The Five Count: Top Storylines from UFC 185 Fallout

DosAnjosChampJay Primetown takes a look at the five biggest storylines to develop from UFC 185 in Dallas, Texas #1 Perfect Plan Means New Champ– Heading into UFC 185, most people were calling Anthony Pettis one of the top fighters in the sport. After submitting Ben Henderson and Gilbert Melendez back to back, it was hard to argue with that logic. Rafael dos Anjos entered the lightweight title fight with very few people giving him a chance. Since a loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in April 2014, dos Anjos had put together one of the best runs in the UFC knocking out Jason High and Ben Henderson following those wins up with a dominant decision win over Nate Diaz where he controlled the fight from start to finish. The Niteroi, Brazil born and raised fighter had everything to gain and nothing to lose as he entered the title bout with “Showtime” Pettis. In the past, the champion has struggled with dominant wrestlers, but was able to rely on submissions to get him out of trouble. In his battle with dos Anjos, he would not have that luxury due to the Brazilian’s black belt credentials. From the opening bell, dos Anjos had the perfect game plan. He pressed the American champion not allowing him to open up with his tremendous taekwondo striking. Over the last year, dos Anjos’ hand speed has improved significantly and he was able to test Pettis in the opening round. After that, Pettis was forced to worry about the striking which gave the Brazilian easier opportunities to take the fight to the ground. In every round, dos Anjos was able to take the fight to the floor and control the champion. It was as dominant a 5 round performance as one will see in the octagon. Pettis was dumbfounded having no answers for the new champion. It was the perfect game plan for this particular fight and it was this that was able to secure him some UFC hardware. #2 Polish Power –A former amateur muay Thai world champion and professional kickboxing champion, Poland’s Joanna Jedrzejczyk was one of the most decorated female strikers to ever sign with the UFC. From watching her fight, it appeared that she had the power and technique to contend with anyone on the feet in the UFC in the strawweight division. The biggest question with her would be whether she would be able to hold in the other facets of MMA specifically grappling and submissions. In under a year, Jedrzejczyk went from interesting prospect to UFC champion. When she was able to go toe to toe Claudia Gadelha, it was at that point that many believed in her. Still, Carla Esparza was supposed to be a different kind of test. Esparza was even a more relentless wrestler than Gadelha had shown in the cage and furthermore was better at holding down opponents. In UFC 185’s co-main event, Jedrzejczyk showed even better takedown defense than she did against Gadelha. The Polish strawweight was able to stifle all but one takedown against Esparza. It left the American champion in panic mode as she was forced into a prolonged standup exchange with the Polish fighter. It didn’t take long for Jedrzejczyk to overpower Esparza and force the referee to step in to stop the fight. It was a great performance and made Esparza the first European women’s champion in UFC history. A landmark win. #3 Wrestling Wins –The age old adage in mixed martial arts is that being able to dictate how and/or where a fight takes place gives a fighter the best possible opportunity to win. Good, old fashioned American wrestling is one of the most dominating forms of martial arts and it continues to be that in 2015. Henry Cejudo and Johny Hendricks have some of the best wrestling credentials in the UFC. Cejudo is one of three Olympic gold medalists to ever appear in the UFC, while Hendricks is a two time NCAA Champion and four time All American at Oklahoma St. In their fights against crafty volume strikers Matt Brown and Chris Cariaso, the two American wrestlers combined for 15 takedowns in their decision victories. Cejudo and Hendricks had little trouble taking their fights to the ground nullifying the striking ability of their opponents. Wrestling allowed them to win their fights rather easily and more importantly with very little damage suffered. It allows them to fight again quickly (if they choose) and set themselves up with title shots not too far down the road. #4 Another Irish Gem – Heading into his UFC debut, “Irish” Joe Duffy was known for one thing: being the last fighter to beat Conor McGregor. The 27 year old from Donegal, Ireland entered the UFC with a 12-1 record and a fight on the preliminary card against Jake Lindsey. It didn’t take for Duffy to show what kind of fighter he is. He’s got a very capable boxing game with a strong background with quality hand speed, foot movement, and good varied striking. He showed all of those tools against Jake Lindsey landing a head kick which rocked his opponent following it up with body shots to drop him. In addition to his striking, Duffy has a solid ground game with very strong submissions like he showed in his win over McGregor. It’s possible that Duffy is the most well rounded Irish fighter in the history of MMA. Duffy is a guy who will likely be fast tracked given his all-around competence. It won’t be very long until he is offered top 15 opponents. #5  Preliminary Stoppages– UFC 185 was one of the deeper cards in a long time. A very strong main card with an exciting preliminary card. In a rare instance, all 7 preliminary fights saw a finish. Six knockouts and one submission win. The preliminary portion of the card was highlighted by a stunning knockout by Ryan Benoit of Sergio Pettis. The Duke Roufus-trained fighter dominated the first round battering Benoit. He continued that into the second round until Benoit landed a big shot putting Pettis on his back. It was a shock win for the flyweight and one of the more memorable knockouts of the year thus far. Also on the prelims, Beneil Dariush made a claim for a top 15 ranking with a sound win over Daron Cruickshank plus Ross Pearson likely ended Sam Stout’s UFC career with a clean knockout in the second round. Overall, the fights were fun and that’s all the UFC can ask heading into a strong PPV.  

Written by Jay Primetown

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