The main event for Bellator 258 features a bantamweight title fight between two men who are familiar with low kicks and their associated counters.
The current champion, Juan Archuleta, was familiarized with counters coming his way early on as he naturally floated toward the mold of a pressure fighter at the beginning of his career. Storming through space with overhands and hooks that carry palpable power, the native of Hesperia, Calif., always has looked far more seasoned than his resume leads on.
However, since his time spent working with Duane Ludwig and other pros associated with The Treigning Lab, we have seen an uptick in Archuleta’s kicks, counters and overall striking technique.
The 33-year-old now attaches kicks to his combinations much cleaner than before, shifting his stance accordingly in the process. In fact, Archuleta seems to be a sponge in the most complimentary of ways, almost mimicking stablemates like T.J. Dillashaw, at times.
That said, Archuleta’s recent trends of conservatively playing on the outside could make this fight much closer than it needs to be. But if the champ gets too aggressive on his entries, then he could play into the hands of the challenger’s countering savvy.
Coming from a traditional martial arts base, Sergio Pettis has arguably done a better job than his brother, Anthony Pettis, in regards to translating a striking process into the cage. Although Pettis is not as flashy as his brother (nor does he have the highlight reel to compare), there is an economical flow to the way in which he mixes his punches and kicks, and he also works at a much more consistent pace.
Not only does Pettis work in his kicking attacks seamlessly, but his point-fighting style of footwork has complemented his boxing nicely, utilizing his heightened sense of range to fuel his pulls and returns. Nevertheless, despite having accurate jab-cross continuums and packing solid counters, Pettis will still need to respect both the level-changing threats coming his way (especially when he elects to throw low kicks).
Next point of interest: Winning the wrestling