The Sunday Aftermath – UFC 185


The American Airlines Centre in sunny Dallas, Texas was the host for this week’s main MMA action as two titles were up for grabs. On paper, Saturday night’s dozen fights were, by far, the strongest selection the ultimate fighting championship has put forward this year and in practice it also delivered.

Rampant Rafael

The main event of the evening had all the marbles on the line as champion Anthony Pettis took on the in-form Rafael Dos Anjos for the famed UFC lightweight strap. Although Dos Anjos started with the more impetus and immediately took the centre of the Octagon, Pettis seemed happy and landed a nice head kick off the back foot. Dos Anjos wasn’t perturbed though and upped the pressure with plenty of successfully landed punch combinations to the head, and kicks to the body of the champ. Pettis did well to counter but RDA was landing with the harder, come forward shots. Two kicks to the body midway through the round were the hardest of the first five and had Pettis on the retreat while a perfectly timed left hand, followed by a takedown moments later were enough to secure Dos Anjos the round.

Pettis tried harder for cage position early in the second but to no avail. Dos Anjos was relentless with his pressure and pushed Pettis against the cage before landing some damage. From the break, Pettis put a thumping kick into the liver of Dos Anjos who immediately went for, and got, a takedown. Pettis was active off of his back but so was RDA on top as he controlled the action, landing lots of ground and pound, for the remainder of the round.

Pettis’ face looked badly damaged to start the third and a straight left hand landed by Dos Anjos (plus an eyepoke) didn’t help that. From the eyepoke restart Pettis seemed rejuvenated and landed a rapid head kick which Dos Anjos ate. The American looked to be loosening up on the feet but, again, Dos Anjos went to his wrestling and took the fight to the deck. There, Pettis took a few shots but managed to get back to his feet following some more damage in the clinch. Pettis then threw another head seeking kick which didn’t connect as they breaked and was soon taken down two more times in a third, clearly lost, round.

The 4th round saw the best exchanges of the fight in the early goings as they traded body kicks and right hands, but a Dos Anjos takedown 90 seconds in ended all of that. On the ground, Dos Anjos decided to go on the attack and went for the submission, attempting to grab a kimura from the north/south position but Pettis defended well and escaped. From the break, Dos Anjos took the back but Pettis quickly slipped out and got off some offensive clinching of his own as he pushed RDA against the fence and even briefly took him down. But, by the end of the round, Dos Anjos was again in control and had Pettis on his back.

Four rounds down on the cards, Pettis needed a finish in the final round and came out flying with a knee which Dos Anjos dodged. From there they again traded some kicks but both men looked tired and Dos Anjos, as he did all night, got the takedown with consummate ease. The Brazilian quickly transitioned to side control, and then to the back but gave Pettis some space and he got away. The champion, drained off all endeavor, threw one right hand before being taken down again. This time there was no getting up and Dos Anjos saw out the fight, appropriately, having his way with Pettis on the floor.

After a magic performance from Dos Anjos it’s now back to the drawing board for Pettis and onto the batch of ready challengers for RDA with Donald Cerrone and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who are due to fight later this summer, heading the queue.

Joanna Champion

History was made in the co-main event as the women’s strawweight title was up to be defended for the very first time with the inaugural champion, Carla Esparza, battling decorated striker Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the gold. As we knew it would be, the wrestler vs. striker battle was fascinating all through the bout.

It was a really slow start from both as neither woman was too anxious to attack first. Jedrzejczyk threw a few feelers early but the first real attack was an Esparza takedown which was stuffed – that would become a theme. On the second takedown try, Jedrzejczyk was briefly put down but quickly came back to her feet. Esparza wasn’t finished there though and had two more takedowns stuffed by the impressive Polish fighter.

As the opening round progressed, Jedrzejczyk was able to get off some nice striking and even hurt Esparza (who couldn’t get any ground control) with a right hand.

In the second, Esparza, again, immediately went to the takedown but, again, Jedrzejczyk easily stuffed it. On the feet Esparza was beginning to struggle badly and ate a series of strikes either side of two more easily stopped takedowns. Jedrzejczyk’s striking, by the midpoint of the second, looked as crisp as it ever has, while the face of Esparza become evermore red and downtrodden.

As Esparza seemingly gave up on her ineffective wrestling, Jedrzejczyk’s confidence was there for all to see. The Pole clearly upped the pace and began to land at will. With a minute left in the second, the fight was only going one way and, as Jedrzejczyk landed upwards of fifteen unanswered blows, the referee was forced to step in and stop the fight – crowning Jedrzejczyk as the only current European UFC champion after an unbelievable display of takedown defence and striking offence. With the division still in its infancy, it’s difficult to tell who’s next up for the new champ but with names like Gadelha, Calderwood, Daly, Van Zant and Penne around the top-10 there is no shortage of quality options.

Demolition, ya know what I mean?

Outside of the top two bouts there were plenty of other mouth watering match ups to remember. Former welterweight champion Johnny Hendricks was back in action for the first time since he lost his title to Robbie Lawler as he took on gritty veteran Matt Brown. It was a pretty good start from Brown who came out light on his feet and had his opponent backing up momentarily. Immediately, though, it was clear Hendricks had a big advantage in most areas – especially the wrestling. Brown was taken down repeatedly throughout the fight but looked dangerous off of his back in the first round. Hendricks wasn’t able to get off too much offence but what he did do, as the fight went into the second, was make Brown tired and less effective. Late in the fight Brown tried hard to get his game going but he just couldn’t stop the wrestling as Hendricks got takedown after takedown to secure the decision victory.

Then, former MMA belt holders Alistair Overeem and Roy Nelson put on an exhilarating three round scrap in the heavyweight division. It was all Overeem early as he kept his range, attacked the body and avoided all the big strikes of Nelson. He kept that up into the second round but ate a huge right hand from Nelson which he did well to survive. In the third, Overeem was clearly ahead in the general exchanges but Nelson looked extremely dangerous throughout and almost finished the Dutchman inside the last twenty seconds with another right hand – but it wasn’t to be. With two wins in a row for the first time in the UFC, after getting the judges’ decision, it’s onwards and upward for Overeem who now has his sights set on the 265 lbs title.

Outise of that, there were also wins on the card for Olympic wrestling gold medallist Henry Cejudo, Beneil Dariush, Ryan Benoit and Irish debutant Joseph Duffy who finished Jake Lindsey early in the first round (Read more about Duffy’s win by clicking…. here)


Full UFC 185 results
Rafael dos Anjos def. Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision
Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Carla Esparza via second round KO (4:17)
Johny Hendricks def. Matt Brown via unanimous decision
Alistair Overeem def. Roy Nelson via unanimous decision
Henry Cejudo def. Chris Cariaso via unanimous decision

Ross Pearson def. Sam Stout via second round KO (1:33)
Elias Theodorou def. Roger Narvaez via second round TKO (4:07)
Beneil Dariush def. Daron Cruickshank via second round submission (2.48)
Jared Rosholt def. Josh Copeland via third round TKO (3:12)
Ryan Benoit def. Sergio Pettis via second round TKO (1:34)
Joseph Duffy def. Jake Lindsey via first round TKO (1:47)
Germaine de Randamie def. Larissa Pacheco via second round TKO (2:02)

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.