UFC Vegas 17: Anthony Pettis Has Late Surge to Secure Win Over Alex Morono

Anthony Pettis and Alex Morono, UFC Vegas 17
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 19: (L-R) Anthony Pettis kicks Alex Morono in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)

Former UFC and WEC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis looked to secure his second straight win in the welterweight division Saturday at UFC Vegas 17. The final UFC event of 2020 served as a bookend for Pettis, whose last fight came in the promotion’s first show back in the pandemic era, at UFC 249.

Opposite Pettis in the cage Saturday was Houston, Texas native Alex Morono, looking for a second straight win of his own — against unquestionably the biggest opponent of his career.

Alex Morono quite clearly was looking to make a statement Saturday, as he went right after the former champ. Overwhelming Pettis he quickly took the back, got hooks in, and worked to flatten him out. Somewhere in that early blitzkrieg Pettis had been cut open. Soon enough Morono had a body triangle locked on. Pettis, however, was able to turn in and get on top — only to have to fend off a triangle attempt, before the pair finally got back to their feet.

Round two had a much calmer start. Morono spent some time at center, walking down Pettis. As the round wore on, Pettis broke out body kicks and found a home for his left hand. Morono appeared to have slowed, and there was no repeat of that early dominance from the Texan. Instead, the pair battled it out for the full round, each getting their shots in at times.

Early in the third, Pettis threw himself out of position, allowing Morono to get him down. But Pettis wound up reversing, landing in guard, with lots of time to work. “Showtime” might have lost the opening frame, but round two was close, and there was a good chance the third was for all the marbles. Late in the round came the game-changed, a spinning wheel kick by Pettis that rocked Morono. Pettis jumped all over his opponent, and while he didn’t get the finish, he put a stamp on the round.

Official Result: Anthony Pettis def. Alex Morono by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)