Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis predicted a knockout in his UFC 185 main event match against Rafael dos Anjos last night (Sat., March 14, 2015) inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
He could not have been more wrong.
Pettis started the action with a high kick and dos Anjos fired back with one of his own to the body of "Showtime." He followed it up with a huge left hand, but Pettis didn't appear too hurt. The Brazlian continued to unload as Pettis circled along the cage, firing back with random strikes and flying knees. dos Anjos continued to poor on the pressure and Pettis was fighting off his back foot.
The champion was clearly uncomfortable early -- dos Anjos really took the fight to him early and scored with clean, hard punches. Just for good measure, dos Anjos would complete a takedown along the cage and pin the champion there until the round ended.
dos Anjos continued to find success to start the second, landing a looping overhand left and then mushing Pettis up against the cage. Pettis, eye bleeding, responded with a kick to the body, but the Brazilian was unimpressed, scoring another takedown moments later.
dos Anjos spent a considerable about of time riding Pettis, who angled for submissions off his back in vain. He stacked Pettis along the bottom of the cage and beat him up there before heading back into his corner likely up two rounds to zero on the judges scorecards.
Pettis came out for the third with some pep in his step, but dos Anjos put him on his back foot once again with a left hand. After a brief beak caused by an inadvertent eye poke, Pettis landed a clean head kick ... his best moment of the match. But, it didn't las long, with dos Anjos once again getting the fight back to the floor. He would eventually escape, twice, only for dos Anjos to drag him down.
dos Anjos actually took Pettis' back to end the round, but he didn't have enough time to put anything significant together.
Heading into the championship rounds, dos Anjos was likely ahead 3-0 on all three judges scorecards. Pettis tried to keep dos Anjos at bay with a jab, but the Brazilian just went to work with heavy kicks to the body before eventually getting dumped on his head once again.
Once there, dos Anjos angled for a kimura. Pettis defended incredibly well -- he was in danger. But, in doing so, dos Anjos was able to take his back. Then, in a flash, Pettis reversed and turned the table on dos Anjos. It didn't last, though, as dos Anjos once again took the positional advantage along the cage.
Pettis got to his feet at the bell, but dos Anjos made him pay with a punch-kick combination.
Between rounds, Pettis' trainer informed Pettis that he needed a finish to win ... even though he said he could not see out of his right eye. It didn't take long, though, for dos Anjos to catch a kick and get Pettis pinned along the cage. Then, another takedown, all but sealed Pettis' fate.
With two minutes remaining in the match, Pettis got back to his feet, unloaded a few desperation shots, before finding himself looking up at dos Anjos once again. It was pretty much how it went all night -- lather, rinse, repeat. He completely out-classed on the most talented fighter on the promotion's roster.
It wasn't even close. Rafael dos Anjos is the new UFC Lightweight champion, taking a clear decision on all three judges scorecards.
Who saw that one coming?
For complete results from UFC 185: "Pettis vs. Dos Anjos," including play-by-play updates, click here.