Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis co-headlines UFC 229 this October 6, 2018 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
David: Not your boilerplate rat race.
Phil: Appealing vs Ugly, the action of the Tonys
Record: Tony Ferguson 23-3 | Anthony Pettis 21-7
Odds: Tony Ferguson -335 | Anthony Pettis 305
David: Bristles hundred google docs later, we assuredly get to book some of the adverbs and adjectives we’ve acclimated on Fergy (he seems like the affectionate of guy who would be adequate with this nickname, right?). Times accept been boxy on Tony — abnormally for a fighter on a 10 action acceptable streak. He won the UFC acting failing championship alone to accept it bare away; afterwards beneath than a year no less. But actuality he is again, aggravating to action for the agreeable chairs of Superfluous Failing Belts. Adjoin a fighter who has added or beneath been abominable over the aftermost several years but has the aptitude and canal to accomplish this must-see-cage-tv.
Phil: Poor Tony Ferguson. He managed to accomplish his way to the top through a adapted aggregate of blame ass and actuality abundantly weird, and afresh basically tripped off the summit. In the interim, we’ve had Khabib acceptable the belt against, um, Al Iaquinta, and the Dagestani is now in the action of accession his McGregor payday. Meanwhile, Ferguson is aback from a cogent abrasion in a complete aeroemism time anatomy (a year? Try bristles months), and alone the after-effects on Saturday will announce if advancing aback that bound was impressive, or aloof stupid. But that’s Ferguson: a active attestation to the adeptness of will and weirdness. Sort of like Diego Sanchez, but actually acceptable (don’t @ me). Unsurprisingly, he’s apparent up to 229 bent to abduct the appearance in his own consummate way
David: Pettis apparently doesn’t deserve to be “here”, but aback aback has “deserve” had annihilation to do with it? The accuracy is, Pettis is one of the few fighters who has becoming the account of the doubt. He’s a above champ, and cursory Wheaties icon, which makes him the UFC’s cagefighting adaptation of LFO if LFO had added than aloof Summer Girls. For LFO fans, that’s not ball talking. Pettis is a complete brilliant in a cosmos area angry is banned in the cage. But for all of this asinine talk, I still rank him appealing high, and unironically aerial on my account of best watchable fighters. The best allotment is that I anticipate this is both the best, and affliction antagonism for him. Which agency that aback Khabib, Ferguson, and Pettis are all healthy, this action will end like Bobby Southworth vs. James Irvin: a NC from both fighters falling from the cage.
Phil: The air of attitude about Anthony Pettis should accept been destroyed. Rafael Dos Anjos abused him for bristles rounds, Max Holloway smoked him after abundant issue, and Edson Barboza (himself now article of a attendant to the elite) bedeviled him at his own game. Yet still, whenever he pulls article off bodies attending about allurement themselves: is he back? Has he assuredly put it all aback calm into his championship form? It’s all a bit illusory, really: best of the fighters who exhausted him could calmly booty out any adaptation of Showtime to anytime footfall in the cage, but it’s notable how calmly he can reignite the old magic. His moments of accuracy are so animated that it’s adamantine not to draw a ablaze band amid them and conceivably the coolest god moment in MMA. Afterwards a lot of injuries, and a lot of wear, and a fair few losses to aristocratic talent, though, this feels like a antagonism that he has to win to be apparent as championship adeptness material.
David: Added than usual, aback the agenda is ample with failing contenders. That agency a bad achievement from both men could beating them the champ of Gray Maynard and Nik Lentz. Ho, ho. I candidly didn’t apperceive Gray was still fighting.
Phil: Weirdly enough, Ugly Tony is actually three years beforehand than his admirable counterpart, and he appears to be accomplishing his t up to Pettis aback it comes to cutting up injuries. Failing is a alarming assay to action to the top of: both saleability and complete angry adeptness are at an complete premium. The champ of this action has a baby adventitious of overtaking the Diaz-Poirier champ for a attempt at the belt able (particularly, unfortunately, if it’s Poirier), but they’re activity to accept to be appealing spectacular. The also-ran faces the unenviable befalling of angry their way aback up through guys like Kevin Lee.
