A welterweight bout between former lightweight champion Anthony "Showtime" Pettis and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone headlined the UFC 249 preliminary fight card on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. The two previously fought in January 2013 with Pettis finishing Cerrone in the opening round. On Saturday, the fight went the distance.
Both fighters entered the bout on losing streaks in need of a win, and they both fought that way. Cerrone took the center of the cage at the start of the contest while Pettis circled on the outside. Cerrone secured a takedown but let Pettis back to his feet. The two exchanged with both landing solid shots as the opening frame came to a close.
In the second round, Pettis landed a left hand that caused swelling around Cerrone's left eye. Cerrone responded with a combination. After a back-and-forth exchange, Cerrone secured his second takedown of the fight. Pettis quickly worked his way back to his feet but absorbed a knee to the body in the process. At the end of two rounds, neither fighter was clearly ahead in the fight.
The pace picked up in the final frame. Both landed combinations in the early going of the round. Pettis landed a left hand after inadvertently poking Cerrone in the eye. Cerrone complained that he was poked but the referee didn't see it. Pettis continued to fight and landed a combination. Cerrone responded with a clean head kick, but Pettis took it and fired back. In the closing seconds of the fight, Cerrone exploded forward with a flurry. After fifteen minutes of fighting, the judges would decide the winner. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Pettis.
"I'll take it," said Pettis after the fight. "I thought it was close. That last high kick shook everything so I didn't know what the (expletive) happened. I was winning. He's a legend. We're friends and we put it on the line. He hit me and I hit him. That's what it's all about."
"He landed some big shots. I landed some good stuff," added the former lightweight champion. "It could have went either way."