It’s been a long road to true flyweight title contention for Jussier Formiga. But finally, his name must be said among the short list of contenders at 125 pounds.
The Brazilian standout, who twice during his six-year UFC stint had stretches of two losses in three fights, defeated Sergio Pettis in the featured FS 1 prelim bout on Saturday night at UFC 229. The judges’ scores at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas were 30-26 and a pair of 29-28s for a unanimous decision.
With the victory, Formiga improved to 22-5 and has won three in a row and four of his past five.
The crowd in Las Vegas didn’t enjoy the bout, but Formiga wasn’t about to apologize for his performance.
“It doesn’t bother me, you have to do what you have to do to get a win and go to the next step,” said Formiga through an interpreter.
The opening round was largely a feeling-out affair. But Formiga was the more active of the two with his striking, and he scored a takedown late in the round to give the judges a good final impression.
The second round was similar to the first. This time, Pettis sprawled Formiga’s first takedown attempt, and at first appeared to parry his second attempt, but this time, Formiga stuck with it and scored a trip on the second effort.
It seemed plain Pettis needed to get a finish in the third round, but Formiga never gave him a chance. Formiga managed to get Pettis’ back standing after a scramble, and then spent the rest of the round as a human backpack, never coming close to finishing the fight but never letting Pettis shake him, either.
Pettis dropped to 17-4, 8-4 in the UFC, and he’s dropped two out of his past three fights.