UFC 185 takes place tomorrow night in Texas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Anthony Pettis vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Dos Anjos has been doing very well lately, showing impressive improvement in his stand-up with a marked increase in power to go with his already excellent BJJ skills.
Has his striking evolved enough to beat Pettis though? I don’t think so. As good as he is, Pettis is better. The champion is technically very sound with a great sense of timing and distance, he thrives in the spotlight, has natural creativity and a vast array of weapons at his disposal which makes him unpredictable and highly dangerous on night’s like these.
Pettis has also rounded off his weaknesses over the years, shoring up his wrestling defense and proving himself very capable from a jiu-jitsu standpoint so he’ll not be overly concerned with engaging in that regard if he has too, but I expect him to work to keep this one standing, and gradually showcase the superior firepower to claim a third round TKO victory.
Anthony Pettis to win by TKO in Rd3.
Carla Esparza vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Jedrzejczyk kickboxing ability is a stand-out in her division, offering up a high volume offensive onslaught with good accuracy, power and variety.
Unfortunately for her she’s facing the stand-out wrestler in the 115lb division who’s already comfortably taken out a quality striker in the shape of Rose Namajunas to win the title.
I think Jedrzejczyk will struggle to fend off Esparza’s wrestling and find herself getting frustrated by the limited space and time she’s going to be given here to make her impression felt. In the end I think that’ll pay off for Esparza as she find an opening on the mat for a submission victory to retain her title.
Carla Esparza to win by submission in Rd4.
Johny Hendricks vs. Matt Brown
Matt Brown is as tough as they come and his no-nonsense, straight-ahead striking style has taken him further than anyone would have expected in recent years, but as with his last fight I think he comes off second best here when up against one of the divisions top contenders.
Hendricks is tough himself, but hits harder, has the wrestling advantage and in a three round fight he shouldn’t have to worry about running on empty in the championship rounds so I expect him to be firing on all cylinders here.
I expect a competitive encounter that probably goes the distance with Hendricks emerging with his hand raised.
Johny Hendricks to win by decision.
Roy Nelson vs. Alistair Overeem
Well this could easily go either way, couldn’t it? Nelson’s offense is limited, his cardio is poor, but there’s no denying he hits ridiculously hard and that might be all he needs against Overeem’s notoriously fragile chin.
On the other hand Overeem has the better striking overall, is more versatile and will enjoy a big height and reach advantage on the night. He’s also shown a willingness to us wrestling to grind out a win if necessary.
Overeem has the defensive skills necessary to protect his chin, but in recent times he seems to suffer from mental lapses where he leaves himself open to attack and pays the price for it. Nevertheless, while it’s a long way from a confident pick, I’m taking Overeem to win and I think knees to the midsection could be the key here, either stopping Nelson in his tracks, or at least taking the wind out of his sails.
Alistair Overeem to win by decision.
Henry Cejudo vs. Chris Cariaso
Cariaso is a solid all-rounder, but Cejudo has the ability to be something special with his already world class wrestling being complimented by the kind of natural athleticism that’s made his transition to MMA’s other disciplines smoother than it would be for most others.
That’s not to say he’s not still a work in progress – it’s definitely best to fight him now rather than a few years down the line when he’s fully settled in – but either way I like Cejudo to get the win here with a strong performance on the mat.
Of course that’s all assuming that he makes weight this time around!
Henry Cejudo to win by decision.
Sam Stout vs. Ross Pearson
Elias Theodorou vs. Roger Narvaez
Daron Cruickshank vs. Beneil Dariush
Jared Rosholt vs. Josh Copeland
Sergio Pettis vs. Ryan Benoit
Jake Lindsey vs. Joseph Duffy
Larissa Pacheco vs. Germaine de Randamie