IBN UFC 185 Pettis vs Dos Anjos Preview
posted Mar 14 2015, 05:06AM
story by David Loret
posted in UFC/MMA, Analysis

And after a two week lay-off following UFC 184, we are back ! And this time, the world is hoping for a main event that will last longer than 14 seconds. Despite not having the biggest card of the year (and maybe one of the worst PPV card, ON PAPER, so far this year) UFC 184 was actually pretty fun overall. Good fights, good finishes, controversies and questions towards the future .. in other words, everything you can expect from a good event. Both Tony Ferguson and Alan Jouban showed that they deserved to face bigger names via quick finishes (kudos to Jouban, that elbow strike was nasty and beautiful). Jake Elleberger showed that he might not be done yet. Holly Holm isn’t the destroyer that everyone thought she was. Ronda … Well … 14 seconds. Maybe it was a fluke, maybe the talent in the division isn’t that great and maybe she is just too good, but the state of the women’s bantamweight division is now critical. Good luck to the UFC to sell her future fights. But that’s not the subject of the moment as we, UFC fans, are about to see a HUGE card unfold. This time, every main card fight is a pivotal fight in their respective division, there’s no real one sided beating waiting to happen and, the icing on the cake, even the prelims are promising. Pettis’ legacy, the first ever strawweight title defense and a few fight of the night potential. Here is our preview :

Main Event : Anthony Pettis © vs Rafael Dos Anjos – Lightweight Championship

No need to create a storyline for this fight. Dos Anjos earned his shot in what is (in my opinion) the toughest division in the UFC and he earned it fair and square. But will it be enough to be a real threat the Pettis ? Maybe. Let’s state the obvious. Anthony Pettis is an absolute beast. After a rough UFC start where he struggled against two featherweight, no one has been able to stop Showtime. And while everyone has been talking about his striking ability, highlighted by the showtime kick (if you never saw it … google it. Right now. Stop everything and do it) landed on Benson Henderson in their first fight, his last two fights has ended … via submission. Underrated ? Not really. The deal with Pettis is pretty simple. The Showtime kick as well as back to back KO/TKO against Cowboy Cerrone and Joe Lauzon put him back on the map after losing to Clay Guida and barely beating Jeremy Stevens. Everyone in the world know that Pettis’ main weapon is its striking and it has opened space for him to showcase his dynamic submission game. No one stopped Gilbert Melendez before Pettis did. And he made it look easy. Even better, Melendez is a BJJ black belt under Cesar Gracie so it’s not like he was a complete rookie on the ground either. That being said, Dos Anjos isn’t a rookie either. Never being really submitted since the only one he suffered (against Clay Guida) was caused by a broken jaw. Also, Dos Anjos looked stellar in his last three fights and is on a 8-1 run in the UFC, defeating Cowboy Cerrone, Benson Henderson and schooling Nate Diaz in the process as well as defeating lower tier fighters. Now, can Dos Anjos actually beat Pettis ? His style is pretty complete and has really step up as of late but … Pettis is Pettis. Aside from a lay n pray gameplan, I have a real tough time to see him actually defeat the champ Saturday. Pettis is just too good and Dos Anjos, despite being a very solid fighter, isn’t the real number one contender in this division. That honor belong to Khabib Nurmagomedov and if he get past Cowboy Cerrone in Vegas … Pettis vs Nurmy will be ONE HELL of a fight. But I wouldn’t be surprise if this one ends in an highlight reel. Maybe Pettis’ legacy is about being one the most exciting fighters of all time ? After all, Showtime said that he wanted to become UFC’s biggest draw and it’s the only way for him to do it.

Pick : Pettis via TKO in round 2.

Co –Main : Carla Esparza © vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk – Strawweight Championship

The women's strawweight division is still brand new and wide open. Esparza may be the champion, but her grip on the division is far from iron, like women's bantamweight queen, Ronda Rousey. This is another chance for Esparza to establish her dominance. It's not even universally recognized that she's the best strawweight on the planet , World Series of Fighting's Jessica Aguilar would certainly disagree , so it's important that each of her performances are impressive. With a victory over the undefeated Muay Thai specialist, Esparza further secures her case as the best in the world. Should Esparza fall to her challenger, she's likely pretty far back in line. Since the division is so new, it will be easy for new, young contenders to suddenly pop up , such as Paige VanZant and Alexa Grasso , and take Esparza's position near the top of the division. While Jedrzejzyk was not expected to contend for the title so quickly, she's definitely earned her way here. If she can capitalize on this opportunity, she'll be the second-ever strawweight champion and have victories over two of the best grapplers in the division. Which says very good things for her future. A loss would certainly make getting back into the title mix difficult, but it would probably be easier for Jedrzejzyk. There aren't a lot of strikers of her caliber in the picture, so any particularly violent victories would really help her stand out. This fight is pretty much everyone’s fight. Joanna’s length and striking might be a TOUGH thing to deal with but so will be Esparza’s pace and agression. But I’m going with Esparza in this one. Jedrzejczyk didn’t convince me enough in her last fight to see her winning the title but this fight is as close as it gets.

