MARCH 14, 2015
LIVE FROM DALLAS, TEXAS
=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims Quick Results=====
-Germaine de Randamie def. Larissa Pacheco at 2:02 of the second round
Note: Dominating performance from de Randamie. She landed huge combinations against Pacheco and forced a stoppage with Pacheco still on her feet. Great stoppage by the referee as well, as Pacheco was out on her feet there.
-Joseph Duffy def. Jake Lindsey at 1:47 of the first round
Note: Fantastic UFC debut from Duffy. Couldn’t have been better. His boxing is just great to watch, and he picked Lindsey apart before dropping him with a brutal body strike and forcing the ref to step in. Great performance.
-Ryan Benoit def. Sergio Pettis via TKO at 1:34 of the second round
Note: Pettis was absolutely dominating the fight, then got caught by a short left hook in a wild exchange. Benoit quickly finished it on the ground, then after the ref stepped in he threw an absolutely inexcusable kick between Pettis’ legs. Could have been DQd for it.
=====FX Preliminary Card=====
-The prelims are on FX tonight, but their graphics package keeps saying Fox Sports 1, and Mike Goldberg welcomed the TV audience to Fox Sports 1. Some wires got crossed here today.
PRELIM FIGHT ONE: JARED ROSHOLT VS. JOSH COPELAND (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Neither engaged for the first 45 seconds, and they went back to tentative work after each missed an opening strike. Rosholt finally shot in. Copelend landed a punch as he held off the attempt at the cage. Copeland continued to defend, and they were eventually separated. Rosholt missed a telegraphed right hand as Copeland moved out of the way. The crowd booed. Rosholt landed a right hand. Copeland finally got in with a left. Rosholt rocked Copeland with a hard right hand, but didn’t engage further. He grazed him with a strike as Copeland tried to move in. Copeland then hurt Rosholt with a counter right as Rosholt moved in. Rosholt got his wits about him. He ducked under a strike and clinched. He landed some knees and punches, but mostly held Copeland there. He then got in a knee and a right hand before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Rosholt. Close round because not a lot happened and Copeland did rock Rosholt, but it wasn’t a knock down and wasn’t enough damage to negate the bit more that Rosholt did.
ROUND TWO: Bad exchanges early with both missing strikes as they got in too close. This fight is stretches of nothing, followed by spurts of awful. Occasionally punches are landing. Copeland did a little damage, and clearly his power has Rosholt concerned. Back to nothing for a while. Rosholt eventually shot in, picked Copeland up, and slammed him. He tried to trap an arm to land some strikes. He giftwrapped Copeland and landed a few strikes. Copeland got his arm free and covered up, but ate a few hard elbows. Rosholt tried to set up a choke, but Copeland defended it. Rosholt ended the round on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Rosholt. This fight is bad. The UFC needs to stop giving TV time to these predictably awful heavyweight fights.
ROUND THREE: After another tentative start, Rosholt rushed in and scored a somewhat labored takedown. Copeland tried to hold onto Rosholt’s body, but Rosholt landed some big shots from side control and a near mounted crucifix. Copeland rolled to his side and Rosholt kept control. Rosholt landed some big forearms and elbows in little bursts of offense. He got in a few more big strikes and the fight was finally stopped. Couple of those may have been back of the head strikes.
WINNER: Rosholt via TKO at 3:12 of the third round
STAR RATING: (*-) Bad heavyweight MMA is bad. Ugly all around, and Copeland’s lack of ground ability made that just an inevitable finish after that third round takedown.
-In a video preview for the main event, they highlight Anthony Pettis buying his mom a house and car for Christmas. Seriously, how can anyone dislike this man?
