The former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis has broken down exactly how his UFC 229 showdown against Tony Ferguson was hindered by his injured hand.
The UFC 229 co-main event would almost certainly have stolen the show on any night that didn’t feature a gargantuan matchup like the lightweight title-clash that sat above it but even still, the fans well and truly got their money’s worth with what amounted to a visceral display from both Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis.
Ferguson was the guy in-form heading into that matchup and was expected to deal with Showtime with relative ease and for a while, things were going to plan.
Against all odds, however, Pettis was able to crack El Cucuy hard in the second round – knocking him down with a sharp right hand. A chaotic scramble then followed as the underdog tried to catch his elusive opponent as he spun and rolled out of danger before tying up a leg and escaping any more significant danger.
Speaking during a recent exclusive with BJPenn.com, Pettis explained how the moment he caught Ferguson hard in the second-round would have led to a finishing sequence – only for the fact that he broke his hand whilst striking the chin of El Cucuy.
“That fight was so close. If I hadn’t of broken my hand I would have finished that fight. If you watch the fight again, the second overhand right I turned it over like a dummy and it hit that one knuckle.
“I got him on the ground and he did a little front roll and then I couldn’t use my right hand. I was holding it against his shoulder and tried to throw it once and I’m like ‘oh this feels uncomfortable.’ That is why he got up is because I had no grip.
“I don’t know. I know were my skill-set is at. That fight I got five weeks notice. They called me five weeks out and said ‘hey you want to fight Ferguson.’ I’m like ‘hell yeah.’ Like I’m not afraid to fight anyone in that division. I feel like I gave the fans what they wanted but I couldn’t catch the break I needed. I was right there and my hand breaks.”
Either way, the reinvigorated Pettis will test the waters at welterweight next, facing the two-time former title-challenger Stephen Thompson in night’s main-event.
Many have voiced their confusion at the bout and what little it does for both guys at this point in their respective careers but with it now signed and sealed for March 23, we may as well look at it for what it is – a matchup between two of the very best strikers in the game and a guaranteed barn-burner on paper.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena