It’s fight night tonight in the Big D, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship visits the Lone Star State for two big title fights — and a pretty solid looking undercard, besides.
UFC 185 in Dallas features lightweight kingpin (and pound-for-pound entrant) Anthony Pettis, defending against an able challenger in Rafael Dos Anjos. In the co-main event, the promotion’s women’s strawweight champ, Carla Esparza, battles Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
A bout between two of the top ten welterweights in the world highlights the undercard, with longtime contender Matt Brown taking on former champ Johny Hendricks.
We will offer a play-by-play account of the action beginning at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Please join us and remember to hit refresh often for the latest update!
Preliminary Card (Fight Pass) Results:
Lightweights: Joseph Duffy defeats Jake Lindsey by TKO (high kick and punches) at 1:47 of round one.
Women’s Bantamweights: Germaine de Randamie defeated Larissa Pacheco by TKO (punches) at 2:02 of round two.
Flyweights: Ryan Benoit defeated Sergio Pettis by KO (punch) at 1:34 of round two.
There’s prelim results — play by play is on!
Preliminary Card (FX) Play-By-Play:
Heavyweights: Jared Rosholt (11-2) vs. Josh Copeland (9-1)
Two heavyweight “prospects” here with goofy nicknames. “Big Show” Rosholt was a standout collegiate wrestler, “Cuddly Bear” Copeland known for an all-around game (and, being REALLY BIG, almost 20 pounds heavier than Rosholt). Copeland a -335 favorite.
Round One: A lot of circling to start, and the Dallas crowd begins boo’ing. Rosholt finally shoots, gets Copeland against the cage. Little action there — but Copeland with a short elbow and an uppercut. Ref breaks them up. Copeland shows the better boxing in a tepid standup exchange. Rosholt with a solid right hand. Copeland with a good right to end a combo seems to shake Rosholt up a little. They hug against the cage to end a weak round. 10-9, Copeland.
I'm not sure if the Crowd is Booing or Mooing. #UFC185
— MMA Roasted (@MMARoasted) March 15, 2015
Round Two: The two big guys are circling away from each other as the crowd boo’s. Rosholt hits a short right hand. Copeland shrugs off a takedown. Copeland with a jab. Rosholt finally gets his takedown. Rosholt is deep in half guard, isolating an arm, unloading punches — and moves to knee on belly. Good punches and elbows by Rosholt as time expires. 10-9, Rosholt.
Round Three: Rosholt with a takedown right into side control after a brief standup exchange. Punches to the body by Rosholt. Big punches & elbows to the face from Rosholt. Rosholt advances to knee-on-belly and lands big roundhouse punches until it’s mercifully stopped.
Jared Rosholt defeated Josh Copeland by TKO (punches) at 3:12 of round three.
Catch-weights: Daron Cruickshank (16-5-1) vs. Beneil Dariush (10-1)
“Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank, noted for his striking, failed to make weight so this is at a catch-weight of 157. Dariush, an Iranian-born Assyrian who trains in So-Cal, is a BJJ black belt. Cruickshank is a slight (-125) favorite.
Round One: Dariush circling away in his southpaw stance, lands a pair of leg kicks. Orthodox Curickshank glances with a head kick. Nice body kick from Dariush. Punching combo’s from Cruickshank landing now. Body kick keeps landing from Dariush — the time with Cordeiro in Cali is paying off. Close round. Dariush with a big takedown and lands a series of elbows — looking for a D’Arce choke as well. Fun round. 10-9, Dariush.
Round Two: Frustrated Cruickshank looking for the takedown and gets it, but Dariush maneuvers to the back and starts looking for an armbar. Wild scramble sees Dariush get back mount with body triangle — and gets the choke!
Beneil Dariush defeated Daron Cruickshank by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:48 of round two.
Middleweights: Elias Theodorou (11-0) vs. Roger Narvaez (7-1)
Nice Texas welcome to Corpus Christi native Narvaez. Elias is a Canadian TUF winner and is a big (-325) favorite.
Round One: Man these guys seem big at 185. Narvaez mostly moving away, looking for a right hook counter. Theodorou looking for his kicks from range. Narvaez has a nice leg kick but he looks just a little out-gunned as Theodorou keeps the pressure on. Long jabs and hooks mostly carry the round. 10-9, Theodorou.
Round Two: Long punching to begin the round from Theodorou, then a takedown. Narvaez threatens from guard briefly but Theodorou with posture — and eventually passes. Escape back to the feet and Theodorou with the advantage with his hand and kick combo’s. Another takedown and the ground and pound really coming down now. Ref steps in.
Elias gained 32 lbs since weighing in last night–that's 1 John Dodson. #UFC185
— MMA Roasted (@MMARoasted) March 15, 2015
Elias Theodorou defeats Roger Narvaez by TKO (punches) at 4:07 of round two.
Lightweights: Sam Stout (20-10-1) vs. Ross Pearson (16-8-1)
Canadian Muay Thai standout Stout has gone on a “one win followed by one loss” streak since 2011, eight fights strong — and he lost his last bout so watch out. TUF 9 winner Pearson, who is from England but trains out of Alliance in San Diego, also lost his last bout to Al Iaquinta but remains a big favorite here (-400).
