UFC 185: Pettis vs. Dos Anjos – Fight Picks and Kountermove Preview


For the last couple of years, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has gone through a serious change in business model. From stacked cards and a handful of events per quarter the UFC now has shows practically on a weekly basis which leads to a stretching of its resources and a watering down of its product. This week, though, at UFC 185, we have an event which harkens back to the times of yore with championship belts, name fighters, top prospects and pick ’em fights littered throughout the illuminating dozen bouts.

Anthony Pettis (5,800 on Kountermove) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (4,700 on Kountermove)

Headlining all of that is the fascinating lightweight meeting of champion Anthony Pettis and challenger Rafael Dos Anjos. After coming over to the UFC as WEC champion, it has been a bumpy road to the top for “Showtime”. A setback loss to Clay Guida followed by a couple of years ravaged by injury kept Pettis away from the championship picture for much longer than many would have thought. When he did get his shot, though, Pettis literally took it with both hands; finishing Benson Henderson in the first round of their much hyped rematch. Pettis has gone on to defend his belt once, submitting Gilbert Melendez, but the biggest challenges are just around the corner. The first of those in Rafael Dos Anjos – and it won’t be easy. The Brazilian is a 17 fight UFC veteran who has seen a huge career upturn lately. In his first 8 UFC fights, Dos Anjos went 4-4, losing to the likes of Gleison Tibau and, like Pettis, Clay Guida. But in his last 9 bouts Dos Anjos has only lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov while taking out names like Nate Diaz and Benson Henderson respectively in his 8 wins.

This is a real meeting of athletic powerhouses. Dos Anjos is all about fast twitch offence and explosion in everything he does. He has always had that physical ability but results have changed with his newly sculpted technical arsenal. The Brazilian is a lightening quick kickboxer who throws blistering kicks to all three sections of the human body while mixing that up with a wonderful takedown catalogue that leads to a world class top/jiu-jitsu game on the deck. Pettis isn’t as strong or explosive but is the quicker more rangy athlete. On the feet it’s hard to argue with Pettis being the most talented striker in the UFC. The American throws beautiful combinations with his hands while also attacking with a vast array of whipping kicks from anywhere, at any time. On the ground, Pettis has developed a well rounded submission game and his wrestling is always improving but may still be seen as a potential weak point.

When picking a winner in this fight it’s all about the clash of styles. RDA does his best work when attacking at pace but against Pettis such offence will see him slipped, countered and hurt. His takedown game is also elite but, in recent times, Pettis has beaten and finished people with equal, or better, wrestling. In the clinch, Dos Anjos could have some success for a prolonged amount of time but Pettis is so dangerous from the break that the juice may not be worth the squeeze. Add all of that together and there can only be one winner.

My pick – Pettis via KO

Carla Esparza (4,900) vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (4,700)

In the co-main event, the UFC women’s strawweight title will be defended for the very first time as champion Carla Esparza takes on talented Pole Joanna Jedrzejczyk. A former Invicta FC champion, Esparza was the dominant member of the last season of, the champion crowning, ‘The Ultimate Fighter’. In the finale, Esparza had a dangerous bout against submission artist Rose Namajunas but came through a tough start to get the finish and win the title. Jedrzejczyk wasn’t part of the TUF house but was one of the first fighters signed outside of it having impressed UFC brass with a dominant win in Cage Warriors over English veteran Rosi Sexton. Since transitioning to the eight sided cage, Jedrzejczyk has two both of her fights against Juliana Lima and, the highly touted, Claudia Gaedelha.

This fight is a real throwback to the early days of the UFC with a predominant striker taking on a hard nosed wrestler. Esparza, the wrestler, has a marvelous takedown offense and is able to control opponents on the floor better than anyone in her division. She also has a nice technical boxing game but isn’t the biggest puncher at the weight. That mantle goes to her opponent. Jedrzejczyk is a magnificent muay Thai practitioner who throws bombs with her hands and feet with a pop rarely seen amongst the strawweights. The Polish fighter has shown good takedown defence so far in her career and a knack for getting off of her back when she does hit the mat.

We should know who will win this fight pretty early. Jedrzejczyk will want to avoid getting close at all times to execute her striking offence while Esparza will try to close the distance and take the bout south. For me, I don’t think Jedrzejczyk has faced anyone with the wrestling acumen of Esparza yet and, even though her defensive wrestling is good, she will struggle to keep herself vertical. I see Esparza getting an early takedown and dominating throughout. We might even see the first championship round in women’s UFC history.

