Two titles are on the line this weekend (Sat., March 14, 2015) as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to bring down the house at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, for the highly anticipated UFC 185: "Pettis vs. Dos Anjos" pay-per-view (PPV) event.
The main event will feature a barnburner of a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight, as Anthony Pettis looks to defend his 155-pound strap against the dangerous No. 1 contender Rafael Dos Anjos.
That's not all!
Fans will be treated to another title fight in the evening's co-main event as the inaugural UFC women's strawweight champ Carla Esparza looks to defend her belt for the very first time against Polish striking sensation Joanna Jędrzejczyk.
With the sport's most prized possession up for grabs in the marquee bouts of the evening, let's take a glimpse into the future and predict what a win could potentially do for the four competitors featured at UFC 185.
In similar fashion to Ronda Rousey back at UFC 184, most expect Anthony Pettis to handily defeat Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC 185.
Now this is not to say "RDA" is not a stiff test by any means -- because he absolutely is -- but then again so was the formerly undefeated Cat Zingano, and we all know how that ended.
"Showtime" has been putting together an awe-inspiring highlight reel over his last several fights, finishing his last four opponents in vicious fashion. As if that alone wasn't impressive enough, the quality of competition that Pettis is finishing is otherworldly.
In back-to-back fights, Pettis -- who is mostly known for his wide array of deadly striking attacks -- submitted former champions Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez. Prior to that, the UFC champ dispatched of Donald Cerrone in under three minutes via (technical) knockout.
Just like Rousey before him, many expect Pettis to put on a show this Saturday night, and while it may be difficult to top a 14-second armbar (watch it here), you can almost feel an incredible finish is imminent for the UFC champ.
If "Showtime" puts in yet another impeccable performance, he may very well be on his way to superstardom in the sport of MMA. Already the face of the Wheaties box, I would expect to see the UFC champ become much more prominent in today's culture.
As for what's next in MMA, you can bet Pettis has his eyes set on the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov, who fights Cerrone at UFC 187 this May.
Rafael Dos Anjos
In the MMA realm, a victory for "RDA" would be a cataclysmic change to the UFC's lightweight division and likely the sport as a whole. With "Showtime's" legend growing after each and every fight, a loss at this point would be crippling for UFC as it tries to mold a superstar.
While I don't believe Dos Anjos would be a bad champion, he simply lacks the flair that Pettis has to bring in casual viewers to watch, just in case something absolutely crazy will happen. You know, like running off a cage and kicking someone in the face.
If the Brazilian can pull off the massive upset, it would be a huge feather in his cap and validate his positioning as one of the best 155-pound fighters on this planet.
As for what's next? A rematch with either Donald Cerrone or Khabib Nurmagomedov once those two stalwarts settle their score at UFC 187.
The UFC's women's strawweight division is still in its infancy, and I truly believe a dominant champion is exactly what the division needs to get some serious attention -- although that has not exactly worked out for the flyweights thus far.
If anyone on UFC's roster is currently poised to be a longterm champ, it is most definitely the "Cookie Monster." Carla Esparza has long been the queen of the 115-pound women -- as she was the former Invicta FC strawweight champ -- but she did not have the same luxury as Ronda Rousey coming over from Strikeforce.
Instead of being named champ right off the bat like "Rowdy," the California native was thrown into The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 20, where 16 of the baddest strawweights on the planet vied to become the inaugural champ.
In the end, Esparza took out some very tough competition to earn her belt back, and now she has the opportunity to create her legacy inside the Octagon by retaining and defending her title.
The first step? Taking out Joanna Jędrzejczyk.
If Esparza can win this weekend, I would love to see her rematch Jessica Penne in what was arguably the best fight of the TUF 20 season.
Who needs TUF 20?
That must have been Jędrzejczyk's mindset when she opted not to compete on the show, and instead went directly into UFC, where she quickly defeated Juliana Lima and Claudia Gadelha in impressive fashion.
The Polish native's plan worked absolutely perfectly, as she is the first woman following the show to get a UFC title shot, and many pundits are picking her to win it all on Saturday night.
Jędrzejczyk is going to have to put hands on Esparza early and often, because the tenacious champ will be looking to ground her Polish opposition for the majority of the fight.
Ultimately, it may not be the prettiest or most exciting bout, but you can not count out Jędrzejczyk's ability to potentially finish the champ on the feet. If that is ultimately the case, a new star could be born this weekend in Dallas.
As for what is next following a victory for Jędrzejczyk, I'd be fine with bouts against Jessica Penne, Joanne Calderwood, or Tecia Torres.
That's all folks!
For more information on UFC 185: "Pettis vs Dos Anjos" including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.