Monday, 16 March 2015

TV Review: UFC 185 Pettis vs Dos Anjos

The Octagon is our next destination as we take a look book at UFC 185, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on BT Sport here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the flyweight division as Chris Cariaso faced Henry Cejudo.

The main show opener proved to be a very entertaining three rounder with Cejudo putting in a great performance. Cariaso had his moments, and his left kick to the body looked effective at times, but for the most part this was all about Cejudo.

The Olympian looked in top form throughout. His combinations looked crisp, but it was his work in the clinch and on the ground that made people sit up and take notice. He was able to take his man down at will, and once he got there he controlled the action beautifully, and when Cariaso got back to his feet it was only because Cejudo allowed it.

The only times the fight looked like it could end with a stoppage came late in the third when Cejudo went for a neck crank variation and when Cariaso grabbed hold of his leg a few moments later. But neither attempts really went anywhere, and the fight came to it's natural conclusion seconds later.

Which meant that the judges came into action as Cejudo took the unanimous decision.

The big boys of the heavyweight division were next as Roy Nelson took on Alistair Overeem.

There's nothing like seeing two of the biggest hitters in the division going at it, and these two sluggers gave us a hell of a three rounder. Overeem looked in top form throughout as he connected with blow after blow after blow. His kicks to Nelson's lead leg and the right side of his body looked absolutely brutal at times, but perhaps his best weapon was the flying knee to the body and the chin. All of these weapons caused Nelson no end of problems.

It wasn't all one way traffic though. Big Country had his fair share of moments. His big right gave Overeem quite a bit of trouble, as did his left hook towards the end of the fight, but every time he connected with his weapon of choice Overeem always managed to recover and deliver even more punishment.

But with no finish in sight the judges were called into action again as Overeem took the unanimous decision.

It was down to welterweight for the next fight as Johny Hendricks went up against Matt Brown.

The third great three rounder in a row saw former champion Hendricks putting in a top notch performance as he went back to basics and showed what a great wrestler he was. Like others before him on this card he was able to take his opponent down at will, and this, allied with some effective striking, made this performance what it was.

Brown had some good moments, particularly when he went for a few leg triangles, but Hendricks' confidence was such that he was able to avoid these scares before going back to doing what he did best, and by the time the right ended it was pretty obvious who had won.

As for the judges, no surprises there as Hendricks took the unanimous decision.

The co-main vent saw Joanna Jedrzejczyk challenging Carla Esparza for the Women's Strawweight title.

The only fight of the main show that didn't go the distance has to be one of the most one-sided fights I've ever seen. You could call this the tale of the wrestler versus the striker, and on this occasion the striker clearly won.

Esparza's main aim was to take the fight to the ground, but Jedrzejczyk's defence was so sound the champion only managed it one time. It was the only thing she really could do, because her striking skill was virtually non-existent compared to that of her Polish challenger.

Jedrzejczyk's striking was perfect throughout, and to say it was easy for her to dominate the striking exchanges would be a huge understatement, and with Esparza looking exhausted before the end of the first round it was obvious to those with the gift of sight how this one was going to turn out.

It was more of the same when the second round began. Esparza tried and failed with the takedowns again, and with Jedrzejczyk using her for target practice it was only a matter of time, and as the round entered it's final minute the challenger unloaded with a flurry of blows, and with the champion offering nothing in reply the referee wisely stepped in to give Jedrzejczyk the TKO win.

The main event saw Rafael Dos Anjos challenging Anthony Pettis for the Lightweight title.

On a night filled with dominating performances that of Rafael Dos Anjos was the most dominating of all. He controlled the action brilliantly for five rounds, and in the process he made Pettis look a little bit ordinary.

RDA's performance was one of the most rounded and complete I've seen this year. His striking was excellent throughout, and his ground game was even better, and although Pettis was able to get in a few good blows of his own for the most part there just didn't seem anything he could do to stop the Brazilian.

The only thing missing from the challenger's performance was a finish, although that nearly came when he went for a kimura late on. Pettis himself went for the same hold late in the final round, but when Dos Anjos escaped and quickly took Pettis' back it was just another sign of how dominant he'd been.

No finish meant that the judges were called upon for the final time. It was a relatively easy task for them as Dos Anjos took the title-winning unanimous decision.

In conclusion - I think the best way to start this section of my summary is to say what a night! Although most of the fights were pretty one-sided we were treated to a great night of MMA action. Every fight definitely delivered, and even though there was only one stoppage the outstanding performances from start to finish more than made up for that, and it was a joy to see each and every one of these fights.

As for my fight of the night no-prize once again those in the know didn't give an award, so seeing as I'm unable to use them as a guide I'm going for the Pettis/Dos Anjos main event.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give UFC 185 the big thumbs up.