Round One: Pearson showing a good right hand to head and body in early exchanges against Stout. Nice inside leg kick from Pearson. Hand combo’s carrying the day for Pearson mostly in the early going, but Stout with a good body kick and a hard leg kick. He mostly lands the kick after failed punching combo’s. Stout getting closer, lands a good left hook. Uppercut and right land for Pearson. Close round but I’ve got the Brit. 10-9, Pearson.
Round Two: Light exchanges to begin, but a HUGE left hook cracks Stout who drops! One punch on the mat, and the ref steps in. It’s all over!!!
Ross Pearson defeated Sam Stout by TKO (punches) at 1:33 of round two.
Press row is impressed, and so am I.
Well, that completes the best night of UFC prelims we've seen in quite a while. And the show hasn't even really started yet.
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) March 15, 2015
Pay-per-view up next!!!
Main Card (to air on PPV at 10 PM ET/ 7 pm PT)
Flyweights: Henry Cejudo (7-0) vs. Chris Cariaso (17-6)
Olympic gold medalist Cejudo returns to flyweight to take on striker Cariaso, best known for fighting for the title against Demetrious Johnson on short notice. Cejudo a big -650 favorite here.
Round One: Cariaso opens with heavy body kicks out of his southpaw stance. Cejudo quickly hits a takedown, steps into half guard. Cejudo lands knees to the body and leg as Cariaso scrambles to his feet. Right hand lands from Cejudo. Nice high kick from Cejudo. Cejudo clinches him to the cage. Another takedown, Cariaso trying to scramble, eats a knee. Just seems two different levels of athlete here. 10-9, Cejudo.
Round Two: Cejudo keeping the pressure on, winning the punching exchanges. Cariaso avoids takedown against the cage and checks a Cejudo kick, but eats a few to the body. Cejudo shoots and gets another takedown. Cariaso hanging in there, not taking too much damage, but not threatening. He scrambles to his feet and a tepid standup exchange ends the stanza. 10-9, Cejudo.
Cejudo simply another level of athlete. Cariaso a polished performer with esp nice body kicks, but a bit out of his league.#ufc185
— Tommy Hackett (@tommy_hackett) March 15, 2015
Round Three: More of the same, with Cejudo’s unpolished punching and quick snappy takedowns carrying the day. He doesn’t work much to pass the guard and doesn’t worry much about his opponent’s offense. Finally lands in a superior position and looks for a neck crank but Cariaso escapes and briefly threatens with a leglock. 10-9, Cejudo.
Obvious decision is obvious…
Henry Cejudo defeated Chris Cariaso by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Heavyweights: Roy Nelson (20-10) vs. Alistair Overeem (38-14-1)
Two heavyweight contenders who may have seen better days, but as they say, power is the last thing to go. Overeem a -155 favorite.
Round One: Front kick from Overeem to start. He’s moving away, trying to keep distance from Nelson. Knee to the body as they engage briefly. Nelson showing the overhand right. Leg kick from Overeem. Left hook from Nelson. Oblique kicks landing hard from Overeem. Big hand combo’s land from Nelson, including a hard uppercut, as Overeem is briefly backed against the cage; but he makes space and lands the kicks (and knee) again. 10-9, Overeem.
Round Two: Overeem looking great, landing leg kicks galore and moving in for sudden knees upstairs and occasional punches. His superior movement becomes comical — as he literally runs from his opponent after one exchange, earning boo’s from the Texas crowd. But he’s dominating here.
Speaking of Texas:
If I was more cynical, I'd say that Reem looks amazing in front of a notoriously lax commission. But I'm not.
— Carlin Bardsley (@CarlinBardsley) March 15, 2015
Anyway, it’s Overeem’s round. He gets caught against the cage and eats a few shots but comes right back, landing a flying knee and a punch combo… as time winds down. 10-9, Overeem.
Round Three: More movement and leg kicks to begin from Overeem. A big Overeem knee to the groin on an exchange halts the action. Body kick and right hand land from Overeem. Big right hand lands from Nelson. Overeem shrugs off a Nelson takedown. Body kicks landing from Overeem. Flying knees landing from Overeem. Texas crowd boo’ing the slow pace, but it’s working. Big left hook from Nelson scores a knockdown! He’s back up, Nelson again tries the takedown and fails. 10-9, Overeem.
Alistair Overeem defeated Roy Nelson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Welterweights: Johny Hendricks (16-3) vs. Matt Brown (19-12)
Two ferocious, high-ranking welters here, with former champ Hendricks a clear (-400) favorite.
Round One: Hendricks immediately gets takedown off a brief punching exchange. Brown back up, eats a few punches. Hendricks backs him against the cage, takes him down again. Punch lands to the head from Hendricks, but Brown gets guard and maintains good defense. Halfway through round now. Brown threatens triangle. Brown scrambles to his feet. Head kick, punches and knees from Brown. Hendricks clinches again, gets another takedown. Some ground and pound from Hendricks and Brown is bleeding around (both?) his eyes. 10-9, Hendricks.