PRELIM FIGHT TWO: DARON CRUICKSHANK VS. BENEIL DARIUSH (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Dariush moved ahead early and scored a solid body kick. Cruickshank connected with an inside leg kick. Dariush got in a hard leg kick of his own that stopped Cruickshank’s momentum. Cruickshank got in a combination but Dariush connected with a few strikes in counter. Dariush landed another hard body kick. Cruickshank got in a nice combination as Dariush grabbed a clinch. Dariush went high with a kick. He got back to the body with a kick. Cruickshank fired off a few more strikes. Dariush again connected to the body. Cruickshank got in an inside leg kick. Cruickshank with another hard kick, but Dariush landed a few strikes. Dariush got in a good counter left after avoiding a rush. Cruickshank missed an axe kick and got rushed to the cage. He shook him off and separated. Cruickshank landed a good leg kick with a few strikes behind it, but ate a body shot in return. Dariush again got in the body kick. He avoided a strike and landed a counter shot. Dariush landed a hard leg kick after Cruickshank switched stances. Cruickshank landed a flying knee, but Dariush took him down with it. Cruickshank tried to counter it, but Dariush landed a few strikes. He went for a D’Arce choke late, but Cruickshank quickly got out. Dariush got in one last strike late.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Dariush. Competitive and action-packed round. Dariush did lots of body damage and was a bit more active overall in his counter-strikes.
ROUND TWO: Dariush landed a counter left early. He landed a superman punch after that. Dariush back to the body kick. Cruickshank shot in, gave it up, landed a few strikes, shot in again to land a few strikes, and separated. He indicated he’d been hit in the back of the head. Dariush rushed in, but ate a few strikes. Cruickshank went for the takedown, but Dariush hit the switch and eventually took Cruickshank’s back. Cruickshank tried to sneak out the back as Dariush was too high. Cruickshank nearly escaped, but then Dariush took his back, locked on the body triangle, sunk in the rear naked choke, and forced the tap. Very, very good performance from Beneil Dariush.
WINNER: Dariush via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:48 of the second round
STAR RATING: (***+) Really good fight, and a fantastic performance out of Dariush. He broke Cruickshank down on the feet, flustered him, and forced him into desperation grappling, which left him open to that finish.
PRELIM FIGHT THREE: ELIAS THEODOROU VS. ROGER NARVAEZ (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Theodorou connected on a straight right. He clinched up as Narvaez closed in. Theodorou got in a few knees before Narvaez separated. Theodorou got in a knee. They clinched again and Theodorou pressured Narvaez with knees. They separated again. Narvaez got in a right hand after eating a leg kick. Theodorou landed a right hand. Narvaez landed a short hook. Theodorou struggled to get in range on the taller Narvaez. Narvaez peppered him with a few strikes. He got in to the body with a hard kick. Theodorou connected on a body kick, but the action was briefly halted as if it were a groin kick. Theodorou got in a hard knee to the body. He started going to his kicks a bit more. They traded kicks. Theodorou got in with a few strikes. Narvaez landed a hard outside leg kick. Theodorou fired off a few kicks. They traded high kicks before the horn. Close round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Theodorou. Narvaez looked like he was taking it over midway through, but Theodorou made some adjustments in his offense and managed to do more throughout the frame.
ROUND TWO: Theodorou opened up with a body kick. He caught a leg kick and landed a right hand. Narvaez got in a front kick to the body. Theodorou missed a couple of strikes, but landed a few hard kicks. Theodorou shot in and scored a takedown, but had to fight to keep top position in Narvaez’s active guard. He passed to side control, but Narvaez scrambled out and got to his feet. Theodorou landed a few strikes as he continued to press the pace. Theodorou continued tossing out kicks, though most were getting blocked. Theodorou again landed a high kick to the arms. He tossed out a few more kicks and Narvaez continued slowing down. Narvaez got in a push kick, but Theodorou pressed him to the cage again. He took him down and Narvaez turtled up. Theodorou landed a big flurry of strikes as he trapped Narvaez’s arm. Narvaez kepts covering up, but the offense continued from Theodorou and the ref finally stepped in. Narvaez was given every opportunity there, but he appeared to indicate afterward that he broke something.
WINNER: Theodorou via TKO at 4:07 of the second round
STAR RATING: (**) Solidly competitive, though nothing overly special. Narvaez’s arm got broken blocking one of those kicks.
-Two new UFC dates were announced on the broadcast, as Fight Night events come to Fox Sports 1 on July 15 and August 8 in San Diego and Nashville, respectively.
