25 Jan, 2020

Triple Take: Which under-the-radar fight could steal the show at UFC 246?

Make no mistake, most of the attention heading into UFC 246 is on the main event clash between Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone. But to label the event a “one-fight card” would be to disrespect the matchups lower down the card, which feature a host of key contenders and rising prospects across the UFC’s various weight classes.

But which of the other fights on the UFC 246 card should fans keep a close eye on? MMA Junkie’s Dave Doyle, Simon Head, and Nolan King shine a spotlight on the non-main event fights which most intrigued them heading into fight week in Las Vegas in the latest edition of Triple Take.

Dave Doyle: How will Anthony Pettis fare in his return to lightweight?

I feel like I could simply write “Anthony Pettis is fighting,” and leave it at that, with no further explanation necessary.

This is, after all, “Showtime.” And maybe the former UFC snd WEC lightweight champion has lost a step since his days as champion, when people were starting to openly speculate on whether Pettis (22-9 MMA, 9-8 UFC) was approaching No. 1 pound-for-pound status.

But look at Pettis’ output in recent years: Even if he’s not the same fighter he once was, his presence on the card still guarantees excitement. Pettis’ wins over the likes of Michael Chiesa and Stephen Thompson were the types canny veterans pull off. His losses, to Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz, were thrilling battles. He clearly has something left to give.

Pettis’ return to his lightweight wheelhouse after bouncing everywhere from featherweight to welterweight in recent years seems to indicate he’s getting serious and buckling down for one more big run.

And, as is usually the case, Pettis isn’t taking an easy fight. He’s being greeted by one of the more underrated competitors at 155 pounds in Diego Ferreira (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), who enters the bout on a five-fight win streak. Those wins have come over tough guys without much name value, But now Ferreira is getting exactly the opponent he wants on the platform he’s wanted.

So yeah, as long as there’s a matchup the caliber of Pettis vs. Ferreira, don’t tell me UFC 246 is a one-fight show.

Next page: Simon Head: A flyweight clash with future title implications

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