MMA star Anthony Pettis is heading into his second PFL bout in a position he didn’t really expect. The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion signed with the PFL last year after letting his contract expire with the UFC in hopes of adding PFL gold to his impressive collection of hardware. But Pettis heads into his next fight against Alex Martinez at PFL 4 on June 10 in Atlantic City in danger of missing the PFL’s 2021 playoffs entirely after losing his PFL debut, so “Showtime” knows his back will be against the wall when the cage door closes.
“My objective is to get six points, and hopefully put myself in that tournament,” Pettis told Heavy.
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Pettis Hopes To Finish His Opponent as Fast as Possible
For Pettis to grab those six points against Martinez, he’ll need to finish the undefeated lightweight contender in the first round.
To qualify for the PFL’s playoff tournament, fighters compete for points. Points are awarded for wins and finishes. Wins earn fighters 3 points, with bonus points added for finishes scored in the first (3 points), second (2 points), and third (1 point) rounds. The top four fighters in the division head into the tournament where the PFL’s 2021 world champion will be crowned.
As things stand right now, Pettis wouldn’t even qualify for the playoffs. You can see the PFL’s current lightweight standings below.
So Pettis knows how important his performance will be at PFL 4 on Thursday, and he also knows that finishing his opponent as quickly as possible is the most direct way for him to grab a spot in the tournament.
Still, Pettis said he wouldn’t get too crazy about all the different ways things might shake out with the month. All he wants to think about right now is how he’s going to win his fight.
“I don’t want to get too crazy about that. My job is to go in there and win this next fight. And hopefully, look for the finish,” Pettis said.
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Pettis Was Reminded That ‘Showtime’ Starts with ‘Basics’
Pettis is one of the most dynamic MMA stars in history. His “Showtime Kick” against Benson Henderson at WEC 53 in 2010 remains one of the most remarkable moments in MMA history.
But Pettis said his loss via decision to Clay Collard at PFL 1 earlier this year reminded him about an important detail around landing that kick and about every other amazing thing he’s done inside the cage during his impressive career, too.
“I just keep forgetting, most of the big moments in MMA, when it happened, I built it up with basics. That ‘Showtime’ kick happened in the fifth round of a title fight, not the first two minutes. I didn’t look for it until I had won the basics,” Pettis said.
So the 34-year-old American believes his path to victory over Martinez at PFL 4 is all about getting back to the basics, and that’s something he’s done for this training camp.
“That’s what I’m going to attach to this fight. I’m going to go in there, win the basics and build up,” Pettis said.
Pettis has been focusing a lot on his boxing training over the last seven weeks. He’s been in and out of some of the best boxing gyms in Las Vegas, and he said his fans should expect a different-looking fighter than the one they saw against Collard.
“My last performance, I wasn’t happy with what I did out there. I think I let the pressure get to me,” Pettis said.
Pettis said he found the holes in his game during camp, and now he’s ready to put everything together for an important win at PFL 4. Where he felt like he was trying to “trying to force everything” against Collard at PFL 1, this time he’ll make sure he focuses on the right things.
Still, Pettis also knows how important getting six points for a first-round finish might be for making the playoffs, so he’ll enter his fight against Martinez with that in the back of his mind, too.
“Dude’s good. He’s undefeated,” Pettis said.
But Pettis expects to be the first fighter to beat him.
“I’m putting them hands on him, man,” Pettis said.
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