PRELIM FIGHT FOUR: ROSS PEARSON VS. SAM STOUT (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Pearson connected on a left. Stout got in a kick to the leg. He got in with a kick to the body after pawing out a few strikes. Pearson landed a hard right hand. Pearson landed a hard left hand shortly after that. Neither got in much effective offense over the next minute. Both then connected on a few strikes in combination. Pearson got in a few counter strikes. Stout landed a couple of solid punches, then landed a kick to the body. Stout got in a hard kick to the body. Pearson landed a couple of body strikes of his own. Pearson landed a body punch with an overhand left in combination. Stout with a knee to the body. Stout landed a good right hand, avoiding a punch from Pearson. Stout with a solid left hook. Pearson landed a right hand. He popped Stout’s head back with a jab. Pearson landed a big uppercut. Stout came back with an overhand right. Stout landed a left hook, then shot in. Pearson stuffed him and they traded punches. Stout landed another combination. Pearson landed a late uppercut.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-10. Very even opening round, with each scoring some significant offense, and neither fully taking it for themselves. Judges will swing this one either way, but I’ve got it even.
ROUND TWO: Pearson opened with a couple of punches, then landed a hard kick. He got in another leg kick. Stout landed a short combination. Pearson landed a big left hook at the end of a combination. They accidentally clashed heads and took a beat to acknowledge it. Pearson went back to the leg kick, then landed a hard right hand. Pearson landed a huge left hook and Stout went down hard. He sat up briefly and ate a huge right hand, and that was it. Nice finish from Pearson. Stout went out from the left hook, came to when his head hit the mat, and took two more strikes on the ground.
WINNER: Pearson via KO at 1:33 of the second round
STAR RATING: (**+) Great finish to what had been a competitive fight. Pearson connected on a perfect left hook, and it caught Stout on the button to put him out. Good work from the Englishman to get back in the win column.
-15 minutes to pay-per-view, so we’ll get some screaming at the TV from Dana White and Joe Rogan for the hard sell.
=====Pay-Per-View Main Card=====
-Face the pain’s still here. Goldberg and Rogan break down the main event and run down the rest of the main card before sending to the opener.
MAIN CARD FIGHT ONE: CHRIS CARIASO VS. HENRY CEJUDO (FLYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Cariaso opened up with a hard kick to the body. He pawed out a jab and landed the body kick again. Cejudo missed a couple of strikes. He clinched up and scored an easy takedown. Cejudo landed a few strikes and easily passed. Cariaso curled up and tried to get up on the cage. Cejudo landed a hard knee to the body, but Cariaso still worked back to his feet. Ceudo backed off. Cariaso landed a hard body kick again. Cejudo landed a hard right hand. He clinched and pressed Cariaso to the cage. They traded knees in the clinch. Cariaso got separation and landed a right. Cariaso landed a combo, but Cejudo pressed right back in with some wild strikes. Cariaso held off a takedown attempt as Cejudo clinched him again. Cejudo landed more knees. Cariaso fired back to the body. Cejudo dropped down and scored another takedown. He grabbed a front headlock as Cariaso got his back to the cage. Cariaso continued to defend well and worked back to his feet. He ate a knee on the way up. They traded knees again. Cejudo continued firing in the clinch, with Cariaso occasionally returning knees. Cariaso finally got free with 15 seconds left. He landed another hard kick to the body and covered up as Cejudo threw out a few counter strikes.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cejudo. Very good opening round from the Olympian, but Cariaso’s going to be hard to put away. If Cariaso can work those body kicks a bit more he might be able to wear Cejudo down a little.
ROUND TWO: Cariaso came straight ahead. Cejudo rushed him back, but he landed a decent jab. Cejudo threw several strikes in combination, but they weren’t really hitting the mark. He staggered Cariaso with a strike and moved forward. He got the clinch, then got the takedown. He landed a couple of strikes. Cariaso scrambled to his feet, but Cejudo kept him in the clinch. Cariaso turned Cejudo around in the clinch after eating some knees. He finally got separation. Cejudo got in a right hand. He threw a knee to the body with some strikes behind it. They traded punches. Cejudo got in a hard kick to the body. He shot in and scored an easy takedown. He landed a couple of elbows. He tried to get some offense in, but Cariaso stayed active off his back and didn’t give up much space. Cariaso finally kicked Cejudo off him, and was allowed to stand. Cariaso went to the body with the kick. Cejudo landed a hard body kick of his own, but ate a counter strike. Cejudo missed a head kick just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cejudo. He’s in complete control. Cariaso’s tough, but Cejudo’s wrestling edge and top game are the difference thus far.