David: Ferguson is a case abstraction in how ADHD angry can be acutely effective. He’s the adaptation of Pettis Pettis would be if Pettis were actually reptile-brained. His transitions are sometimes arbitrary. His arresting doesn’t consistently accept a able rhythm. And his grappling is overactive. Inexplicably, this sometimes works; see his rolling anklepick from center beyond the octagon adjoin Edson Barboza for proof. For all the allocution about disruption in MMA, Ferguson is a afterpiece approximation to whatever this postmodern bloviating in MMA assay attempts to explain. His proficiencies assignment on an abstruse level: banishment reactions from opponents out of arduous force of will. This asperous access helps explain why he gets actually blitzed at times. Lando Vannata landed complete heaters on him; Ferguson was actually rolling beyond the cage aloof to break alive. Afresh Ferguson began afraid him with a jab. A clutter later, and Vannata was accepting D’Arced. Ferguson has good, axiological abilities though. His Cheater Arms acquiesce him to abuse opponents with a annealed jab, and he finds quick openings after abundant adjournment (i.e. the Ramsey Nijem KO). I don’t accede Ferguson a “smart” fighter in the acceptable sense. On the feet, he’s wild, and off-kilter, but not in the applesauce faculty of the word. He takes risks. However, I do feel like he’s an able “ring general”, if you will. He knows how to do added than transition, but caps off anniversary alteration with opportunistic, advancing breach that keeps the action in a motion that allowances him. He’s additionally aloof boxy as hell. That consistently helps.
Phil: We’re activity to allocution about conceivably the fastest amateur in MMA afterwards on, aback we altercate McGregor, but afore afresh it’s time to altercate conceivably the slowest. Tony Ferguson is a able-bodied bother of awe-inspiring aggression, but his prioritization of breach over aegis and his addiction to try and apprehend his opponents by throwing crazy nonsense at them has meant that he fights out of a aperture in about every bender he has. Once he’s gotten that aboriginal annular out of the way, however, Ferguson is an complete monster. He maximizes his ambit with a long, adamantine jab, blame abroad the opponent’s abject aback they footfall central and abstraction them up with elbows. He’s got a grappling d congenital off… alarm rolls and breeze downs? But it works. Aback aback he was accepting captivated bottomward by Danny Castillo it was analytical to see him aloof consistently advance from his aback rather than alive his way aback to his feet, but he’s acutely ample out how to accomplish his grappling d assignment in a broader context. I accede with the animadversion on his arena generalship, too: he’s consistently addled me as a decidedly anxious fighter, in his own actually nutso way. The pieces of his d don’t stick calm in the means that you expect, but he about consistently employs them in an adapted way for the fighter in advanced of him: putting RDA on the end of his reach, hasty bottomward Barboza, and angry Tibau from the outside.
David: A decade later, and Pettis is still functionally the aforementioned fighter. He’s a methodical, yet blatant striker with accomplished jiu jitsu, but annihilation in between. I’ve consistently accepted Pettis’ game. It’s not aloof the cartwheel bliss and the creativity, but I acknowledge his patient, abstruse approach. All that said, aggregate he does able-bodied he charge do at his own pace. So as we’ve said, observed, and argued time and time again; get in his face, and his d shrinks. It wasn’t aloof Rafael dos Anjos who auspiciously bullrushed the ability out of him; Gilbert Melendez was accomplishing it too — at atomic for a round. Hell, you could accomplish the case Jeremy Stephens did it afore that (lazily, IMO: that action was archetypal ‘lay and pray’). The point, as we’re won’t to accomplish — Pettis still hasn’t abstruse how to actualize amplitude for himself. His breach alone anytime penetrates, never absolutely punishes. His grappling reacts well, but doesn’t proactively engage. He’s not an apathetic fighter, but apathy is created out of his abridgement of urgency. Pettis is abundant in a vacuum, but the octagon is no vacuum; it’s ninja turtles all the way down.
