Pettis rallies to KO Horiguchi with spinning back fist, retains title

Lucas Noonan / Bellator MMA

Sergio Pettis appeared to be severely down on the scorecards heading into the fourth round against Kyoji Horiguchi, but a spinning back fist kept the Bellator bantamweight title around his waist.

Pettis knocked out Horiguchi at the 3:24 mark of the fourth round in the Bellator 272 main event Friday in Uncasville, Connecticut, to retain the belt for the first time.

Horiguchi dominated Pettis over the first 15 minutes, peppering him with punches standing up and taking him down at will. Horiguchi's speed gave him the edge, and he used his elite movement to avoid much of Pettis' offense.

Meanwhile, Pettis seemed stiff and ultimately struggled to pull the trigger in the stand-up department.

Horiguchi was up in the fourth round before a brief exchange in the clinch led to Pettis' devastating spinning back fist. Pettis went in for a follow-up strike but pulled back as the referee stepped in to wave off the contest.

This was Pettis' first T/KO victory since a 2013 bout in the now-defunct RFA promotion and the first walk-off finish of his career.

The 28-year-old extended his winning streak to five and is now 4-0 under the Bellator banner since parting ways with the UFC in 2019. Pettis captured the bantamweight title with a decision win over Juan Archuleta in May.

Horiguchi is a former Bellator bantamweight champion who returned to the promotion for the first time since 2019. He hadn't competed since a knockout win over Kai Asakura in the Rizin FF promotion in December 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The 31-year-old currently holds the Rizin FF bantamweight title but is set to participate in the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix - which was unveiled Friday - in 2022.

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Pettis rallies to KO Horiguchi with spinning back fist, retains title
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