ROUND THREE: They traded strikes to start off the round. They each landed in a few exchanges. Cejudo caught a kick and looked for a takedown. Cariaso held it off until he ate a knee to the gut. Cejudo worked some strikes from half guard. Cejudo got in some elbows. Cejudo stood and ate an up kick. He dropped back down into the half guard. Cejudo finally backed off and got grazed by an upkick before letting Cariaso stand. Cejudo came back in with a short combination. They traded kicks. Cariaso got in a body kick. Cejudo closed distance, missed a couple strikes, and clinched. Cariaso turned him around, but got turned back around himself. They jockeyed for position a bit. Cejudo got in a knee and scored another takedown. He tried to pass over to mount but Cariaso held him off. Cejudo went for a neck crank, but lost the hold. Back to Cariaso’s guard. Cariaso got in another upkick after Cejudo stood up. Cejudo dropped down. Cariaso went for a leg desperately, but Cejudo slipped out before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cejudo. One-sided fight, and another good performance from Cejudo. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was more than enough.
WINNER: Cejudo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) Nothing thrilling, but it was certainly effective. Want to see a bit more from his game before we’re talking title shot, but he’s going to have a quick path to that fight at this point.
Cejudo: “Just like I won gold in 2008, I’m here to win gold in the UFC”
MAIN CARD FIGHT TWO: ALISTAIR OVEREEM VS. ROY NELSON (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Nelson took the outside early on. Overeem landed a front kick to the lead leg. Nelson tried to walk Overeem down, but didn’t throw the overhand right. Both a bit tentative in the early going. Overeem jumped in with a hard knee to the body. Nelson went for the overhand right but Overeem covered up well. Overeem got in a couple of low kicks. Overeem got in a short left. Overeem landed a good straight right. Nelson got through with a short combination. Overeem went back to the leg kick and got in a knee to the body. He landed a step-in knee that landed to the face. Overeem started opening up more with the kicks. Nelson backed him to the cage and started teeing off, but Overeem covered up well, then fired off a few strikes to back Nelson off. Overeem landed a brutal leg kick that buckled Nelson. He got in a knee to the body as Nelson popped back up. Nelson landed the right hand to the forehead. Overeem connected to the body on a front kick. Overeem landed a punch to the body. Overeem got back in to the body. He landed a brutal kick to the body. Overeem with a jab. Overeem got in another hard knee to the body before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Overeem. Very good opening round for Overeem. Lots and lots of damage done with those kicks and body shots throughout the round.
ROUND TWO: Nelson tried to press in, but Overeem hit him from the outside. He stepped in with the knee again. Nelson was walking gingerly on that lead leg. Overeem again landed that inside leg kick. Nelson rocked Overeem with a right hand! Overeem came back ahead with some kicks, but he got hurt by that right. Nelson landed a left hook. Overeem landed a couple more kicks. Overeem connected with a front kick to the face, but Nelson took it. Overeem ran around the cage as Nelson missed and the crowd got on his case. Overeem landed a strike. He tried to shoot in but got shrugged off. Overeem got in another knee to the body. Kick to the body. Nelson barely missed a right hand. He tried to back Overeem up, but Overeem circled away. The crowd didn’t like how tentative things got. Nelson backed Overeem up and landed a couple of body strikes. He backed off. He got in with a right hand. Overeem rocked him with a knee and a punch behind it, but Nelson backed him off. Nelson landed a couple of punches late, but Overeem covered up well at the cage.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Overeem. Nelson rocked him, but Overeem’s doing a ton more damage.
