Now champion, Sergio Pettis explains how move from UFC to Bellator allowed him to up his game

·2 min read

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Sergio Pettis finally did it.

For the first time, he claimed title gold for a major promotion when he beat Juan Archuleta by unanimous decision in the Bellator 258 main event.

“I’ve worked hard for this moment,” Pettis told MMA Junkie at a post-fight news conference. “I was training for a fight in February. It got pushed back until May, so it just gave me that much more time to prepare and believe in myself. I showed that tonight. It just came together.”

For Pettis (21-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), the recipe was a winning one. His game plan was to not let Archuleta (25-3 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) dictate the pace and to worry more about what he was doing than his opponent. It worked.

“I just stuck to what I know – the basics,” Pettis said. “I stayed true to myself. I didn’t allow his movements to scare my movements. I was more worried about what I was going to do instead of what he was going to do. I was myself tonight. I was trying to flow like water and I feel like I did.”

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Pettis, 27, won the Bellator bantamweight title in just his third fight with the promotion since he signed in late 2019. Pettis, at the time, was a top-ranked UFC flyweight who had won six of his most recent nine outings.

The shift in promotion, Pettis attributes to his recent success. Not having to worry about being something he’s not allowed him to focus more on his skills and express himself through actions, not words.

“I feel like I was on my way to becoming a champ in the UFC, as well,” Pettis said. “I just didn’t have the time or the star power that they wanted me to have. I’m a pretty normal dude out here, honest to God. I love to train and fight. I’ve got two dogs and a lady. I don’t need too much outside that. I’m not really big into fashion or shining the way that they want me to shine or promoting myself on social media. I’m really the opposite of that, to be honest. It’s awesome that Bellator allows me to be myself and puts no pressure on me. I’m able to have these great performances and truly believe in myself.”

Bellator 258 took place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The main card aired on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.