On Saturday, March 14, the UFC hosted UFC 185: Pettis vs. Dos Anjos from the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
In the night’s main event, lightweight champion Anthony Pettis looked to make the second defense of his 155-pound title as he took on Brazilian Rafael dos Anjos. Pettis rode a five-fight winning streak, including back-to-back submission finishes of Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez. Dos Anjos, meanwhile, stepped into the title affair having won eight of his last nine fights inside the Octagon. He demolished the aforementioned Henderson in August and bested former title challenger Nate Diaz in December.
The co-main event of the evening also featured UFC gold on the line as women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza put her belt on the line for the first time as she took on undefeated Polish challenger Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Esparza earned the 115-pound crown by winning TUF 20 and submitting Rose Namajunas in December. Jędrzejczyk upset Brazilian Claudia Gadelha on the scorecards the very next night to earn her title shot.
The 12-fight event kicked off Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET with three fights streaming on UFC Fight Pass. Four additional preliminary card bouts followed at 8 p.m. ET on FX, with the five-fight main card airing live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET.
Brazilian Rafael dos Anjos completely dominated Anthony Pettis from bell-to-bell, capturing the 155-pound title with a lopsided decision win. Dos Anjos pressured Pettis right away, backing him against the fence with kicks and punches. Pettis tried to counter, but he could not match the volume of the Brazilian. Dos Anjos mixed in takedowns in every round, stifling the offense of Pettis. The right eye of Pettis wore the damage of the constant barrage of left hands from dos Anjos, limiting his vision. Dos Anjos attacked with a kimura in round four and a rear-naked choke in round five, but Pettis was able to defend. There was little solace, however, as dos Anjos left the cage with the belt.
Poland’s Joanna Jędrzejczyk remained unbeaten and captured the UFC strawweight title, battering TUF 20 winner Carla Esparza. Esparza immediately looked for the takedown from the opening bell, but Jędrzejczyk stuffed it to set the tone of the fight. On the feet, it was a huge mismatch as Jędrzejczyk battered Esparza with strikes. Round two saw Esparza desperate to get the fight to the mat, but Jędrzejczyk unloaded with massive punches. The shots accumulated, forcing the referee to intervene and save Esparza from further punishment, making Jędrzejczyk the new champion.
Former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks used his wrestling pedigree to dominate Matt Brown. Brown was aggressive early, over committing to his punches and allowing Hendricks to score with big takedowns. Brown was active from his back, but had no answer for the takedowns and top control of Hendricks. Brown never quit, even looking for an inverted triangle choke from the bottom, but Hendricks was simply too much, earning the lopsided decision.
Heavyweight Alistair Overeem put together his most complete performance in the UFC, defeating Roy Nelson by unanimous decision. Overeem attacked early with leg kicks and knees to the body of Nelson. Nelson continued to march forward, but absorbed a barrage of heavy shots. Overeem used his reach advantage throughout, peppering Nelson from range. Overeem rocked Nelson with a head kick in round three, but Nelson returned the favor with a massive left hook in the waning seconds. Overeem survived and claimed the decision.
Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo established himself as a legitimate threat to the flyweight belt with a strong performance against former title challenger Chris Cariaso. Cejudo made the most of his first official bout at 125 pounds, controlling Cariaso from the opening bell. Cariaso landed body kicks early, but the momentum quickly swung to Cejudo, whose boxing and wrestling proved to be too much. He easily controlled Cariaso with takedowns throughout, cruising to the win on the scorecards.
English lightweight Ross Pearson got back in the win column with a second-round knockout of Canadian Sam Stout. The pair traded combinations on the feet during the first five minutes, with each landing solid shots. In round two, the Brit Pearson found his range. As both threw left hooks, Pearson’s connected and sent an unconscious Stout to the mat. A few follow up shots on the mat and it was over.
TUF winner Elias Theodorou remained undefeated, stopping Texas native Roger Narvaez by second-round TKO. The first frame was close as both fighters attacked with single shots. Narvaez controlled the range of the fight early, but in round two, Theodorou swung the tide in his favor. He bloodied the nose of Narvaez and then added body kicks. The shots took their toll as Narvaez crumpled to the mat and the referee stopped the bout.
Despite a perceived striking disadvantage, Iran native Beneil Dariush dominated opponent Daron Cruickshank and coerced a second-round submission. Dariush used kicks to body in the opening stanza to slow the movement of Cruickshank. Late in the round, Dariush looked for a D’arce choke, but the bell prevented him from finishing. In round two, he took the back of Cruickshank and quickly secured the fight-finishing choke.
After a close first round, wrestling stalwart Jared Rosholt battered fellow heavyweight Josh Copeland and earned a third-round TKO win. Copeland kept the fight close early, rocking Rosholt with a right hand. Rosholt survived and used his wrestling pedigree to change the tide of the fight in round two, planting Copeland on the mat. Round three was more of the same, as Rosholt delivered heavy shots from the top to claim the TKO.
Texas native Ryan Benoit spoiled the return of Sergio Pettis to the flyweight division with a second-round TKO. Pettis dominated the first round, scoring with punches, kicks and earning a big sweep after Benoit earned a takedown. Round two featured both fighters throwing big shots, but it was a left hook from Benoit that sent Pettis crashing to the mat. He followed with punches and the fight was waived off.
Ireland’s Joseph Duffy put a quick stamp on the lightweight division in his promotional debut, stopping Jake Lindsey in under two minutes. Duffy was aggressive early, scoring with combinations. A left head kick wobbled Lindsey and Duffy followed with punches to the body that buckled him. The referee saw enough and stopped the contest.
Holland’s Germaine de Randamie used her experience and striking advantage to batter Brazilian Larissa Pacheco and earn a second-round TKO. De Randamie peppered Pacheco with right hands in the first round, but Pachecho survived. In round two, another big right hand hurt Pachecho and de Randamie went for the kill, forcing the referee to step in and halt the bout.