ROUND THREE: Overeem went back to the body. Still a bit tentative from both. Overeem jumped in with a strike and Nelson landed a right hand. Overeem kicked Nelson’s leg out, but as Nelson got up he got kneed between the legs hard, bringing a delay to the action. The crowd booed at first, then saw the replay. Overeem landed a front kick as they restarted. Then a right hand. He went for a spinning elbow as Nelson tried to chase him down. He half-shot in but got shrugged off. Overeem moved to the side, then got in a right hand and kick to the body. Nelson hurt Overeem with a strike, but grabbed a clinch as Overeem covered up. He let it go and separated. Overeem missed a strike and ate a right hand. Nelson landed a jab. Overeem connected with a high kick to the top of the head. Overeem got in a couple more kicks. Nelson missed on a takedown. He got poked in the eye, but Herb Dean says he didn’t see it, so he had to continue. Overeem landed a hard body kick. Overeem landed a side kick to the body. Then a knee. Right hand from Overeem. Nelson missed the overhand right and Overeem jogged away. Nelson dropped Overeem with a left hand. Overeem popped up, and Nelson went for a takedown. Just gave away his opportunity to win that. Wow.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Overeem. Despite the knockdown, he did a ton more offensively throughout the round.
WINNER: Overeem via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**+) Good work from Overeem through a lot of the fight, but he did get cracked on a few occasions there. Still, Overeem was mixing things up well with his kicks and knees, and really wore Nelson down.
-Quick video package and comments on next month’s UFC 186 card and the main event between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao.
MAIN CARD FIGHT THREE: JOHNY HENDRICKS VS. MATT BROWN (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Brown wasted no time coming forward. Brown missed a strike and Hendricks landed a left. He got in close and Brown landed a knee. Hendricks picked him up and slammed him. Brown quickly worked to his feet and Hendricks backed off. Brown pressed forward and threw out some reaching strikes. Brown landed a left. Hendricks went for a body lock but Brown stuffed a shot. Hendricks stayed on him and forced him down, though. Brown tried to control Hendricks. He eventually forced Hendricks to stand and got to his feet. Brown landed a head kick and did some damage. Hendricks drove him to the cage. Brown grabbed the fence, but Hendricks still drove him down. Hendricks did some damage. Brown tried to get up the cage, but Hendricks held him down. He kept him there to the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Hendricks. Top control gave him the edge.
ROUND TWO: Brown landed an early left hand. He threw a head kick but Hendricks forced him to the ground. He quickly scrambled and got to his feet. Hendricks cracked him with a few strikes, then picked him up and dumped him down. He tried to work from half guard. Hendricks landed a couple elbows and some strikes from half guard. Hendricks landed a hammer fist. He continued to stay busy from the top. Brown tried to force a stalled standup. Hendricks continued working, but lost the half guard. The crowd booed and they got stood up. Hendricks threw a few strikes right as they started up. Brown looked exhausted. Hendricks cracked him with another left hand. Hendricks landed a hard kick and drove Brown back to the cage, taking him down again. He tried to trap an arm. Brown got to his knees and stood up. Hendricks landed a nice left hand, but missed a few strikes as he pressed Brown back. Brown got in close and landed an elbow, but Hendricks clinched and took him down again. Hendricks landed a forearm, and ended the round on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Hendricks. Brown’s just not having any success here tonight.
ROUND THREE: Brown tripped Hendricks up early. Hendricks popped up and they traded. Hendricks took him down again, but Brown tried to escape and set up an inverted triangle. He couldn’t complete it, but got up to his feet. Hendricks quickly got Brown back down. Brown tried to escape, but Hendricks held him down in side control. Brown got his legs up again and tried something. Hendricks stayed with him and kept him down. The crowd didn’t like it. Brown kept trying something off his back, but Hendricks kept top control. The round wore down with Hendricks on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Hendricks. Could give it to Brown off bottom activity, I suppose, but that wasn’t nearly enough to take it from the top control.
WINNER: Hendricks via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) Wasn’t all that pretty, but Hendricks is strong enough to control fighters like that. Brown kept trying, but he just wasn’t good enough to beat someone on Hendricks’ level. He’s got a ceiling, and he’s hit it two fights in a row.
MAIN CARD FIGHT FOUR: CARLA ESPARZA VS. JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK (WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Jedrzejczyk landed the first strike after some tentative moments, and Esparza shot in. Jedrzejczyk held it off well. Esparza shot in again, but Jedrzejczyk again held it off. Esparza was relentless with it, though, and finally dragged her down. Jedrzejczyk worked to her fight, but Esparza held the clinch, then separated with a body strike. Esparza shot back in and dragged the challenger back down. Jedrzejczyk again got to her feet. She rocked Esparza in the clinch with a short elbow to get separation. Esparza shot back in but got stuffed. She nearly pulled off a throw, but again got held off. Esparza again back to the takedown attempt, but the challenger held her off again. Jedrzejczyk landed a hard right hand. She stuffed a takedown and landed a right. Jedrzejczyk stalked and started unleashing strikes. She landed a few more and Esparza shot in. She got stuffed, then ate a knee on the way up. Jedrzejczyk hit Esparza with a huge right hand. She cracked her again. And again. Elbow landed. Esparza circled out before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Jedrzejczyk. Esparza’s in trouble here if she can’t get Jedrzejczyk down and keep her there. Big round for the challenger.
