Tonight in the main event of Bellator 258, the bantamweight title was on the line. Juan Archuleta (25-2) was defending his bantamweight title for the first time against Sergio Pettis (20-5).
Pettis was seeking to become the second world champion in his family. His older brother Anthony was of course the WEC and UFC lightweight champion. The younger Pettis also fought for the UFC before jumping to Bellator just prior to 2020.
Last year, Pettis made his debut with the promotion. He looked very good in both of his fights and won them both. In his career, he’s been in there with some of the best in the world including Henry Cejudo and Joseph Benavidez.
Tonight, he had a huge challenge in front of him at Bellator 258. Juan Archuleta has been close to perfect since he joined Bellator in early 2018. He’s gone 7-1 with his lone loss coming against Patricio Pitbull.
That fight was up at featherweight. Archuleta’s natural weight class is 135, but his first shot at Bellator gold was at 145 and he wouldn’t pass up that opportunity. After that defeat, he moved back down to 135 pounds.
Late last year, Archuleta fought Patchy Mix at Bellator 246. Mix was game, but Archuleta fought incredibly smart and walked away with a decision. Pettis is one of the stiffest challenges in the promotion, but Archuleta was looking to show how good he really is tonight.
Bellator 258 Recap
The Bellator 258 main event kicks off with a touch of the gloves. Archuleta looks to establish his jab in the opening seconds. Pettis takes the center of the cage and Archuleta is using his movement on the outside.
Both men trade big shots and Archuleta goes back to circling the cage. Pettis just misses a high kick and Archuleta lands a quick takedown. However, Pettis, is able to pop right back up.
Archuleta pushes Pettis back to the fence as he looks to take him back down. Pettis lands a couple of nice elbows as Archuleta continues to look for the takedown. The two separate with two minutes left in the round.
Archuleta pushes forward, but Pettis gets the better of the exchange on the counter. The Bellator champion looks for a high kick, but nothing home. A beautiful right hand counter lands for Sergio Pettis.
Archuleta pushes forward and lands a body kick, but Pettis counters with a big straight shot. Nice jab lands for Sergio Pettis. Good low kicks land for Archuleta. Archuleta lands a takedown, but Pettis reverses straight into the mount as the bell sounds. 1-0 Sergio Pettis at Bellator 258.
The second round starts and Pettis immediately takes the center again. The Bellator champion charges forward with a combination, but nothing significant lands. Good right hand lands for Juan Archuleta.
Archuleta shoots in and lands a takedown on Sergio Pettis just about 90 seconds into the second round. Pettis works his way back up to his feet and Archuleta presses him against the fence. However, Pettis breaks the guard and they go back to striking.
Nice jab lands for Pettis. Archuleta pushes forward and lands a good shot to the body, but misses wild up top. Pettis continues the pressure looking for his jab. Nasty left hand to the body lands for the Bellator bantamweight champion with two minutes left in the round.
Stiff jab from Pettis pops the head of Juan Archuleta. Archuleta pushes forward again, but Pettis gets the better of the striking and Archuleta is cut. Big left uppercut lands for Juan Archuleta.
Pettis tries to go up top, but Archuleta lands a couple of shots to the body. More pressure from the champion and he lands a nice left hook. The bell sounds in round two as Archuleta looks for a takedown. Very close round, but I lean towards Archuleta which makes it 1-1 at Bellator 258.
Both men touch gloves to start the third round. Archuleta looks to take the center in this round, but he’s popped with a jab from Pettis. After the jab lands, Pettis goes back to taking the center of the cage with pressure.
Archuleta pushes forward and looks to land. Both men trade good right hands. Nice jab lands for the Bellator champion. Archuleta attempts to land some shots to the body, but he’s a bit out of range.
Pettis’ counter right hand has been landing all night and he lands another one. Archuleta presses forward trying to up the pressure, but Pettis clips him with a left hook and right hand.
Nice right hook lands for Archuleta. Both men step forward and land good shots. The striking numbers are very close halfway through the fight. Archuleta shoots for a takedown, however, he can’t get Sergio Pettis down.
The champion pushes Pettis against the fence and looks to work from the clinch. Pettis breaks the clinch and were back to striking. Archuleta pushes forward and lands a couple of shots. The round closes and the round was extremely close. I lean slightly towards Archuleta so I’ll say 2-1 Archuleta at Bellator 258.
This is anyone’s fight heading into the fourth round at Bellator 258. Archuleta pushes forward immediately and both men land shots. Pettis lands the better shot with a nice right hand.
Good lead left hook lands for Juan Archuleta. Pettis backs up Archuleta with a nice left hand, but Archuleta grabs a body lock. Archuleta lands a brief takedown, but Pettis pops right back up.
Both men trade jabs as were back to striking. Two big counter right hands land for Sergio Pettis. Big body kick lands for Pettis. Pettis tries for a brief takedown, but Archuleta just shrugs him off.
However, once back to striking, Pettis lands a clean combination. Nice left hook lands for the Bellator champion. Pettis then lands a big right hand that backs the champion off.
Archuleta tries to push forward, but another clean counter right hand lands for Sergio Pettis. Good combination lands for the champion. Pettis lands a knee to the body and a nice right hand on the break.
Big body kick lands for Pettis. Counter left hook lands for Sergio Pettis and he’s feeling it here in the fourth round. Pettis just seems a step ahead of Archuleta as he lands another good counter here late in the round. The round comes to a close and I think it’s 2-2 entering the final round at Bellator 258.
Entering the final round at Bellator 258 and I think it’s tied, but Pettis could very well be winning on the scorecards. Both men touch gloves as we start the final round and Archuleta immediately presses Pettis.
However, he’s unable to land anything clean. Nice jab lands for Pettis, but Archuleta shoots in for a takedown. He pushes him to the fence, but Pettis is able to stay up and he breaks the grip of Archuleta. Two straight jabs land for Sergio Pettis.
Nice right hand and left hook counter lands for Pettis. Pettis lands a nice calf kick which forces Archuleta to move back. Archuleta pushes forward, but he’s met with more counters from Pettis.
Nice body kick lands for Archuleta. Jab for Sergio Pettis and both men trade big shots in close. Archuleta pushes forward again, but Pettis beats him to the punch and backs him up.
Jab and right hand lands for Pettis. Archuleta shoots in deep for a takedown and he slams Pettis to the ground. Huge moment for the Bellator champion. If he can hold Pettis here, he can win the final round.
Archuleta goes into north-south and he looks to land knees to the body. The champion switches to side-control and he’s just holding the position. Pettis uses the fence and he’s able to explode up, but Archuleta holds the clinch.
The bell sounds and this one is going to be razor close. I give the final round and the fight to the Bellator champion 48-47, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Sergio Pettis gets the nod here.
Sergio Pettis def. Juan Archuleta by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)