Pettis got off to a good start thanks to his sharp striking and deft control of distance in the first round. He consistently started the exchanges with Moraga, then countered Moraga’s counters while damaging his left eye bloody by the end of the opening frame. Moraga battled back with some difficult shots of his own, but Pettis wobbled him with tough left hands near the end of the round, requiring Moraga to focus his attention just on making it through.
Moraga came back strong in the 2nd, using his takedowns to slow Pettis’ offense, which in turn opened brand-new opportunities for him on the feet. With Pettis required to appreciate the hazard of the takedown, Moraga began landing some punches of his own, which may have evened things up on some scorecards.
However Pettis changed well in the last round, utilizing takedowns and turnarounds of his own to stymie Moraga’s attack prior to again going to work on the feet. By the end, he had Moraga dancing to his tune, and the result was a consistent drum beat of straight strikes by Pettis, who finished with a takedown in the final minute, simply to seal it in the minds of the judges.
By the time the scorecards were tallied, it was a clear win for Pettis, who took the fight with ratings of 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27.
” I came out there and carried out pretty well,” Pettis stated. “I believe I showed a great deal of progression since my last fight. I simply had more cardio and more aggressiveness. Moraga did an excellent job, so a huge shout out to him for stepping up to the plate. I was just aiming to strike him out. I was shocked by how strong he is. I hit him with some bombs and he had good standup. He revealed a lot of aggressiveness and showed his veteran skills. I felt he was a huge test for my career.
” I think I break the leading 10 now. I desire (original challenger Jussier) Formiga now. That’s the fight I’ve been anticipating the most and was prepared for. I changed challengers on two weeks’ (notification), got hard John Moraga, and now I think I deserve him. I’ve invested a lot of time on him and I believe that’s exactly what has to be next.”
The win makes it three in a row for Pettis, who has not lost considering that March 2015. Moraga loses his third straight fight.