ROUND TWO: Jedrzejczyk landed a couple of strikes. Esparza shot in, got stuffed, then ate an elbow on the separation. Jedrzejczyk cracked her again with the right hand. Esparza shot in again, to no avail. Jederzejczyk landed a huge elbow followed by several strikes. Jedrzejczyk stuffed another takedown and landed a hard elbow. Jedrzejczyk stalked and landed more strikes. She landed another right hand. Esparza again shot in and got cracked. She ate a knee on the way up, then an elbow. Jedrzejczyk landed a left. Jedrzejczyk landed more on the cage. Esparza again shot in but got shrugged off. Jedrzejczyk stuffed another takedown. Jedrzejczyk continued stuffing takedowns and picking Esparza apart on the feet. Jedrzejczyk continued landing on the feet. She backed Esparza up to the cage and unleashed a huge torrent of strikes that finally forced the ref to step in. Esparza dropped as soon as the ref got there. Absolute dissection by the new Champion. That was impressive.
WINNER: Jedrejczyk via TKO at 4:17 of the second round
STAR RATING: (***-) Completely and surprisingly one-sided fight. Jedrzejczyk just demolished the reigning Champion, and she’s going to be hard to beat going forward.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: ANTHONY PETTIS VS. RAFAEL DOS ANJOS (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Dos Anjos pressed in as Pettis let the challenger come to him. Pettis threw out a high kick. He threw a short combo with a high kick. Dos Anjos landed a few body kicks in a row. He cracked Pettis with a left and the Champ smiled. Pettis landed a hard right hand. Dos Ajos landed a hard left that hurt the Champ. Pettis blinked his right eye. Dos Anjos landed a combo to the body. Pettis tossed out a combo. Dos Anjos went back to the body. Pettis tossed out a flying knee and dos Anjos shook his head. Dos Anjos landed a hard body kick with a left hand behind it. Pettis missed a spinning back kick. Pettis landed a straight right. Pettis landed an overhand right after a left hand. Dos Anjos landed a body shot and Pettis fired back a right hand. Pettis connected to the body. He landed an overhand right. Pettis with another right hand. He ducked and landed another combo. Dos Anjos landed a hard right. Pettis landed a right hand. Dos Anjos fired a left. Another body kick landed for dos Anjos. Dos Anjos pressed but Pettis blocked him. Pettis landed a nice combination. Dos Anjos landed an uppercut, but ate a combo. Dos Anjos shot in and scored a late takedown. Pettis kept his back on the cage with a butterfly guard. Dos Anjos tried to drag him down, but Pettis stayed patient. Dos Anjos landed a couple of body shots. Pettis got to his feet before the horn, though ate a couple of shots.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 dos Anjos. Furious pace set by the challenger, and we’ve got a hell of a fight on our hands. Pettis did a bunch of damage himself, but the challenger took the opening frame.
ROUND TWO: Dos Anjos came ahead, but Pettis opened with a short combo. Dos Anjos landed a body kick. Pettis landed a jab. Dos Anjos landed an overhand left and drove Pettis to the cage. He shot in, but Pettis held it off. Dos Anjos landed a knee inside. He got in a couple more. Pettis’ right eye was opened. He backed him off and landed a hard body kick. Dos Anjos landed a couple jabs. Pettis backed him off with a combo. Dos Anjos dropped his hands. He backed Pettis up and scored a takedown. Dos Anjos tried to get some space on top, while Pettis looked for an opening from the bottom. Dos Anjos stayed busy from the top and did some damage. Pettis landed some strikes from the bottom. Dos Anjos got in an elbow. Dos Anjos stayed patient and got in a couple more elbows. Pettis kept looking for openings, but was taking damage. Dos Anjos continued to stay busy from the top. He postured up and landed several strikes. Dos Anjos ended the round on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 dos Anjos. Pettis is in trouble here, like he hasn’t been in a very, very long time. Surprisingly great performance from the challenger through the first ten minutes.
