Rafael dos Anjos produced the performance of his career tonight at UFC 185 as he dominated Anthony Pettis from start to finish to become the new UFC lightweight champion.
The main event of the evening is underway. No glove touch here. High kick straight away from Pettis that’s blocked and then another that’s also stopped. Body kick from Dos Anjos in return.
Big left hand tags Pettis. Dos Anjos taking the center of the cage her and he lands another big punch. Brief clinch and knees are flying from these two lightweights.
Pettis having to move on the outside here and a high kick from Dos Anjos is blocked. Lots of pressure from the Braziliand he lands a big body kick. Pettis lands a big one of his own.
Another huge body kick and a punch from Dos Anjos. He looks excellent again tonight. Another body kick. Pettis with a left and a right.
They exchange in close and both are letting their hands go. Pettis with a nice counter and a left and right. Big strikes in return from Dos Anjos though and he’s really pressuring Pettis.
Another big body kick from Dos Anjos. He lands to the leg now. Left and right from Pettis and Dos Anjos tries for a head kick.
Nice work from Pettis including an uppercut, but then Dos Anjos lands a big uppercut of his own. Pettis misses with punches as Dos Anjos ducks under and gets a takedown. Excellent stuff from Dos Anjos this far and Pettis is not used to not getting his way on the feet. It’ll be interesting to see how he adapts.
For now he’s on the mat though, but manages to get back up in the final seconds and is met with some solid elbows. Pettis has marking below his right eye.
Leg kick from Dos Anjos. Pettis with a push kick. He lands a right hand. Big left from Dos Anjos and he’s got Pettis up against the cage now working into the clinch looking for a takedown.
Pettis gets free and lands a big body kick. Dos Anjos with a leg kick and a punch. Pettis gets off the cage and lands a series of punches.
Dos Anjos leaps in with an elbow and then a takedown attempt that pays off. Pettis flat on his back now and has the challenger in his guard.
Dos Anjos lands a couple of strikes and Pettis tries to throw up his legs for a submission, but nothing doing. Punches to the body and head from the challenger. Solid elbows and Pettis has some blood around his right eye. More solid shots from Dos Anjos. He’s posturing up, but then drops into the guard again.
Getting some good punches and elbows in here at times in the final minute of the round. Final seconds and Pettis throws his legs up, but no submission attempt before the bell sounds. Another big round for Dos Anjos. Pettis needs to change the momentum of this fight quickly.
Leg kicks to start from Dos Anjos. Kick from Dos Anjos to the body and a punch in return from Pettis. Big left hand snaps Pettis’ head back. Inadvertent eye poke from Pettis forces a brief stoppage.
Dos Anjos right back pressuring and snaps off another leg kick. Punches now, but Pettis goes upstairs with a head kick that Dos Anjos just takes.
Pettis with a couple of pcunehs then moves away. Then again, finding some success with the uppercut in these exchanges.
Two punches to the body from Dos Anjos and then a comfortable takedown with more than three minutes remaining in the middle stanza of this five round title fight.
Pettis uses the cage to get to his knees and stands, but Rafael dos Anjos is still wearing on him. Dos Anjos landing knees to his legs as they stay in the clinch. Punch and a head kick attempt from Pettis, but it’s blocked.
Dos Anjos with punches and then swoops in for the takedown. He sucks Pettis’ hips out from under him and lands it. Pettis with his back to the cage and tries to stand. Eventually he does so, but Dos Anjos is still on him and pulls him down.
30 seconds to go. Dos Anjos manages to get his back and lands hammerfists to his head.
At this stage it looks like the champion now needs to find a finish in the remaining two rounds if he wants to keep the belt.
Pettis with a front kick to the face that misses. He lands the jab a couple of times and then eats a body kick from Dos Anjos.
Punch to the body from Pettis. Dos Anjos with the jab. Body punch and then a hook from the Brazilian. Pettis with a hard body kick and then another.
Dos Anjos just presses forward regardless though and backs Pettis up against the cage. Dos Anjos in on the inevitable takedown attempt and lands it. Pettis tries a reversal, but Dos Anjos stops it and remains on top in side control.
Dos Anjos working for a kimura now with three minutes of the round to go. Pettis fighting to keep his hands locked and then manages to scramble out of the attempt, but Dos Anjos is still on him and takes his back.
Suddenly Pettis scrambles and gets out and on top. Now he’s the one looking for a takedown and he gets it for the blink of an eye. Dos Anjos upright again with Pettis pressing him against the cage.
Dos Anjos drags him down to the mat. Pettis up and Dos Anjos clinching up looking for another opportunity to get him down.
He opts for a trip and that works. Pettis gets up with seconds remaining only to be met with a couple of kicks.
One round to go then. Dos Anjos with a flying knee attempt. Pettis with a leg kick and then is met with punches. Dos Anjos with a body kick then is met with a leg kick.
Dos Anjos with a left hand. Body kick each and then Dos Anjos is in on a takedown attempt against the cage. Dos Anjos still looks fresh here after a terrific performance through the first four rounds.
They separate and a body and leg kick lands for Dos Anjos before another takedown attempt and he gets it, straight into side control.
Dos Anjos is three minutes from taking the title now. Pettis trying to find a way out, but no joy. He rolls to his knees and stands, but Dos Anjos is still clinched up.
They separate with just over two minutes remaining. Dos Anjos with a hard kick to the body. Pettis with a few punches, but lacks snap at this stage in the fight and soon after is taken down yet again.
Pettis trying to wall walk, but Pettis is very heavy and skilled on top. Pettis trying for a kimura off his back, but Dos Anjos shakes it free and gets his back with 30 seconds to go. Punches to the body and they roll with Dos Anjos remaining attached to him and that’s how the fight ends.
Absolutely no doubt about the winner here, from start to finish Dos Anjos was the better man. His takedowns and top control was the biggest difference between them, but Dos Anjos also managed to best Pettis in the striking department and showed a better gas tank despite relentlessly pushing the pace. A brilliant display that’s reflected in a clean sweep on the judges scorecards (50-45 x3).