The journey to UFC 185 for Rafael dos Anjos (23-7-0) started with a training change after watching the regimen of former lightweight champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar.
After seeing Edgar, he knew he needed immediate changes and moved to the USA to make them. It took six years, but his opportunity is finally at hand.
Meanwhile, it’s business as usual for lightweight champ Anthony Pettis (18-2-0) since returning from injury. He stopped Gilbert Melendez with an impressive submission win in his last defence and looks for more of the same tonight, with is brother Sergio watching from the corner.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
UFC 185 odds
MMA Crossfire Expert Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the card.
UFC FIGHT PASS EARLY PRELIMS (6:30 PM ET/3:30PM PT)
LARISSA PACHECO (10-1-0) VS #15 GERMAINE DE RANDAMIE (4-3-0)
Andrews: De Randamie is aware of Jessica Andrade’s win over Pacheco and how she neutralized her standup by taking her to the ground. Pacheco suffered the UFC jitters in that fight too, but she should be more comfortable this time. If de Randamie can get the fight to the ground, then she wins, but I think Pacheco will be prepared enough to catch her on the feet before she can do so.
Andrews Prediction: Larissa Pacheco via TKO.
JAKE “THE LIBRARIAN” LINDSEY (9-2-0) VS JOSEPH “IRISH” DUFFY (12-1-0)
Andrews: Duffy comes in as the last fighter to beat Irish superstar Conor McGregor. Lindsey is good on the feet, but his last two fights have been submission losses. Duffy has a 67% submission rate, so look for Duffy to put away The Librarian on the ground.
Andrews Prediction: Joseph “Irish” Duffy via submission.
SERGIO PETTIS (12-1-0) VS RYAN “BABY FACE” BENOIT (7-3-0)
Andrews: Sergio Pettis continues to improve, but he needs to be careful on the feet with Benoit, who has a 86% knockout rate. Both Benoit have good chins, but the bot are also susceptible on the ground. I expect Pettis to cruise to another decision win.
Andrews Prediction: Sergio Pettis via unanimous decision.
TSN PRELIMS (8PM ET/5PM PT)
JARED “THE BIG SHOW” ROSHOLT (11-2-0) VS JOSH “CUDDLY BEAR” COPELAND (9-1-0)
Andrews: As usual, with the heavyweights, don’t blink. This is Copeland’s second fight in the UFC. He absorbs a lot of shots, without dishing them out proportionally. He can work on the ground however. Rosholt is the better conditioned fighter, who should look to take the starch out and avoid being taken to the ground.
Andrews Prediction: Jared “The Big Show” via TKO.
DARON “DETROIT SUPERSTAR” CRUICKSHANK (16-5-0, 1NC) VS BENEIL DARIUSH (9-1-0)
Note: Cruickshank weighed in at 157.5 lbs and will forfeit 20% of his purse to Dariush.
Andrews: Tough fight to call. Cruickshank was winning the fight with KJ Noons until the eyepoke, Dariush is coming off an impressive upset over TUF winner Carlos Ferreira at UFC 179. I’m going with Dariush.
Andrews Prediction: Beneil Dariush via submission.
ELIAS “THE SPARTAN” THEODOROU (10-0-0) VS ROGER “SILVERBACK” NARVAEZ (7-1-0)
Andrews: Theodorou need to avoid being taken to the ground, which is the strength of Narvaez. If he can do that, which I expect him to do, he should be able to pick apart Narvaez and pile up the points to a decision win.
Andrews Prediction: Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou via unanimous decision.
ROSS “THE REAL DEAL” PEARSON (18-8-0, 1NC) VS “THE HANDS OF STONE” SAM STOUT (21-10-1)
Andrews: Pearson was upset by Al Iaquinta in his last fight, but I expect him to pressure Stout on the feet. Stout likes to counter, so if he catches Pearson, I would not be surprised, but I don’t think that will happen. Pearson will be smarting after the Iaquinta upset. Sam’s UFC run has been good – he is a Fight-Of-The-Night king – but if he loses this one convincingly, I think he will retire soon afterwards. I have to go with Pearson.
Andrews Prediction: Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson via TKO.
MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)
CHRIS CARIASO “KAMIKAZE (17-6-0) VS HENRY CEJUDO “THE MESSENGER” (7-0-0)
Andrews: This is a test for Cejudo and he is trying to send a message to Dana White: Give me Demetrious Johnson. Cariaso looked ordinary losing to Mighty Mouse, but most everyone does. Still, Cejudo and his Olympic gold medal wrestling pedigree should enable him to grind him out and he has a 57% knockout rate in his hip pocket too.
Andrews Prediction: Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo via unanimous decision.
#8 Roy “BIG COUNTRY” NELSON (21-10-0) VS #9 ALISTAIR “THE REEM” OVEREEM (38-14-0, 1NC)
Andrews: This fight is Overeem’s to lose. He has been so inconsistent in the heavyweight division. He’s coming off a win this time and on paper he should win if he uses his kicks to soften up Nelson.
Nelson’s bread and butter is the right hand, but he has a ground game that he hasn’t had to show in a long time. But Mark Hunt reminded him he needs to defend. I think Nelson catches Overeem napping with another one.
Andrews Prediction: Roy “Big Country” Nelson via TKO.
#1 JOHNY “BIGG RIGG” HENDRICKS (16-3-0) VS #5 MATT “THE IMMORTAL” BROWN (21-12-0)
Andrews: Hendricks is the favourite here and for good reason. He’s the only fighter in the division to have arguably beaten GSP and narrowly lost to Lawler in his last contest. He also seems to be in the best shape of his career. Brown is also a tough-as-nails fighter who lost to Lawler, but Hendricks power, wrestling, and gas tank should be enough to put him away.
Andrews Prediction: “Bigg Rigg” Johny Hendricks via unanimous decision.
“THE COOKIE MONSTER” CARLA ESPARZA (11-2-0) VS #1 JOANNA JEDRZECZYK (8-0-0)
Andrews: Watch the UFC 185 Embedded series to see the contrast between these two. Both confident, but Joanna’s sabre-rattling doesn’t have seem have affected the champion. Carla knows she needs to take the fight to the ground; Joanna wants to keep it standing. Rose Namajunas couldn’t break Carla, and I don’t think Joanna will either. Esparza will take some shots early, but will eventually overcome and win the fight with her wrestling.
Andrews Prediction: “The Cookie Monster” Carla Esparza via submission.
ANTHONY ” SHOWTIME” PETTIS (18-2-0) VS RAFAEL DOS ANJOS (23-7-0)
Andrews: Will Clay Guida be in the corner for dos Anjos? Pettis would prefer to keep the fight on the feet to utilize his kicks. Dos Anjos would prefer to take his chances on the ground. Both can win the fight anywhere, and have proved it, but the advantage has to go to Pettis. After his win over Gilbert Melendez, he has an aura around that is eclipsed only by Ronda Rousey. Another finish for Showtime.
Andrews Prediction: Anthony “Showtime” Pettis via TKO.