Round Two: Wild standup exchange to begin, Hendricks hits a hard right and gets the takedown again. Light ground and pound, mostly in half guard, from Hendricks. Minutes pass until they’re stood up. Big Hendricks body kick, he follows with a right hand, then gets the takedown again. Back up, and Hendricks dominating the standup. Brown lands and elbow and is taken down again with a few seconds left. 10-9, Hendricks.
Round Three: Quick exchange of hands — and Hendricks gets his takedown right away this time. Brown looking for a reverse triangle, then escapes to his feet. Hendricks takes him right back down, even with Brown grabbing the fence. Hendricks in side control. Brown re-positions and goes for the reverse triangle again, but Hendricks slips way, gets back on top, and lands more punches. 10-9, Hendricks.
Not a terrible fight or anything but unfortunately, entire main card has been one-sided, slow-ish decision wins.
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) March 15, 2015
Johny Hendricks defeated Matt Brown by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Women’s Strawweights: Carla Esparza (10-2) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (8-0) for Esparza’s UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship
Here we go, the wrestler Esparza (in singlet, no less) against the striker Jedrzejczyk. Esparza a slight favorite.
Round One: Jedrzejczyk sprawls out of an Esparza takedown and lands an elbow. Esparza in on a single, and Jedrzejczyk briefly down — but scrambles right back up. Good right hand from Esparza. Esparza shoots again and gets it, but Jedrzejczyk right back up. Jedrzejczyk with a hard right. She escapes again, starting to find her range. Elbow has Esparza on the run as time expires. 10-9, Jedrzejczyk.
Round Two: Jedrzejczyk flowing now, landing punching and elbow combo’s. Esparza shoots several times and gets stuffed. 1-2 backs Esparza up. Right hands landing hard. Jedrzejczyk walking Esparza down, lands a 3-2. Esparza clinches and is shrugged off again. It’s an ugly rout by the time the referee steps in — we have a new champion!
— Mauro Ranallo (@mauroranallo) March 15, 2015
Joanna Jedrzejczyk defeated Carla Esparza by TKO (punches) at 4:17 of round two. Jedrzejczyk is the new UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion!
And… it’s main event time.
Lightweights: Anthony Pettis (18-2) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (23-7) for Pettis’ UFC Lightweight Championship
Here we go! Pettis a -500 favorite.
Round One: Pettis comes out orthodox, looking for high kick. Dos Anjos looking for body kick, eats a hard right. They clinch, Dos Anjos with a heavy left and a knee to the body. Dos Anjos stalking, big body shot. Pettis with a leg kick and flying knee. Action is quick here! 1-2 by Pettis, hard straight left by Dos Anjos. Pettis catches him coming in with a right. RIght hook from Dos Anjos, out-landing Pettis two to one now. I thought there would be a deficit in speed for Dos Anjos — but that’s not the case. Dos Anjos with a takedown as time wears down. 10-9, Dos Anjos.
Round Two: Pettis’ eye is a little messed up and RDA keeps the pressure on. Dos Anjos with straight lefts that stagger Pettis. Body kick from Pettis. Dos Anjos lands a 1-2 and a leg kick. Takedown from Dos Anjos. Pettis in guard, taking some light ground-and-pound. Pettis bleeding as elbows start raining down. Pettis bloodied and battered as the round wears down. 10-9, Dos Anjos.
Round Three: Dos Anjos momentarily slowed by an eye poke. Pettis lands a head kick on the re-start. Nice punching combo’s from Pettis as he moves backwards, but Dos Anjos gets another takedown. Light ground-and-pound, Pettic scrambles up. Big knees to the leg from RDA. Pettis circles away, hits the head kick again. RDA with a punching combo and another takedown. Dos Anjos works to the back for hammer-fists as time expires. 10-9, Dos Anjos.
Round Four: Dos Anjos walks through Pettis’ shots, landing hand combinations and hitting another double leg. RDA moves to side control and gets a Kimura grip. RDA moves to north-south but Pettis slips out from the grip. RDA maneuvers to the back, Pettis scrambles to his feet. Pettis with a takedown, but RDA springs right back up. RDA manhandling Pettis, clubs the champ with body kicks and punches. 10-9, Dos Anjos.
Round Five: RDA walking his opponent down, hitting kicks to legs and body as well. Takedown, Dos Anjos. Knee to the body from Dos Anjos. Light ground-and-pound from Dos Anjos. Pettis back to his feet, can’t get anything going before he’s taken down again. A few shots from RDA. Pettis trying to isolate the arm for a Kimura. RDA escapes, gets the back and looks for a choke as time expires. 10-9, Dos Anjos.
What a victory.
Rafael dos Anjos defeated Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45). Dos Anjos is the new UFC Lightweight Champion.
“I’m the best in the world,” Dos Anjos says in a post-fight interview. “Thanks Jesus for that.”
That’s all folks. Thanks for joining us! See you next time.