Pettis (20-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) stayed unbeaten to start his Bellator career on Friday when he outpointed Ricky Bandejas (13-4 MMA, 3-3 BMMA) over three rounds to win a unanimous decision at Mohegan Sun Arena. The fight was touted as a title eliminator in the bantamweight division.
Bandejas is, of course, the only person to have beaten Gallagher (10-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) in MMA, handing he brash Irishman a highlight-reel knockout at Bellator 204 in August 2018. Pettis said he wasn’t going to fall victim to the same outcome, even if it wasn’t the most thrilling contest.
“I don’t know if it was a statement for a title shot,” Pettis told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at Bellator 242. “I think it was just another good win on my resume. I beat a tough Ricky Bandejas. I showed Gallagher that’s how you do it, though. That’s how you defend yourself. Those punches and those kicks, if you learn defense, you can block that (expletive).”
Pettis said his verbal jab at Gallagher doesn’t mean he’s looking for that fight immediately. He believes the criticism toward Gallagher’s level of competition throughout his career is warranted, and pointed to the loss against Bandejas as evidence of what happens when he fights a legitimate talent.
It appears Pettis is trending toward a title shot against the winner of Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix, who are expected to fight for the vacant 135-pound title this year. If Gallagher wins a few fights in the meantime, though, Pettis said he’d welcome it.
“He’s got to work his way up to get me,” Pettis said. “He’s got a couple more wins under his belt and beat some notable guys. If he can beat Ricky Bandejas then he deserves to fight me, no matter how many followers you got on Instagram.”
Pettis largely had his way with Bandejas over the course of their three-round fight. He used superior striking to win every round on all three scorecards, but it wasn’t entirely satisfying. Pettis has earned 10 of his past 11 wins by decision, and said it’s a goal to start putting opponents away more consistently.
“I’m critical of my own performance,” Pettis said. “Obviously I want to start finishing people more and more. Ricky was tough, man, so I had to play a smarter game plan and I went out there and did what I had to do, but there’s more to come.”
Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/07/sergio-pettis-interview-james-gallagher-ricky-bandejas-knockout-bellator-242-post-fight/