Pettis (21-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) puts his bantamweight title on the line against former Bellator and RIZIN champion Horiguchi (29-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) in the main event of Bellator 272, which takes place on Dec. 3 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Having coached Pettis since he was 13 years old, Roufus is confident that his taekwondo background will have him ready for Horiguchi’s unique style.
“Luckily, he has somewhat of a traditional martial arts style and that’s my jam,” Roufus told MMA Junkie Radio. “I grew up in martial arts. He’s a karate-style fighter and that’s the nice thing about Sergio having grown up in taekwondo, he’s very versatile fighting different styles of fighters. Horiguchi can pack some power, he can crack. He’s a little awkward to normal fighters, but Sergio is good at fighting awkward fighters. He’s a good counter-puncher and he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve for Horiguchi.”
Roufus says Pettis has been training with former K-1 lightweight tournament runner-up Ren Hiramoto, who has given the champion some great insight.
“Speaking of Japan, I have one of the K-1 Japan’s best kickboxers training with me right now,” Roufus said. “He’s fighting on Rizin’s New Year’s Eve, his name is Ren Hiramoto. Don’t forget this guy, he’s awesome. He is helping Sergio mentally. He’s only 23 years old and he is one bad mofo.
“He actually knocked out Kaew Fairtex, the K-1 champion in kickboxing already, but he legitimately wants to be a great MMA athlete. Not just a striker in MMA, he’s getting great at wrestling, getting great at grappling. But he’s been a great help in this camp for Sergio because of the Japanese culture and style of fighting and he has some good perspectives he’s giving Sergio to prepare for Horiguchi.”