The morning after the night before, spent pondering the brutality and insanity of an evening of convivial warfare. Obviously I’m talking about Saturday night’s Dallas, Texas card UFC 185, which saw two new world champions crowned, and the possible dawning of a new era in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
If you didn’t see Joanna Jędrzejczyk as a legitimate title challenger, and 115lb colossus, your eyes were surely opened through a manner of violence which made former Invicta and UFC strawweight women’s champion Carla Esparza look unbecoming of her championship status. In a fight where Esparza knew she had to use her grappling forte to stand within a chance of defeating a multiple muay thai world champion, a futile effort saw Jedrzejczyk stuff 16 of 17 takedown attempts. Emphatic.
“Cookie Monster” looked technically supreme during The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned, however tireless and meaningless chances were squandered against the Polish fighter, ultimately her true demise.
The strawweight division now is an open division, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Esparza as champion limited fights the UFC could make due to her facing the majority of them in Invicta and the TUF house. Now, the ice cold Pol has sprung new life into 115lbs, but her dominance could be formidable for quite some time to come.
Carla Esparza reacted post fight at UFC 185 on her Facebook page.
In the UFC 185 main event, a shocking display from Anthony Pettis drew major criticism, with Rafael dos Anjos shutting him out (50-45, 50-45, 504-45). I guess it was set up to be a fairy tale story, CM Punk in tow, Pettis should have solidified himself as the 155 king, but instead quarrelled the same question left unanswered from his loss to Clay Guida. His inability to deal with elite level grapplers with aggressive styles.
You also have to look at how big a part Sergio Pettis’s loss to Ryan Benoit earlier in the night at UFC 185 played on big brother Anthony, who looked the oblique shadow of a fighter that had all-night been touted as ‘the next Anderson Silva’.
To dos Anjos’s credit, he was superb, never letting up on Pettis and using a grappling game that rendered “Showtime” helpless for the majority of the contest. The fight had a TJ Dillashaw vs Renan Barao feel to it. The result shocking, however not unexpected.
It’s probable that Pettis receives an immediate rematch, but with his value already diminished, the extravagant fighter may face an uphill battle to regain his aura of unpredictability. This also opens up the division for guys like Benson Henderson, Gilbert Melendez to once again try their hand at the gold.
So what has this all got to do with symbolism of the modern UFC era?
Bar Jon Jones, Jose Aldo, “Mighty Mouse” and Ronda Rousey, the maximum number of title defences currently held is two. Not including interim heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, the average title span in the UFC stands at three fights.
With the depth of talent the UFC is bringing is, this could drop further, the lightweight division is full of killers, as well as Khabib Nurmagomedov laying in wait to face Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 187. Rory MacDonald and Johny Hendricks at 170, as well as Joanne Calderwood and the hyped Paige VanZant at 115. This may be the start of the ‘hot potato’ era in the UFC.