Before 2021 came to a close, Sergio Pettis made sure to send a message to the rest of Bellator's bantamweight division via a statement-making win over Kyoji Horiguchi.
At Bellator 272, Pettis beat Horiguchi via knockout to retain his Bellator Bantamweight Title. Inside the Mohican Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, Pettis managed to survive a Horiguchi onslaught and landed what could potentially be the front-runner for Knockout of the Year.
It was the shot heard around the world.
"I came out here and got beaten up for four rounds,” Pettis stated after the fight. “When it happened, I was just like, ‘Man I am losing this fight. I’ve got to do something spectacular.’ It (the decisive punch that ended the fight) came at the right time.”
The majority of the fight was all Horiguchi, as the RIZIN Bantamweight Champion used his calculating speed to his advantage. He landed inside leg kicks multiple times and would land jabs through Pettis’ defense in round one. A former Bellator Bantamweight Champion, Horiguchi’s movements appeared to be too much for Pettis to handle early on.
Round two saw Horiguchi go southpaw, and he continued chopping Pettis down with leg kicks. At one point, Pettis was brought down to the ground thanks to those kicks. He landed combinations and would mix things up with spinning calf kicks. Pettis gave Horiguchi too much space, which resulted in frail shots by the former.
Horiguchi landed multiple takedowns and would do the same in the third and fourth. While down, Horiguchi, who was bleeding under his eye, would hit Pettis with repeated head shots. Pettis would not surrender, however, and would try and fight back any way he could.
Heading into the fourth, coach Duke Roufus tried getting Pettis to spice things up. The pep talk appeared to work, as Pettis looked like he was getting loose. After a major takedown by Horiguchi, Pettis would get up and land crisp shots. Horiguchi went for another takedown but missed, and Pettis would finally let it all go.
Pettis landed a left body shot and the thought was he could at least salvage the fourth. He ended up missing a high kick but landed a spinning back fist that put Horiguchi out for the count.
Before that knockout, the stats were very much in Horiguchi’s favor. Horiguchi landed 73 strikes compared to Pettis’ 19, with 48 of those strikes punches to go along with four takedowns.
Horiguchi is now 2-2 in his last four fights. Pettis is now on a five-fight win streak and will look to carry that momentum into 2022. Both will be competing in the recently-announced Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix.