UFC 185 Preview

ufc_185The UFC is back and they return with what could turn out to be the best card of the year as UFC 185 is stacked with great matchups.

The great card that features a heavyweight fight between Alistair Overeem and Roy Nelson along with a powerful welterweight matchup between Johny Hendricks and Matt Brown is highlighted by two title fights in the main and co-main event.

First the new women of the UFC take another step towards establishing themselves as another great division in the promotion.

UFC’s Strawweight division is the newest addition to an ever-growing roster of great fighters and it came in with style.

After sixteen strawweights entered the infamous Ultimate Fighter house one emerged as the first UFC Strawweight champion. That fighter was the former Invicta champion at the same weight class as Carla Esparza took out the young Rose Namajunas.

Despite the fact that many saw the fight as the arrival of a new young woman ready to take the UFC by storm, Esparza was not ready to end her reign as the Strawweight champion in the weight classes best promotion.

Namajunas was expected to be the winner but Esparza took the title with a third round submission and became the latest fighter to enter the ranks of the champions. Now she looks to begin her reign as the champion and is hoping to start on a path to stardom like Ronda Rousey.

She will take on the hard-hitting Joanna Jędrzejczyk in the first Strawweight title defence. Jędrzejczyk began her UFC career with an impressive win against Cláudia Gadelha in the first Strawweight fight in UFC history. The split decision win gave her the position of top contender as she looks to show that the Strawweight division can be just as exciting as the bantamweights.

Only a few weeks after the bantamweights took over the UFC the new women’s division gets to show its true colours. On one side the hard-hitting Jędrzejczyk will look to keep this fight standing and show her stand up game. The other side will be Esparza who will try to use her wresting to take the fight to the ground and end it there.

The classic matchup of wrestler against striker will take focus in the newest division in the UFC as the women remain a focus for another weekend.

They won’t be the only ones taking centre stage though as the main event will feature the lightweight champion on his crusade to join the great champions.

Anthony Pettis has long had that reputation of being potentially another dominant champion.

His creative moves and ability to excite the crowd had made him a fan favourite long before he won the WEC championship. After winning that title, thanks in large part to his now signature showtime kick, Pettis got the chance to enter the UFC.

When he got to his new home the lightweight division was in a backlog for the championship with Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, and Benson Henderson all trying to get the title.

With that complicated group at the top the time for Pettis to step forward took some time despite many believing he was set to be the champion of the future.

Finally Pettis got his chance to take the title and did so against Henderson but when preparing for his next fight he suffered a knee injury that kept him out of the octagon while he extended his time out of the octagon by participating in The Ultimate Fighter.

In his absence the list of contenders has grown in the division and in December 2014 he took out the first of what he hopes to be many challengers in the division.

Returning for the first time in over a year Pettis took on Gilbert Melendez and defended his title with a second round submission.

Now Pettis is on to the next one as he looks to begin the long road to clearing out the most talented division in the UFC. It won’t be easy though as the lightweight division has some of the best fighters in the UFC and they will all be looking to keep the tradition of no dominant champions in the division.mma-sidebar.fw

The next one up has long been named as Khabib Nurmagomedov but after injuries have kept him sidelined for a year, Rafael dos Anjos will take his place as the top contender.

dos Anjos has been on a tear as of late winning eight of his last nine fights, his only loss in that time coming at the hands of Nurmagomedov, who makes his return in May this year.

He will take that momentum into his fight against Pettis in a fight that will match two very different strikers.

Both are more than happy to stay standing although they each possess a strong ground game as well.

For dos Anjos the stand-up game is all about being aggressive and tough as he comes forward and will take damage to give some back. If the fight goes to the ground he has the BJJ background to compete with most top-level jiu jistu practitioners.

Pettis is different in the way he approaches the stand-up game as he prefers to come after opponents with things they have never seen. Nobody would have imagined to jump of the cage and in order to launch a kick in a real fight, but Pettis did it in his title fight against Benson Henderson in the WEC.

These are the moves that Pettis likes to bring to the cage as he hopes to keep his opponents off-balance by throwing strikes from everywhere. For much of the talk surrounding his stand-up, Pettis is also a good ground fighter that can hold his own and earn a finish with great jiu jitsu.

Both are well-rounded fighters but they will likely stay standing for a while as they try to get the advantage using their style of striking. If the fight goes to the ground both will be comfortable in what should be a close fight.

In the end though the champion is still the champion for a reason and despite dos Anjos’ talent he won’t be able to overcome the creativity of Pettis. It will be another tough fight and tough win for Pettis as he is just getting started in the shark tank that is the lightweight division.

Once again the UFC has put together a great fight card and aside from any last-minute injuries UFC 185 will go down as a great card with great fights including two title fights in two of the most intriguing divisions in the UFC.

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