Pick : Carla Esparza via Unanimous Decision.

Johny Hendricks vs Matt Brown

This fight is just sick and the winner of this fight will probably fight for the title within the next two years. Hendricks may have lost two of his last three, but both defeats were controversial, and his victory earned him the title. The former champion is not at all far from earning another title shot, as a victory over Brown leaves him perhaps one more fight away from the strap. However, a loss would definitely hurt Hendricks' standing and put a serious delay on his return to gold. There are plenty of excellent welterweights trying to claw their way up, so Hendricks cannot afford to have an off day. While some fans and pundits are still having a hard time accepting it, Brown is definitely a top contender. Should he defeat the former champion, there's a decent chance the strength of his last nine performances will earn him a shot at the belt. If not, then a title eliminator is definitely in order for "The Immortal." If Brown loses to Hendricks, it will be the second time the evolved version of Brown falls to a true top-three welterweight. He may get a third chance, but it will take a strong win streak to get back into the cage with another of the division's elite. Expect a fight of the night, expect Matt Brown to come out like a technical mad men and expect Johny Hendricks to answer with HUGE power punchs (see Condit vs Hendricks). Right now, I’m going with Matt Brown’s pace and aggression. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. We always are one big haymaker away from having an highlight reel KO here. And the fact that this is a 3 round fight will be a good news for Hendricks.

Pick : Matt Brown via Unanimous Decision

Roy Nelson vs Alistair Overeem

While neither man is likely to contend or be cut anytime soon, this will decide which fighter is worthy of his position in the bottom of the top 10. Since Nelson consistently falls to top 10 fighters, this is the perfect test to see whether Overeem is currently among that rank. If he fails against the heavy puncher, then Overeem is not a top-10 fighter, which would be quite a fall since some pundits once ranked him as the best heavyweight in the world. Alternatively, an intelligent game plan and victory could inspire some hope that Overeem will finally live up to expectations. He will have won three of his last four, which in the heavyweight division is enough to earn him a high-profile bout. Nelson's position is pretty clearly established. Until his skills or body decline, he's the gatekeeper to the top 10. This fight won't affect that, it will only dictate which direction Overeem is heading. I do expect this fight to NOT go the distance as it is a classic power puncher against a guy with a declining jaw. And I fully expect Nelson to showcase his power.

Pick : Nelson via KO in round 2

Chris Cariaso vs Henry Cejudo

Flyweight needs new contenders, and Cejudo has major potential. At this point, Demetrious Johnson has beaten a majority of the division, which is why he's next fighting the talented but unheralded Kyoji Horiguchi. If Cejudo is able to take out a legitimate top-10 fighter in Cariaso, expect him to be in the title mix sooner rather than later. On the other hand, should Cejudo lose this bout (or worse, miss weight) a great deal of his hype will dissipate. Cariaso may be a tough scrapper, but he does not have a history of beating top fighters. It's a very long and unlikely road for Cariaso to get back to the title, but a victory over Cejudo would be a pretty spectacular start. Plus, taking out the prospect would undoubtedly secure his position inside the top 10, which is especially important with the Reebok deal coming into play. Cariaso's loss would not really hurt his current chance of being a contender, but that's only because he isn't seen as one. Instead, it would confirm "Kamikaze" as a gatekeeper to the top 10 of the division. I fully expect Cejudo to justify the hype in this one, proving that he is too much for Cariaso.

Pick : Cejudo via UD

 

Prelims

Ross Pearson (16-8) vs. Sam Stout (20-10-1)

Elias Theodorou (10-0) vs. Roger Narvaez (7-1)

Daron Cruickshank (16-5, 1 NC) vs. Beneil Dariush (9-1)

Jared Rosholt (11-2) vs. Josh Copeland (9-1)

Sergio Pettis (12-1) vs. Ryan Benoit (7-3)

Jake Lindsey (9-2) vs. Joe Duffy (12-1)

Germaine de Randamie (4-3) vs. Larissa Pacheco (10-1)

David Loret
From Paris. Editor-in-Chief. IBN Senior MMA and WWE Writer....





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