mean, it sucks to see him lose like that, to get knocked out. He had a great first round. Second round, he just got caught. It happens. Exchanging hooks, I've seen it a million times in combat sports."

Things didn't get much better for Team Pettis afterward.

"The whole entire thing was a blur," Pettis said. "Even in between rounds, it was a blur. I didn't take the advice duke was giving me. Ben was saying some good things, I wasn't listening to Ben. It was one of them nights."

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