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Former UFC champion Anthony Pettis signs with PFL

It didn’t take long for Anthony Pettis to find a new home: “Showtime” is coming to the PFL.

Pettis, the former UFC and WEC lightweight champion, will join the PFL for its 2021 season and will compete at 155 pounds. The PFL announced the news Wednesday shortly after promotional partner ESPN reported it.

Pettis (24-10) fought out his UFC contract this past Saturday with a unanimous decision victory over Alex Morono at UFC Fight Night 183.

Pettis spoke openly about his impending free agency in the lead-up to the fight, and on Tuesday announced his UFC departure. It didn’t take long for Pettis to sign with PFL, the promotion that operates on a system similar to major team sports, with regular-season fights, playoffs, and $1 million to the championship winner in each weight class. Pettis figured to also have a potential suitor in Bellator, as promotion president Scott Coker expressed interest to MMA Junkie on Tuesday night.

Pettis won the WEC lightweight championship in the promotion’s final event, WEC 53 in December 2010, in which his famous “Showtime kick” of Benson Henderson in the closing seconds sealed the deal on the scorecards in a close fight. In 2013, Pettis submitted Henderson at UFC 164 in his hometown of Milwaukee to claim the UFC lightweight belt, and lost it to Rafael dos Anjos in 2015.

Pettis struggled to regain his stride from there, fighting everywhere from featherweight to welterweight, but he ended his UFC run the winner of two straight.

No date or first opponent has been named for Pettis. The PFL’s 2021 season is scheduled to kick off on April 23 in Las Vegas.

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