My pick – Esparza via decision

 Joseph Duffy (5,300) vs. Jake Lindsey (4,300)

As if there weren’t enough highlights on this wonderful card, we get yet another Irishman making his UFC debut on Saturday as Joseph Duffy steps into the Octagon for the first time to take on Jake Lindsey. Having had much success in his early MMA career (including wins over Norman Parke and Conor McGregor) Duffy decided to transition to professional boxing. There, he had a very successful 7-0 career over three years but decided to return to the cage last year and won two fights in Cage Warriors upon his return; before getting the UFC call. Originally, he was slated to take on Vagner Rocha but the Brazilian was forced to pull out because of injury. Instead, Duffy takes on Jake Lindsey who himself entered the UFC a hyped 9-0 fighter. Since then, though, he has lost two on the trot and will be looking to rebound here.

Lindsey is a fairly well rounded fighter with an elusive ground game but on the feet is where he really shines. The American has very nice footwork and is an extremely exciting fighter to watch as he takes one to give one. That might not be the wisest decision against Duffy. The Donegal man really honed his stand up game in his time inside the squared circle and came back to MMA a better fighter. Now training at Tri Star gym in Montreal, that should be even more apparent on Saturday. In his first martial arts stint, Duffy was somewhat of a submission artist but now has the footwork, head movement and shot selection to make him just as dangerous with his soles down. Duffy enters this bout as a big favourite and it looks very deserved after studying the tape. Expect this fight to be a really cracker jack on the feet until someone gets their jack cracked. The way he has taken shots in previous fights, that’ll probably be Lindsey.

My Pick – Duffy via KO


Roy Nelson (4,700) vs. Alistair Overeem (4,900)Nelson absorbs shots and one hit KOs The Reem
Johny Hendricks (5,300) vs. Matt Brown (4,300) – Brown survives lots of damage, Hendricks eventually gets the finish
Chris Cariaso (4,600) vs. Henry Cejudo (5,000)Cejudo dictates the fight, wins the decision
Ross Pearson (5,100) vs. Sam Stout (4,500) – A fun fight ends with Pearson getting a late KO
Elias Theodorou (5,500) vs. Roger Narvaez (4,100) – Takedowns win Theodorou the decision
Daron Cruickshank (5,300) vs. Beneil Dariush (4,300) – A fascinating fight goes to a decision. Dariush edges it
Jared Rosholt (5,100) vs. Josh Copeland (4,500)Rosholt lays on Copeland for three rounds
Sergio Pettis (5,300) vs. Ryan Benoit (4,300) – Enjoyable bout where Pettis wins a decision
Larissa Pacheco (5,000) vs. Germaine de Randamie (4,600) – Goes to a decision, the output of Pacheco wins the day



With a number of 5,000+ favourites on this card it’s a tough choice selecting who should anchor your Kountermove team. Although Anthony Pettis (5,800) has five rounds to land strikes and get the finish, I think Johny Hendricks (5,300), against a slightly outmatched Matt Brown, is a better pick and should get the finish. The real fantasy value on Saturday lays in the next two fights, though. If you can pick the winner of Esparza (4,900) vs. Jedrzejczyk (4,700) and Overeem (4,900) vs. Nelson (4,700) you’ll go a long way to making some bank. Personally, I can’t trust The Reem’s chin and think Jedrzejczyk will get taken down too often.

Outside of that, underdogs Beneil Duriush (4,300) and Sam Stout (4,500) may have some value if you can correctly predict the upset while heavyweight grinder Jared Rosholt (5,100) should be avoided at all costs. My top Kountermove pick, though, has to be Irish debutant Joseph Duffy (5,300) who I fancy to get the knockout pretty early on.

So, to get started playing Kountermove fantasy MMA, simply follow these steps.

1. Click the link – http://www.kountermove.com/r/MMA/654925/

2. Sign up

3. Select a game

4. Select your 5 fighter team while staying under the 25,000 salary cap and submit.

5. Watch the money roll in!

If you haven’t played before, you might want to try the “Fantasy Sports Network’s UFC 185 Freeroll by Morency and Black” freeroll competition. Entry to this tournament is free and 1st place wins $150, 2nd gets $100, 3rd gets $75, 4th and 5th win $50 and more


Joseph Duffy at 4/1 to win via KO is too good of a price to turn down. If accumulators take your fancy you can get Pettis, Esparza, Hendricks, Pearson and Theodorou at just over 9/2.


Early Prelims – Fight Pass @ 10.30pm GMT

Prelims – BT Sport 1 @ 12am GMT

Main Card – BT Sport 1 @ 2am GMT


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 Facebook.com/seansheehanmma

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