Mixed martial arts is possibly the fastest growing sport ever to emerge into the public eye and the top company of the sport, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has truly brought the sport to the next level of recognition. UFC 185, held on March 14, 2015 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, was indeed one of many events that showed the public why this sport is so popular not just in one country, but worldwide as well.
For starters, there is the Fight Pass portion of the event, which held three fights to kick off the event and get the crowd pumped for the real action later on in the evening. The first fight between women’s bantamweights Larissa Pacheco and Germaine de Randamie showed everyone why women deserve their spot in the UFC as de Randamie picked up an impressive TKO win in round 2 after being out of action for a year and a-half and suffering a brutal loss in her last fight. The second bout brought lightweights Jake Lindsey and Joseph Duffy, in which fans see Duffy (who also is one of two men to defeat Conor McGregor) win by an impressive TKO in round 1 over Lindsey giving fans a possible new look at who might be the real Irish warrior of the UFC. Who knows, fans might even get to see a rematch between Duffy and McGregor in the near future. The final fight of the Fight Pass card were flyweights Sergio Pettis (Anthony Pettis’ younger brother) and Ryan Benoit. In this fight Pettis looked strong throughout the fight with his strikes and control of the fight, but before fans knew it Benoit, out of nowhere, snuck in a punch to the face causing the favorite of the fight to fall to the ground and thus put him away with a TKO in round 2 showing everyone once again that the odds do not always mean the fight will happen that way. What made it better was for the fact that Benoit was able to make such a great performance in front of his hometown when Pettis had many fans in the crowd rooting for him.
Next up were the prelims on Fox Sports 1 and to start things off was a heavyweight fight between Texas’ own Jared Rosholt against Josh Copeland. Though this fight started off terrible for what fans expect to see from heavyweight fighters, it began to pick up pace as Rosholt used the energy of the crowd in his home state to give him a win by TKO in round 3, thus getting the crowd more excited on what was to come later on in the night. The next fight would consist of lightweights Daron Cruickshank and Beneil Dariush where fans would see the first and only submission from Dariush by performing a rear-naked choke in round 2 thus earning him a ‘Performance of the Night‘ bonus. After that it was the fight of middleweights Elias Theodorou and Roger Narvaez in which the fight is ended in round 2 by TKO from Theodorou thus defeating Narvaez in his home state. Rounding off the final fight of the prelims between lightweights Ross Pearson and Sam Stout where Pearson not only won, but delivered the first and only knockout of the night in round 2 earning him a ‘Performance of the Night‘ bonus. Fans always love knockouts and Pearson made sure they saw one tonight.
Finally what fans around the world had been waiting for was the pay per-view matches. Starting off the main card was flyweights Chris Cariaso and Henry Cejudo in a fight that was probably not as big as the four after it, but it turned out to start the main card off in the right direction. The former Olympic gold medalist Cejudo proved why he is an opponent to fear as he put on a dominating performance with a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) against one of the top contenders in the flyweight division also making this the first fight to actually last from start to finish. Next up were heavyweights Roy Nelson and Alistair Overeem and unlike the first heavyweight fight of the night this one made up for most of the terrible performances of the first one as both fighters went at each other with heavy blows and near close calls. Throughout the fight Overeem kept his ground and played it safe as he would bring the fight all the way through and win by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) over Nelson. After the fight Overeem made a quick statement saying, “I’m coming for that belt”. Next up was Dallas’ own Johny Hendricks against Matt Brown. Hendricks also fought in Dallas last year at UFC 171 for the vacant Welterweight Title against Robbie Lawler, in which he won by unanimous decision. This time Hendricks was fighting to try to earn another shot at the title after losing it back in December of 2014 at UFC 181 against Lawler by split decision. He made a great statement with his dominating performance over Matt Brown earning him a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). Though fans enjoyed Hendricks’ performance, he did not believe he did as well as he believed he could have and like he always says, he is his own worst critic and he will continue to improve and knows he can fight better. Now it is time for the co-main event of the evening with the first UFC Women’s Strawweight Title defense ever to be held between Carla Esparza and Joanna Jendrzejczyk. Despite being the favorite to win Jendrzejczyk showed amazing skills and a dominating performance over the current champion by stopping all of her takedowns and putting the pressure on Esparza to the point where she would go to win the fight in round 2 and thus becoming the new UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion also earning her a ‘Performance of the Night.’
Finally, the moment UFC fans around the world had been waiting for was the UFC Lightweight Title match between Anthony Pettis and Rafael dos Anjos. With Pettis being the huge favorite to win this dos Anjos pulled off possibly one of the biggest upsets in UFC history as he brought for a total slaughterhouse upon Pettis, who is a fighter than no one could have ever imaged being manhandled the way dos Anjos did for five brutal rounds. Dos Anjos put the pressure on Pettis and never gave him any room to set up for a clean attack thus bringing the current champion’s reign to an end and win a unanimous decision victory (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) in which he became the new UFC Lightweight Champion. The fight also earned dos Anjos a ‘Performance of the Night‘ bonus.
With all that went down at UFC 185 from great fights and performances (four ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses) along with two titles changing hands in one night it was an event that was a huge success and fans look to see many more just like this, especially when it is held in the great state of Texas. After all, “You’d rather bring a big show to Texas or do not bring one at all.”