LAS VEGAS -- Never doubt what Anthony Pettis is capable of doing. And never count Jim Miller out of a fight.
Add those two elements together and you have the makings of a hell of a fight. Pettis showed his legendary flash and Miller his equally legendary toughness in their UFC 213 lightweight bout, before Pettis took a unanimous decision. The judges’ scores at T-Mobile Arena were 30-27 across the board in a score which doesn’t reflect the caliber of the battle.
Pettis, making his return to 155 pounds after two fights at featherweight, had an explosive opening round. He peppered the New Jersey veteran with ruthless body kicks, well-time jabs and straight punches, knees, and even connected on a spinning back elbow for good measure.
But Miller, competing in his 27th UFC fight, is still in the game for a reason, and he showed why in the second round. Even with a nasty cut over his left eye painting the canvas red, the submission ace worked for finishes on the ground throughout the round. While he didn’t come close to finishing the fight, it changed the bout’s complexion.
The third was simply a matter of attrition, with both fighters tired and carefully picking their spots. Pettis went for a cartwheel kick late and Miller tried the same.
“No weight cut, I’m 155,” said Pettis. “I was champ in this division, once in the UFC, once in the WEC. I’m going to have fun.”
Pettis improved to 20-6 and has won two of his past three fights. Miller (28-10, 1 NC) has dropped two straight.