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UFC Phoenix results: Pettis beats Moraga, Saunders edges out McGee

Ben Saunders and Sergio Pettis came away victorious to kick off the UFC Phoenix main card.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Moraga vs Pettis Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Fight Night: Penn vs. Rodriguez has just two fights to go, as the preliminary card is all wrapped up, in addition to half of the four-fight main card. The FS1 broadcast opened up with flyweight contender Sergio Pettis taking on John Moraga, while welterweight fan favorite Ben Saunders faced off against another fan favorite in Court McGee. Here’s how those fights played out.

Sergio Pettis def. John Moraga by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) - Flyweights

It was an active 1st round between the former title challenger Moraga and the rising prospect Pettis. Sergio worked with his jab and his right hook from southpaw stance and that formed a mouse under Moraga’s left eye. Moraga connected with a combination that Pettis felt. Sergio recorded a takedown and then fended off a guillotine choke. A hard right hand by Moraga clocked Pettis, who then returned fire with a big counter left hand. Pettis knocked Moraga down to end the round with a beautiful right hand shot.

Moraga took Pettis down early in the 2nd round, but Pettis used his legs to kick Moraga away and get back to his feet. Pettis worked his combination boxing, but he certainly wasn’t as punishing as he was in the 1st round, and Moraga had occasional success with his own punches. Moraga closed the distance and went for a takedown, which Pettis stuffed and then landed a left hand on the exit. Pettis thwarted another takedown to end the 2nd frame.

A check left hook by Moraga scored for him early in the final round. Pettis worked from ranged and mixed his boxing with high kicks. Moraga sought to close the distance. He got the takedown he wanted with just about 3 minutes remaining in the fight. Pettis had to defend a heel hook, and he reversed Moraga, then took his back. Moraga shook him off and they returned to their feet. Pettis kept peppering Moraga with the jab and switched things up with right high kicks. He was the one getting the better of the striking exchanges, then he closed out the fight with a takedown. The little brother of Anthony Pettis gets himself his 3rd win in a row, while Moraga has dropped 3 straight. Moraga took this fight on short notice for the injured Jussier Formiga.

Ben Saunders def. Court McGee by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) - Welterweights

McGee and Saunders frequently traded kicks to start the round. The TUF 11 winner caught the TUF 7 alum with some nice uppercuts. Saunders kept attacking McGee’s body with his kicks, while Court landed one upstairs off of his jabs. McGee’s boxing was his most successful mode of offense, while Saunders’ knees and kicks were the favored moves for “Killa B.” McGee tried to cut off Saunders’ range and work in close quarters. Saunders drilled McGee with thudding body kicks for his troubles. McGee had Saunders in a body lock, but Saunders avoided the takedown and threw some knees to McGee’s midsection. Saunders struggled to land cleanly with his boxing, with McGee showing off good head movement. McGee kept busy with right hands in the clinch to end the 2nd round.

Saunders started to find his range again to start round 3, and kept throwing the body kicks. McGee connected on an uppercut and Saunders appeared to be buzzed from an earlier strike. A spinning backfist from McGee was blocked. McGee changed levels and got a takedown with 2:35 left. Saunders went to a high guard, but wasn’t able to mount any offense from his back. McGee stayed heavy on him to see out the round. It was a close fight, but Saunders eked it out, with the body kicks making a big difference. McGee has now lost 2 of his last 3.

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