Phil: Writing about assertive fighters can generally be a little repetitive, but it’s attenuate to appointment one who has such an acumen of aberration about them which is so actually false. Nurmagomedov was dismissive of Pettis early, and he angry out to be atrociously clear-sighted (“You remember, I told you he’s no accurate champion. I told you before, Rafael dos Anjos can exhausted him, I can exhausted him, and a lot of fighters can exhausted him.”). In truth, there are aloof too abounding flaws in Pettis’ d for him. He has no breach in the clinch, his able is poor, he doesn’t move his head, and he’s a decent-not-great-wrestler. One or two of these flaws could be affected with his absurd courage and talent, but all of them calm beggarly that it’s aloof too accessible for opponents to accumulate gameplans adjoin him. On the additional side, he charcoal a barbaric acquiescence threat, and he’s apparently still the best absolutely alarming article in MMA (aside from conceivably Luke Rockhold, or Tenshin Nasukawa, who apparently doesn’t count). One underrated aspect of his d is that he’s additionally a adequately powerful, beeline puncher. He’s not abundant at accepting out of the way of acknowledgment fire, but his one-two is apple-pie and dangerous.
David: I don’t anticipate Pettis has anytime exhausted anyone with a contour like Ferguson. The one affair I’ll Pettis acclaim for in this fight, is that Pettis can outpoint Ferguson in the moments Ferguson will engage. Ferguson is consistently accessible for advance shots, counters, overhands, kicks, etc. Ferguson doesn’t is not a accelerated blaze aggregate striker. His syncs his breach added than chains it. As such, I anticipate Pettis can acquisition allowance for abundant acceptable strikes to accomplish the bender added aggressive than it is on paper. Aforementioned affair with the ground; Ferguson has accomplished grappling, but Pettis has never been submitted, and I could see him communicable Tony during a acrimonious arena exchange. This cursory exchanges aren’t abundant to bet on Pettis, but over time, I anticipate they could accomplish the aberration in a best case scenario.
Phil: We mentioned beforehand that Ferguson is a solid arena general, and that’s one of the capital elements he needs for this fight. In this case, Pettis’ best alternation is Edson Barboza, a man who exhausted him adequately calmly at his own game. Aback Ferguson fought Barboza, he aloof rushed him down. Barboza landed his shots, but he was never able to brace and kick, and so won the aboriginal about absolutely off his boxing. Ferguson is, to reiterate, a abhorrent arresting fighter in the aboriginal frame, which spells absolutely a lot of accident adjoin a man who charcoal one of the best baleful finishing threats around, but if Ferguson aloof plunges advanced into battle ambit afresh and again, he ability airing assimilate Pettis’ punches, but he won’t be accepting kicked in the head.
David: Well, Pettis fabricated the weight so there goes that! Amirite??
Phil: Pettis looked aloof awful, didn’t he? The capital X-factor has to be whatever abominable injuries they’ve both got that they’re toughing through to accomplish it assimilate this agenda and potentially get a last-minute alarm up for the McGregor payday.
David: I can never aces Pettis adjoin aristocratic competition. I aloof can’t. You absolutely did a abundant job — British Ed Norton — of succinctly spelling it out; he’s not aloof a awry fighter, but possesses a assemblage of flaws. No bulk of Matrix-like movements in the cage will anytime awning for a complete sum of inadequacies. Ferguson is the opposite. Even his flaws — like his defense, or lackthereof — are masked by his courage and durability. Tony Ferguson by D’Arce, annular 2.
Phil: Like you said, this is a “best and worst” antagonism for Pettis. On the one hand, he’s up adjoin one of the best defensively accessible aristocratic fighters he’s activity to get a attempt at. If he’s activity to get a phenomenon cage-leap tornado bang KO to actuate himself aback into appellation contention, it’s activity to be adjoin Tony Ferguson, and it’s activity to be in the aboriginal round. Once that aboriginal annular is over, though? This action starts activity decline fast. He has aloof not apparent himself to be able of ambidextrous with Ferguson’s clinch, or his pressure, or his boxing, or his pace. Pettis is still crazy tough, but Ferguson is a hell of a finisher. Tony Ferguson by submission, annular 3.
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