The most watched and talked about kick in Mixed Martial Arts history, the infamous "Showtime Kick," turned 10 years old last December. The kick Anthony claims was inspired by his time on a Taekwondo demo team as a young man. The TKD program that would start a fire inside Anthony, giving him passion for martial arts and transforming that passion into world titles in multiple organizations. The skills he would develop at an after-school program he was forced into, would end up as him owning his own prolific martial arts academy in Milwaukee and lining the walls with gold. I believe that it was the discipline he learned at that Tae Kwon Do academy, along with the tutelage of Duke Roufus that would develop him into an MMA powerhouse, capable of feats one only thought were possible in a movie or video game.
Anthony always had a dynamic, explosive move set that only grew and improved as he competed against tougher competition and gained experience. Some would criticize Tae Kwon Do as being too traditional to be effective in Mixed Martial Arts competition. Worried that a limited rule set and an emphasis on points over power, would not translate well into a more open rule-set competition like M.M.A., where power is paramount. Turns out that TKD competitions have knockouts at almost every event and the rising star, Mr. Pettis would shortly shut down all the doubters. The power in Anthony's feet was demonstrated early in his U.F.C. career with a devastating stoppage over Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, who is known for being a tough night out for everybody and has maintained that reputation to this day. He also boasts an overwhelming headkick/hammerfist knock out over Joe Lauzon, who was already a veteran in the UFC when it was only Pettis' second outing with the organization. Not to be forgotten about however, was an insane Off-The-Cage finish over previous title contender Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, the most recent in a long line of highlight reel exploits.
His game wouldn't be limited to striking however, submissions were always on the menu. With wrestling monsters such as Ben "Funky" Askren and Tyrone "The Chosen One" Woodley training alongside you at RoufuSport, how could your grappling not be at an elite level? Anthony's high-class Jiu-Jitsu has been proven several times throughout his career, sporting 3 triangle finishes to his name prior to the merger. A feat only compounded by an infamous armbar finish over the current dominant champion, Benson "Smooth" Henderson. For his first title defense, he defied all the odds and choked out a tough Gilbert Melendez, which is still to this day, the only time he's ever been finished in a fight. At UFC 226, a few years before he would part ways with the UFC, he locked in a beautiful triangle/armbar on top ranked opponent Michael Chiesa. The man was even able to secure a guillotine against current lightweight title contender Charles "Do Bronx" Oliveira.
That's one tough résumé.
We've come to expect nothing less from the natural competitor that Anthony Pettis is. He set his sights on new horizons and even more gold. He hopes to be crowned as the P.F.L. lightweight champion, an event and organization that is the first of its kind. With a different record system, point structure and more importantly, talent pool. A tough road lies ahead for Anthony. At the beginning of that road is Clay "Cassius" Collard, a man seemingly made of iron that has dynamite in his hands and has been competing successfully for a very long time. Not to mention, he used to be a part of the UFC roster himself. You can gurantee he will not shy away from the challenge that "Showtime" brings to the table.
So tune in Friday night (4/23/31) to see the fireworks on ESPN+ at 5:30 p.m ET.
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