UFC 225 Adds Pivotal Flyweight Matchup Between Sergio Pettis and Joseph Benavidez
The UFC returns to Chicago on June 9, for UFC 225. The Chicago Tribune recently reported that a pivotal fight between top-ranked flyweights is scheduled for the event. Joseph “Joe Jitsu” Benavidez (25-4 MMA, 12-2 UFC) will square off with fifth-ranked Sergio “S.P.” Pettis (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC). This matchup, in addition to being highly compelling alone, may have massive implications for the flyweight division. Along with Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, the winner of this matchup should be in line for a shot at divisional kingpin Demetrious Johnson.
— Nolan King (@mma_kings) February 26, 2018
Benavidez, a member of the prolific Team Alpha Male, has already fought Demetrious Johnson twice for UFC gold. The first matchup, a narrow split decision win for Johnson, was contested for the UFC’s inaugural flyweight title. Benavidez put together a three-fight winning streak to earn a second shot against “Mighty Mouse”, but ultimately fell to the champion by way of first-round knockout.
Since that second defeat to Johnson, Benavidez has gone undefeated. He will enter the bout with Pettis on the strength of a six-fight winning streak where he defeated a who’s who of the flyweight division, including the aforementioned Cejudo. The longtime veteran has only lost to pound-for-pound legends Dominick Cruz and Johnson himself, evidencing his world-class status. With a win, Benavidez should secure a third shot at the title as the undisputed number one contender.
Sergio Pettis, meanwhile, has burst onto the scene of late as a young, promising talent. The brother of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, “S.P.” had put together a four-fight winning streak before meeting second-ranked Henry Cejudo. Cejudo utilized his gold medal-winning wrestling to stifle Pettis en route to a unanimous decision victory over the Roufusport product.
With a win, Pettis could move closer to title contention, but a loss to Cejudo may be an obstacle for him. It’s likely that should Benavidez win, the UFC grants him the elusive third shot at the belt. For Pettis, another fight would probably take place before he faces Johnson. Regardless, this matchup should have fans excited for high level, high stakes MMA.