While some people were predicting Anthony Pettis would defeat Benson Henderson for a second time at UFC 164, not too many folks (if any) were calling it by submission. While Pettis has showcased a dangerous guard in the past, his vaunted striking skills are what most folks recall when they think of “Showtime.” In addition, Henderson is a BJJ black belt and a highly regarded wrestler, which is why thousands of jaws dropped when Pettis caught him with a first round, armbar.
One of the people who wasn’t surprised with how Pettis laid claim to the lightweight belt, however, was his jiu-jitsu coach Diego Moraes. While speaking to MMA Fighting.com, here’s what Moraes had to say about his student’s victory and the BJJ purple belt’s submission skills.
“Anthony has jiu-jitsu skills to defeat anyone in this division,” Moraes said. “He’s training with the best grapplers. People always say how great he is as a striker, but he showed he’s a complete champion. He stopped Ben Henderson’s takedowns, worked his striking and submitted a jiu-jitsu black belt who trains with (multiple-time world champion) Augusto Mendes.”
“I wasn’t surprised,” he said. “He’s worked a lot on his jiu-jitsu. He already had a good ground game, and he’s getting better now that he worked with Team Moraes for his last three or four fights. He trained with a lot of black belts in Brazil and was confident enough to fight jiu-jitsu with anyone. I rooted for a submission (in this fight) because I wanted him to show how good his jiu-jitsu is. Nobody expected that, except the ones who train with him every day.”
Moraes also noted that in his opinion, Pettis has “good chances” to submit or knockout Jose Aldo, and that “Showtime” “will win” if they collide. Here’s hoping we get to see how they match up sooner than later.
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