Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 185 blew the roof off American Airlines Center last Saturday night (March 14, 2015) in Dallas, Texas.
Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Roy Nelson, who suffered his second straight loss. This time at the hands (and knees) of Alistair Overeem (see it again here). And Matt Brown, who also lost his second in a row after Johny Hendricks earned a clean sweep on the judges' scorecards (recap).
But which fighters are suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?
Anthony Pettis and Carla Esparza.
Pettis, the lightweight champion, looked to defend his strap for the second time against Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of the evening. In the co-headlining act, Esparza looked for her first-ever title defense of her strawweight belt against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Unfortunately for the Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20 duo, "The Lone Star State" wasn't too kind to either of them, as they both lost their belts in "Big D."
And in rather convincing fashion, too.
From the get-go, Esparza looked to utilize her wrestling pedigree. But after getting taken down early, Joanna showed that her takedown defense was up to snuff, stuffing pretty much every one of "Cookie Monster's" shots for the remainder of the fight.
As a result, she was able to whip out striking skills that proved too much for Carla, who simply had no answer for the onslaught of punches coming her way. And in the second round, Jedrzejczyk unleashed a furious five-punch combination (see it) that forced the referee to step in and save Esparza from further punishment.
And just when we thought that performance couldn't be topped, Dos Anjos went in and served a five-round beatdown on the formerv155-pound champion.
From the opening bell, "RDA" was intent on keeping the pressure, walking Pettis down and eating a couple of shots to deliver some of his own. When he wasn't lighting "Showtime" up on the feet, Dos Anjos brought out his grappling skills and put his foe on his back.
No, Rafael didn't get a finish, but he proved that his all-around mixed martial arts (MMA) game rivals that of any other lightweight fighter by putting on a 25-minute clinic on one of the most dangerous 155-pound combatants in the world.
And he looked like a man possessed the entire time.
He also made Khabib Nurmagomedov look like the second coming of Nostradamus.
With the losses, Pettis and Esparza become the first champions in seven years to lose their titles on the same night. You have to go back to 2008 at UFC 92 where Rashad Evans knocked out Forrest Griffin to claim the light heavyweight title, while Frank Mir did the same to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to walk away with the heavyweight strap.
Despite the tough setbacks, Pettis and Esparza still have bright futures, as both are seemingly one or two wins away from a shot at reclaiming their belts.
For Esparza, a fight (and win) against Claudia Gadelha could be a shortcut back to the big dance. As For Pettis, perhaps taking a bout against the loser of the upcoming fight between Donald Cerrone and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 187 is in order.
If not, maybe gearing up for a fight against Nate Diaz to settle their longstanding beef would be a good way to erase the memory of the tough loss.
Don't be scared, "rookie."