ROUND THREE: Dos Anjos came forward and got in a kick. He landed a hard leg kick to the outside. Pettis landed a solid combo. Dos Anjos landed a hard straight left. Dos Anjos got poked in the eye and they called time. Dos Anjos came furiously forward on the restart. Pettis landed a head kick with a right hand behind it. Dos Anjos threw a left, then connected on a right. Pettis blocked a strike. He landed a short body combo. Pettis got in with an uppercut. Dos Anjos landed a few right hands. Dos Anjos shot in and scored another takedown. He landed a hard elbow. Pettis may need to find a way to get back to his feet rather than attacking from the bottom at this point. Pettis scrambled to his knees and got to his feet. Dos Anjos stayed on him and landed some knees to the thighs. Pettis turned into him and ate a knee to the body. He pressed dos Anjos off. He went high with a kick, then ate a body kick. Dos Anjos pressed forward with a few strikes. He shot in again, and dragged Pettis down. Pettis tried to work right back to his feet, but dos Anjos fought it. Pettis briefly got up, but got dragged back down. Dos Anjos got his back to the cage. He gave up his back late and dos Anjos ended the round throwing strikes.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 dos Anjos. Pettis now has to finish the fight to hold onto his title. This is crazy. Still, he did some damage that round, and if dos Anjos can’t keep this up through the final ten minutes, Pettis may have his chances.
ROUND FOUR: Dos Anjos continued moving forward, and Pettis tried to keep him at bay with the jab. He landed an uppercut. He got in a couple of jabs. Dos Anjos landed a few kicks. He got through with a left. Pettis landed a strike. Dos Anjos landed a hard right hand. Pettis landed a couple of hard body kicks. Dos Anjos backed him up with a few. Pettis landed some strikes and dos Anjos shot in. He planted Pettis again. He went to work from half guard. Pettis almost reversed, but dos Anjos passed to side control. Dos Anjos went for a kimura, but Pettis tried to defend. Pettis escaped. He tried to scramble, but dos Anjos took his back. Dos Anjos went for a choke but Pettis scrambled out. He scored a quick takedown, but dos Anjos popped back up. Pettis landed some strikes on the cage. Dos Anjos landed some knees to the body. Dos Anjos then went for a front choke and dragged him down briefly. Pettis defended again, but got dragged back down. Dos Anjos ended the round with a few hard strikes as Pettis scrambled to his feet.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 dos Anjos. Not sure anyone actually saw this coming, but dos Anjos has taken this to Pettis from the outset, and he has shockingly dominated this fight.
ROUND FIVE: Pettis tried to throw a flying knee. Dos Anjos landed a couple of leg kicks. Dos Anjos kept the pressure on, and kept Pettis on the cage. They traded leg kicks. Dos Anjos caught Pettis’ and drove him to the cage. Pettis held off the takedown attempt initially. Pettis pressed him off. He landed a few kicks. Dos Anjos got in a left. Dos Anjos shot in again and completed the takedown. Dos Anjos landed a knee to the body from side control. Dos Anjos held control as Pettis tried to escape. Pettis got to his knees, then to his feet, but dos Anjos stayed on him. He got separation with just over two minutes left. He ate a body kick. Dos Anjos pressed him back with a jumping knee and took him down. Pettis tried to go for an armbar late. Dos Anjos gave him nothing. Pettis tried to go for a kimura late, but lost it. Dos Anjos took his back and locked on the body triangle. Pettis defended, but dos Anjos rode out the round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 dos Anjos. He wouldn’t be denied tonight. Incredible performance from Rafael dos Anjos. He absolutely earned that title win.
WINNER: Dos Anjos via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
STAR RATING: (***+) Undeniable performance from the new Champion. He pressured Pettis from the outset, took the defending Champ’s best shots, and dominated this fight in every minute of every round. What else can you say?
-Two shocking challenger performances close this one out tonight. We’ll have a lot to say about this night throughout the week, and we’ll be moving on to UFC Fight Night 62 next weekend.