Sergio Pettis stuns Kyoji Horiguchi with wild spinning backfist KO at Bellator 272

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Sergio Pettis
Sergio Pettis retained his title on Friday night with a wild konckout over Kyoji Horiguchi. (Photo courtesy of Bellator)

Sergio Pettis was struggling on Friday night in Connecticut.

Then, after just one wild hit, Pettis not only walked out of Bellator 272 with a win but also launched himself into the conversation for knockout of the year.

Pettis pulled out an all-time knockout after he landed a perfect spinning backfist to send Kyoji Horiguchi to the ground in the fourth round on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena — something that successfully allowed him to retain his bantamweight title.

The knockout really came out of nowhere, as Horiguchi had clearly taken the advantage through the first three rounds of the bout. Horiguchi scored a takedown in the first round, and was in full control.

But after Pettis missed a head kick in the fourth round, he recovered and flipped the fight around completely in an instant. Pettis has now won five straight fights, including his unanimous decision win over Juan Archuleta at Bellator 258 to claim his bantamweight title in May. 

Horiguchi was back fighting in the United States for the first time in 2019, when he won the 135-pound Bellator title before later having to vacate it. The 31-year-old stayed down on the canvas for quite some time after the fight was called, and was stretchered out of the arena. He was conscious on his way out, though, and raised a fist to the crowd before being taken to a local hospital. 

Pettis landed just 19 strikes compared to 73 from Horiguchi in the win, and didn't get a single successful takedown. 

In the end, though, it doesn't matter. Pettis took his shot and pulled it off. 

"I came out here and had to get beat up for nearly four full rounds," Pettis said, via CBS Sports' Brian Campbell. "I came out and said to myself that I'm losing this fight and need to do something spectacular to turn this around ... I needed to face some adversity and tonight, Horiguchi gave me all of that. I had a tough time picking up his timing and rhythm. 

"I'm only 28 and this fight showed me that I still have a lot to work on. I will be back in the gym soon."

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