UFC 185 takes place tonight from Dallas with two titles on the line.
Courtesy the UFC’s fine media department, check out a series of news and notes involving those involved, along with a special “By The Numbers” look at the fighters:
IT’S SHOWTIME! DON’T BLINK
Current lightweight champ and No. 5 pound-for-pound fighter Anthony Pettis had quite an impressive 2014. After submitting Gilbert Melendez in the second round at UFC 181 to retain his title and appearing on the cover of the famed Wheaties box, Pettis is hoping for a similar 2015 campaign. With four consecutive victories all coming by finish, Pettis has truly lived up to the “Showtime” moniker. The Milwaukee native has established himself as one of the most dominant fighters in the UFC and has also quickly become one of the most entertaining inside the Octagon. With a list of challengers that isn’t likely to run out any time soon, the lightweight champ continues his quest to become one of the sport’s all-time greats.
Long-considered to be one of the deepest and toughest weight classes in the UFC, the lightweight division has yet to see its first Brazilian champion. Enter No. 1 contender Rafael dos Anjos. The 30-year-old from Rio produced a stretch of victories that culminated with decisive victories over former 155-pound kingpin Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz that both shocked and impressed the MMA community. The dominant performance over Diaz was enough to earn the Kings MMA fighter a shot at the title. Can he become the first Brazilian to earn gold in the storied division?
Fresh off winning the first-ever all-female season of The Ultimate Fighter and defeating Rose Namajunas to become the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champ, Carla Esparza now makes her first title defense in the UFC’s newest weight class. With a chance to write her own history, as well as the division’s, the former Invicta FC titleholder will take on No. 1 contender Joanna Jedrzejczyk (yeown-jeye-check) in the co-main event. The undefeated striker is currently 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the UFC with wins over Claudia Gadelha and Juliana Lima. The 27-year-old can become the first Polish champion in UFC history just ahead of the organization’s debut in the country on April 11.
WELTERWEIGHTS VIE FOR POTENTIAL TITLE SHOT
Once again fighting in his hometown, where he won the title a year ago, Johny Hendricks returns to action in hopes of earning another shot at UFC gold. After dropping a razor-thin split decision to current champ Robbie Lawler, Hendricks now embarks on a path back to the top. With a 1-1 record against Lawler, Hendricks would love nothing more than to see the completion of a trilogy that ends with him regaining the title. In his way is perennial contender and one of the toughest outs in the division, Matt Brown. The fifth-ranked Brown, also coming off a close decision loss to Lawler, is looking to become the No. 1 contender and earn his own rematch.
HEAVYWEIGHT FAN FAVORITES COLLIDE
Two of the UFC’s can’t-miss attractions once again step inside the Octagon, and this time, it’s against each other. Ninth-ranked Roy Nelson takes on No. 11 Alistair Overeem in a true clash of the titans. With the heavyweight division as exciting as ever and seemingly wide open, a win here could easily propel the victor back into title contention. With KO victories covering each fighter’s record, fans won’t want to blink in this heavyweight dream matchup.
In addition to Hendricks, four other fighters have ties to the state, including Hendricks’ heavyweight teammate Jared Rosholt (Dallas), his opponent Josh Copeland, who attended college and worked in the DFW area, three-time Texas high school wrestling champion Ryan Benoit (Dallas) and Corpus Christi firefighter Roger Narvaez.