UFC Fight Night Betting Pick: Anthony Pettis vs Alex Morono

2020 has been a year unlike any other. No matter where we stand on the virus/lockdowns, I think we can all agree on that. What 2021 has in store, I think a swift Chinese takeover, nah. It’s not 2030, yet, and they are playing the long game.

I kid, guys. I hope, at least. 2020 was a tremendous year for the UFC as they led the way for American based sports to come back and hold events in the time of global unrest and uncertainty.

That has been the cover story and as well it should be. I am quite proud to cover MMA and particularly the UFC for many reasons including their dedication and diligence in putting on events directly in the face of adversity/politicians.

So, what is going on with the roster, though?

We have heard recently that Yoel Romero was cut. Anderson Silva finally made his exit but we all were hoping for that for the longest time.

This past weekend, we saw Jacare Souza, Tony Ferguson, and Junior dos Santos all look like shells of themselves, and may the two Brazilians will surely be looking for a different employer in 2021.

El Cucuy is not himself after the Gaethje defeat and he may never be. He was also exposed. He isn’t a technical guy. He made his money off of his toughness, cardio, size, creativity, and flow.

Technical strikers like Gaethje will be too much for him and technical grapplers like Oliveira will expose him as well. At least now all of the Tony vs Khabib backers can finally shut up.

Who is on the chopping block this fight card?

Jose Aldo may have a couple of losses left because he has been competing at the highest level and winning rounds over some of the world’s best mixed martial artists.

Anthony Pettis, though…

The only UFC fighter to have ever appeared on a Wheaties box, Anthony Showtime Pettis, is a flake in there, backs up too much, and has low volume waiting for the perfect counter. He is a great fighter to fade except for the fact that he is incredibly dangerous not just on his feet but he has submitted black belts from his guard.

He is about to turn 34 next month but his game has been on the decline for a long long time. Anthony has won just 5 of his previous 13 fights inside the Octagon going back nearly 6 years ago.

So, he began his decline at 28?

You don’t see that very much but boy is Pettis dangerous everywhere.

His opponent on Saturday night in Vegas, Alex Morono, is hell on wheels. He is an aggressive volume striker who likes to grind his opponents out up against the cage and on the mat as well if he can score a takedown.

Please Note:
Pressure fighters are Pettis’s Achilles heel. We all know that. He backs up, waits, and hardly ever lands his big shot. Anthony is too much of a perfectionist. He wants only the perfect counter punch or kick. If the perfect opportunity doesn’t present itself, then he usually waits and waits and waits…

This plays directly into Morono’s hands. The top tier online sportsbook BetOnline.AG has the betting odds for us this week. Let’s take a glance at those, find our value, and make a play or two on the fight between Anthony Pettis and Alex Morono.

Anthony Pettis (-250) vs Alex Morono (+200)

This line is off. I think most every other capper, picker, predictor, fan, analyst, etc would all agree with me.

Anthony Pettis should not be a (-250) favorite.

That denotes an implied probability of a 70% chance of winning and I don’t think we are quite there. Raise your hand if you want to risk this much on Anthony Pettis?

Okay, if you raised your hand, please go to the back of the class and review the tape of Pettis’s past fights.

Have you seen enough?

Good. Now that we are all on the same page, let’s decide whether or not we want to make a play on Morono. He is the type of guy to defeat Anthony Pettis. I just don’t know if he is on the level.

Stylistically, this favors Alex Morono all day. He likes to mix in his takedowns, though, but the last place he wants to be is in Anthony Pettis’s full guard.

  • Michael Chiesa, a big 170 pound fighter with a grappling base was subbed pretty quickly inside the guard of Pettis.
  • Benson Henderson shared the same fate as Chiesa.
  • Charles Oliveira…he tapped to a guillotine from Anthony.

So, the takedown may be off the table for Alex and that limits him and his style.

He is a guy who is just go go go and then you tell him well, go but stop here. I don’t think that helps his mindset. Alex is a black belt but still, if Chiesa and Oli are getting tapped then he can too.

I’m not mad at anyone taking a shot on Morono here as a 2 to 1 dog.

He is in his prime and surging while Anthony Pettis likely has one foot out the door and is thinking of joining his brother Sergio over at Bellator.

I don’t blame him. Get back on the sauce and fighter weaker competition for probably more money? This is a business. Anthony won a world title already. Maybe he lost motivation after that.

You spend your whole life with that one goal of being a world champion one day and you not only become A world champion but THE world champion.

Then what?

I think that’s where Pettis lost his way. He is still an accurate and powerful striker who won his last fight against Cowboy Cerrone albeit by controversial decision. They both looked good in that fight but neither were fighting anyone young and hungry, of course.

I thought Cowboy edged it with his takedowns but they gave it to Anthony.

You know, there are a lot of betting lines that pay awfully well out there for this fight that we could sell pretty hard. Pettis by submission or Pettis wins inside the distance are both nice.

Heck, Morono by decision is cute as well.

Let’s go with Pettis by decision. I think he lands the cleaner shots and the judges score those higher than the forward pressure and cage control of Morono.

After all, that is how a fight is supposed to be scored. Striking, grappling, aggression, and Octagon control, in that order. Who controls the pace is only used to decide the winner of a round when the damage and grappling are even.

I say this but then you have some of these judges who are completely incompetent and always have been.

Let’s go with Anthony Pettis to get a decision win here for plus money at (+135).

My Pick
Pettis Wins a Decision!

In Conclusion

Anthony Pettis may be fighting inside the Octagon for the final time in his hall of fame career. Hall of fame kinda sounds like a lot but when you think about his importance in the growth of the sport, it starts to make sense.

When the WEC was bought out by the UFC and Anthony Pettis came over, all eyes were on him and for about a year and a half, he was on top of the world.

This is, of course, when the Wheaties box was released. He finished Joe Lauzon, Gilbert Melendez, Cowboy Cerrone, and Benson Henderson in 4 straight fights after joining the ranks of the UFC.

What do all of those fighters have in common? Well, two are retired and the other two guys are well past their prime. Could we see another Benson Henderson vs Anthony Pettis rematch in the Bellator cage?

I’m down for that but first, Showtime has at least one more fight inside the Octagon and I think he plays it smart, uses his jab and body kicks to slow the pace of Morono. It isn’t easy slowing that guy down but I think a couple full board shins across the bell or to the ribs might do the trick.

Once the fight slows, then Pettis will likely be happy to cruise to a decision.

Get your bets in now directly from this article and enjoy the final UFC fight card of the year.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.