MMA Record: 13-3
UFC Record: 7-3
Notable Wins: Al Iaquinta, Francisco Trinaldo, Beneil Dariush
Notable Losses: Kevin Lee, Jorge Masvidal
Last Fight: Submission loss to Kevin Lee
Fighter Profile: A former winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Chiesa has been a very solid fighter in the UFC lightweight division, but one who is still looking to take that next big step in his career. After three-straight wins, including back-to-back submissions over Beneil Dariush and Jim Miller, Chiesa lost via controversial submission to Kevin Lee in his last fight. But anyone who saw that bout knows referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in too early, and who knows how the fight would have played out had it continued. Chiesa is an excellent grappler who has solid wrestling skills, slick submissions, and he has some sneaky-good striking as well. Chiesa is looking to jump into contender status and a win over a big name like Pettis would be huge for him going forward. He should be fired up for this one after the dolly incident at UFC 223, and win would shoot Chiesa into title contention.
MMA Record: 21-7
UFC Record: 7-6
Notable Wins: Benson Henderson, Gilbert Melendez, Donald Cerrone, Jeremy Stephens
Notable Losses: Dustin Poirier, Eddie Alvarez, Rafael dos Anjos, Max Holloway
Last Fight: TKO loss to Dustin Poirier
Fighter Profile: The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, Pettis was once one of the most exciting, dynamic fighters in the sport. After all, who could forget his “Showtime Kick” on Benson Henderson back in the WEC? Or his highlight-reel knockouts over Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon in the UFC? Unfortunately for Pettis, those days are long in the past, as the former champ has not been looking good as of late. He’s lost five of his last seven fights including two TKO losses in his last three outings, with a disappointing stoppage loss to Dustin Poirier in his last fight. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Pettis look good in the striking department and even his ground game hasn’t been as effective as of late. To be fair to Pettis, he’s mostly only fought elite fighters, but still, he’s looked really bad, and at this point it’s hard not to consider him an autofade, especially against a talented opponent like Chiesa who is younger and hungrier than Pettis is at this point of his career.
Fight Breakdown: The Conor McGregor bus incident cancelled this fight back in April but I’m glad the UFC decided to re-book it as it’s a solid fight in the lightweight division. That being said, I like Chiesa hre. I just feel like Pettis is pretty much done as a top-level lightweight at this point, while I believe Chiesa still has the potential to be a contender at 155lbs. I’m really concered with Pettis’ decline as of late and his poor durability in recent outings. I just don’t think he will be able to survive a full 15 minutes with Chiesa in this one. I feel like Chiesa will be able to outwork Pettis and take home a decision.
Prediction: Chiesa via decision