Any number of fighters will tell you that they’re fighting themselves in the cage. Friday night at PFL 6 in Atlantic City, that may have been more true than usual. Anthony Pettis, the former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, was in action against Raush Manfio.
Pettis was a household name. Manfio, a fighter that even dedicated MMA fans would need to reference on Tapology or Sherdog. But more importantly, Pettis needed a win to make the playoffs. That’s a position “Showtime” admitted ahead of the fight was his own doing.
Not surprisingly, Pettis opened the affair with a few kicks, of the leg kick and push kick variety. He’d land a right hand while countering Manfio’s own attack. A spinning attack from Pettis followed. “Showtime,” frankly, was fighting like a man who needed a finish, and needed it early. Manfio, however, refused to make it easy, keeping the pressure on, working leg kicks, and avoiding the flashy attacks of Pettis, including a rather choreographed spinning back fist attempt.
The second saw Pettis putting the pressure on early, firing a right hand over the top. A low blow landed by Manfio halted the action just seconds into the round, unfortunately. After a few moments to recover, Pettis fired a low kick, then a front kick that just missed catching Manfio flush in the face. As the round wore on, Pettis found his range, and his punches began to connect more consistently. Manfio fired a kick, far from out of the fight. In the final minute, Pettis was hit low again in an exchange of kicks.
Manfio had his best moment early in the third. A right hand landed, and Pettis was sent to his back. Manfio let his opponent back up, then went on the attack. He put Pettis up against the fence and swarmed. A massive knee then dropped Pettis, who was looking defeat in the face. He’d survive, make it back up, eat another knee, but stay standing. Pettis’ left eye was swelling, and suddenly, the emphasis was less on a finish and more on survival.
In the end, there would be no finish. And no playoffs for Pettis, with two judges awarding the fight to Manfio in a split decision.
Official Result: Raush Manfio def. Anthony Pettis by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)