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ufc 185

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.

SHOWSTOPPER

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?

ESTABLISHING LINEAGE

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.

TEXAS GOLD

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.

reebok

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones shows off the new Reebok ZPump shoes in a commercial that you can view in the video below.

Jones returns to action later this year vs. Anthony Johnson.

ufc 185

Duke Roufus has placed plenty of praise and acknowledgment on his star pupil, Anthony Pettis, over the years.

Roufus continued that during a recent interview on The MMA Hour, comparing the UFC lightweight champion to boxing king Floyd Mayweather. Pettis returns to action this Saturday night at UFC 185 vs. Rafael dos Anjos.

“You don’t want to let this kid start fighting too often if you’re the other contenders,” Roufus said. “The other day (Pettis said), ‘I could do this four times a year easy.’ That’s how easy the training camps are for him.

“Not because he’s lazy, but because he is like the Mayweather of our sport; hard work and dedicated. I saw him one day against top-level boxers spar 14 rounds in a row like it was nothing. He’s on a different level.”

Pettis (18-2) has won five in a row, including four finishes over Gilbert Melendez, Benson Henderson, Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon. He earned seven knockout and eight submissions in his career, losing only twice via decision.

“He loves to do this all the time,” Roufus said. “He doesn’t have to cram for tests, he doesn’t have to catch up. He’s always in striking distance of always being in shape, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.

“He’s ready to fight all the time. I’m so proud of him. He’s really evolved as a man.”

burt watson

For Burt Watson, being the “Babysitter to the Stars” was a dream job.

But it came at a price.

Watson worked tirelessly to help make the road home for fighters around the world. That all came to an end recently at UFC 184, as Watson left the company.

Rumors immediately started floating around over what caused the rift between the two sides, and the 66-year-old Watson appeared on The MMA Hour to sort that all out.

“I was approached and it was not in a proper manner, at least in my opinion,” Watson said. “I was questioned about my work, about the way I handled things. That’s the way I felt. Quite honestly, I didn’t appreciate it. I didn’t approve of it.”

Watson stated it was not UFC president Dana White, CEO Lorenzo Fertitta or operations coordinator Donna Marcolini who approached him, but declined to name that person, saying it was only an official with the UFC.

A former manager for Joe Frazier, Watson wanted to make sure nobody blamed Mark Munoz or Ronda Rousey for his decision to step away, saying he needed to “address that.”

“These guys, I lived for these guys,” he said. “I loved those guys for 14 years. When I see them being disturbed about something, I figured I needed to put some kind of a lid on top of it.”

ufc 185

“Countdown to UFC 185″ debuted Sunday night, and you can catch a complete replay of all three segments in the videos below.

The event takes place this Saturday night, and as always, FightLine will have complete play-by-play coverage.

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