Rating the Card: UFC 185 (8/10)

joanna-jedrzejczyk My latest column at MMAOddsbreaker.com is my Rating the Card article, where I will take a look back at all the major MMA events and recap the event and then give my overall score of the card. For this instalment the column, we will look at UFC 185. The UFC 185 card started off with a bang on Fight Pass, with all three of the online-only streaming fights ending via stoppage. In the first bout, a women’s bantamweight contest, veteran muay Thai striker Germaine de Randamie showed sharp kickboxing skills as she was able to batter youngster Larissa Pacheco and win via second-round TKO. De Randamie looked great, while for Pacheco it’s back to the drawing board, and possibly back to the Brazilian regional circuit. Next up was the UFC debut of Joseph Duffy, a.k.a. “The Last Man to Beat Conor McGregor.” Duffy took on an overmatched Jake Lindsey in a lightweight affair and absolutely beat the brakes off the American, finishing him with a brutal head kick and punches. Duffy is going to drop down to 145lbs for his next fight, and I think he’ll be a contender there. As for Lindsey, he should be cut. And then in the final Fight Pass prelim, a giant upset occurred as Ryan Benoit overcame a tough first round to knock out Sergio Pettis in the second round of their flyweight bout with punches. I still don’t think Benoit is anything special, and I don’t expect him to last long in the UFC, but this was a huge win for him, no doubt about it. As for Pettis, he has a ton to work on, and after getting dropped in his last two fighs, one has to question his chin. Kicking off the televised portion of the preliminary card was a heavyweight bout between Jared Rosholt and Josh Copeland. Rosholt was able to implement a wrestling-heavy attack and take Copeland down at will, finally getting a dominant position in the third and finishing with ground and pound. The win upped Rosholt’s record to 4-1 in the UFC while Copeland dropped to 0-2 and will surely be released from the promotion. Then it was time for a lightweight fight between Beneil Dariush and Daron Cruickshank. Dariush entered the fight as the underdog but he absolutely dominated Cruickshank in every facet of the game before finishing the fight in the second round with a rear-naked choke. Dariush is now 4-1 in the UFC while Cruickshank dropped to 6-4, 1 NC. Next up was a middleweight bout between TUF Nations winner Elias Theodorou and native Texan Roger Narvaez. This wasn’t an easy matchup for Theodorou by any means, but he looked great as he was able to break Narvaez’ arm with a kick and then break his will with a second-round TKO. Theodorou is now 3-0 in the UFC while Narvaez is 1-2 and could be looking at a pink slip with another loss. And in the final televised prelim, Ross Pearson proved why he was such a big favorite over Sam Stout as he finished the Canadian in the second round with punches. Pearson isn’t a contender, but he’s definitely a solid gatekeeper at 155lbs, while Stout is likely looking at retirement after his second-straight knockout loss. Pearson improved to 9-5, 1 NC in the Octagon, while Stout dropped to 9-10. In the PPV opener Henry Cejudo styled on Chris Cariaso but wasn’t able to get the stoppage, instead earning a 15-minute unanimous decision victory. Cejudo’s wrestling and boxing looked excellent in the fight and he said he’s ready for a flyweight title shot, but the fact he didn’t get a finish doesn’t help his cause. With the win Cejudo improved to 2-0 in the UFC while Cariaso dropped to 7-5. There were a number of question marks surrounding Alistair Overeem but he managed to answer those questions and more as he dominated Roy Nelson on the feet en route to a unanimous decision victory. Overeem’s chin surprisingly help up during the fight and he looked great. He’s now 4-3 in the UFC, while Nelson is 7-7 now. Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks had a very workmanlike performance against Matt Brown, earning himself a unanimous decision win and perhaps the next UFC welterweight title shot once Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald settle their differences. Hendricks is now in the UFC while Brown is. The co-main event saw Joanna Jedzrejczyk defeat Carla Esparza via second-round TKO to win the UFC women’s strawweight title. Jedrzejczyk’s wrestling was on point, her striking looked amazing as usual, and she was able to use all of her mixed martial arts skills to earn the upset and win the title. She’s 3-0 in the UFC now while Esparza is 1-1. The main event saw Rafael dos Anjos beat up Anthony Pettis on the ground and on the feet for a clear-cut unanimous decision victory that earned him the UFC lightweight championship. Dos Anjos looked amazing in this fight, and is by far the most improved fighter in the UFC – it’s not even close. He’s now 12-5 in the UFC while Pettis is 5-2. Overall I’d rank this card and 8/10. The prelims were absolutely outstanding with all the finishes, but much of the main card seemed to drag on. The two upsets in the title fights were nice to see as a fan, but overall four decisions on the main card drowned out the buzz from the seven finishes on the prelims. It was a solid card overall, and worthy of the PPV price, but hopefully the next PPV is even better.

Written by Adam Martin.

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