Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC 197: “Jones vs. ST Preux” by Daniel Tom

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Sergio Pettis (12-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 22 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 69.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Chris Cariaso (10-3-15)
  • Camp: Roufusport (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   RFA Flyweight Title
+   Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   3 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   3 First round finishes
+   Solid footwork
^   Switches stances well
+   Accurate jab-cross
^   Excellent pulls & returns
+   Dangerous right head kicks
^   Strikes well off the break
–    Hurt/dropped in 3 of last 5 fights
+   Active guard game
^   Good wrest controls
–    Lacks getup/scramble urgency
+/-Propensity to fight from back


Chris Kelades (9-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 35 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 68″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Chris Beal (8-23-15)
  • Camp: Fit Plus/American Top Team (Canada/Florida)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   2 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   4 second round finishes
+   Fight Camps at ATT
+   Aggressive pace & pressure
^   Consistent cardio & conditioning
+   Improved striking
+   Relentless takedown entries
+   Intelligent scrambler
^   Solid transition game
+   Active from bottom
^   Crafty guard game
–    Takedown susceptibility
–    Suspect strike retraction
^   Counter availabilities
+   Durability & heart


Serving as the preliminary headliner on FOX Sports 1, Sergio Pettis meets Chris Kelades in an exciting flyweight affair. Carrying a last name that is synonymous with his older brother, Sergio Pettis is steadily carving a path of his own. Dealing with developmental trials that most young fighters experience, Sergio’s potential & growth remain a strong narrative in this budding fighters career. With another tough test ahead of Pettis, he will need to show a strong and complete game as he collides with Chris Kelades.

A tough Canadian with a solid grappling base, Chris Kelades has seemingly made a career resurgence when most lighter-weight fighters start to demonstrate declines. Possessing a non-stop pace and durability to boot, the scrappy Kelades has a style that seems to stifle superior fighters and a heart that earns him fans as well as late rounds. With an unwritten moniker of no easy fights in the UFC, Kelades will now be tasked with his fourth straight prospect that is 10-years his junior.

Starting off on the feet, I expect Pettis to have the speed & technique advantage. Although Kelades has shown to make strides in his striking since moving shop to American Top Team, his aggression and sometimes suspect strike retraction leaves the Canadian open for counters. Against an accurate counter striker like Pettis, Chris will have to be mindful whenever entering space.

I believe the key factor in this fight will be each fighters approach to distance management. As seen in Sergio’s previous fights, the young phenom does exceptionally well when allowed the space and comfort to operate. Demonstrating improved applications of stance-switching footwork, Pettis particularly shines in his precision on pulling & returning.

What was surprising upon reviewing Sergio’s UFC career, was that the majority of his opposition spent most of their rounds allowing the fight to take place where Pettis is most comfortable. Both grappling & striking based fighters showed success in ground exchanges with Sergio but failed to continue to push the fight into those terms. That said, Pettis will now face one of the most relentless grapplers in the division.

Although he is surprisingly unsuccessful in his on-paper takedown attempts, the never-say-die attitude of Kelades seemingly & consistently finds a way to get fights to the floor. Even when experiencing said failed shots, Chris does an intelligent job of parlaying these engagements into his favor by immediately working for reversals and sweeps(Nogueira most notably used this method during his run in Pride, where he would use failed double-legs to dive into half-guard and get going from there).

Although I give Kelades an edge in ground fighting, Sergio is no slouch on the floor. Utilizing fantastic leg dexterity, Pettis displays an active and attacking guard. As far as ground defense goes, Sergio does a great job at hand and grip fighting, which is a highly underrated aspect of grappling. That said, the young phenom shows a surprising lack of urgency in the scramble. Even when he is controlling positions against a striker like Chris Cariaso, we saw Sergio swept as he succeeded to the bottom with little attempt to stand for the rounds remainder.

A coach once told me that scrambles win fights, and in MMA, that is especially applicable to the lighter divisions. Diligently working with Izzy-Style Wrestling, and even spending a short stint at Jackson-Wink MMA, I am sure Sergio is making the necessary efforts & improvements to his game. That said, the takedown defense and transition IQ of Pettis will certainly be put to the task here. Unlike his previous opponents, Kelades possesses consistent pressure fighting that could be the variable in potentially unwinding Sergio’s on-paper advantages.

With durability and a non-stop pace being a common thread for upset performances, I suspect we may see similar intangibles come to life in this matchup. Although I recommend caution in playing the deserved favorite, this crossroads fight should be all action and well worth your time.

Official Pick: Kelades – Decision

Official Outcome: Pettis – Decision

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Kelades def. Pettis
  • Roberts def. Steele
  • Lima def. Esparza
  • Vick def. Franca
  • East def. Harris
  • Hester def. De Lima
  • Lee def. Escudero

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Jon Jones
-Demetrious Johnson
-Anthony Pettis

Low Tier Picks:

-Andre Fili
-Chris Kelades
-Clint Hester

Pieces for your parlay:

-Danny Roberts
-Jon Jones
-Demetrious Johnson

Props worth looking at(

-Johnson/Cejudo – Over: -190 (2 Units)
-Jones/St. Preux – Under: -225 (2 Units)
-Robert Whitaker – by Decision: +266 (1 Unit)
-Andre Fili – Inside the distance +383 (1 Unit)

Fights to avoid:

-Esparza vs Lima
-Pettis vs Barboza
-Vick vs Franca

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