UFC Picks to Win: Anthony Pettis vs. Rafael dos Anjos – Johny Hendricks vs. Matt Brown Prediction

UFC 185 Picks to Win
When: Saturday, March 14, 2015
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
by Scott of Predictem.com

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Fight Analysis:

On March 14 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis makes his 2nd title defense against top contender Rafael dos Anjos. Pettis is coming off a December title defense against Gilbert Melendez, winning dominantly in the second round with a rear-naked choke–his first fight in 16 months. Meanwhile, dos Anjos earned this shot with wins over former champ Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz. Also on the card, ex-welterweight champion Johny Hendricks looks to get back in the title mix, but must first circumvent the hard-hitting Matt Brown. Fans should expect a hard-hitting and entertaining night of fights.

Anthony Pettis, (-420), 18-2 (7 KOs, 8 Submissions) vs. Rafael dos Anjos, (+335), 23-7 (4 KOs, 8 Submissions)
Anthony Pettis looks to retain his UFC Lightweight title against well-credentialed challenger Rafael dos Anjos. The odds show that Pettis is a robust favorite, but there are those who feel the surging dos Anjos has a real shot. And to his credit, he has beaten a handful of top guys, including Donald Cerrone, Benson Henderson, and Nate Diaz. It is surely his first-round knockout of the ex-champ Henderson that shows he has kicked his game to another level.

He will need to be at his best to stand a chance against Pettis. Though he is a UFC champion, some still havent wrapped their head around the full scope of talents he brings to the table. A lot of that is related to his inactivity–only 1 title defense in 19 months as a champion and just 4 fights since 2011. But make no mistake–until shown otherwise, he is the king at 155 pounds. And while he certainly hasnt been prolific lately and tends to be injury-prone, his last 4 fights were awfully impressive, as Pettis has beaten Joe Lauzon, Cerrone, Henderon, and Melendez all within the distance. Only Melendez even saw the second round.

Pettis has put some distance between himself and the rest of the pack at 155 pounds and looks really difficult to beat at this point. His speed is tremendous and he is difficult to pin down long enough to do damage. He can scramble like a madman, his striking is very diversified, and his wrestling is very strong. He can also take a punch and overcome adversity while in the octagon. There isnt much that Pettis hasnt encountered and for the most part, hes come up smelling like roses.

Luckily for dos Anjos, he isnt a one-trick pony, either. His roots are in Jiu-Jitsu, but he an adept striker. Over his last stretch of fights, hes been able to win with striking, while still showcasing a deep repertoire of submissions. And he can also grind a guy down and win decisions, as he has shown throughout his tenure in the UFC. Though he has won a lot of fights by decision, he has shown an ability to finish fights at a high level. And he is very experienced, with this being his 18th UFC appearance.

This is by no means a no-brainer for Pettis. He is facing a dangerous challenger who is peaking and ambitious. I just think Pettis greater speed and overall fighting velocity will be a bit too much for the tough Brazilian. I think the pace Pettis sets will create some separation, with dos Anjos becoming a bit lost at sea as the fight progresses. I like Pettis by late-stoppage or by unanimous decision.

My Pick to Win: Im betting on Anthony Pettis. He has too many tools, is too fast, and this could be a fight where he re-affirms his standing as one of the UFCs top fighters at any weight. Bet your Pettis/dos Anjos prediction at the sportsbook with the lowest wagering odds online AND the most MMA props: 5Dimes. They pay fast too!

Johny Hendricks, (-375), 16-3 (8 KOs, 1 Submission) vs. Matt Brown, (+325), 19-12 (12 KOs, 5 Submissions)
Former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks will take on Matt Brown in what should be a high-octane 170-pound bout. This is a crossroads bout where both men can really use a win. Say what you will about the decisions, but Hendricks has lost 2 of 3 and is surely looking to make some big things happen. Brown is coming off a huge career surge in the last few years, but to remain in the upper reaches of the welterweight division, he also needs a big performance.

Hendricks lost his title to Robbie Lawler in December, after beating him for the vacant title earlier in the year. Browns last bout was also a loss to Lawler in August. It snapped an incredible 7-fight win streak that saw Brown climb from the depths and become a legitimate contender. Brown is a man with a ton of grit who has shown the ability to overcome adversity, both in a career sense, as well as in the octagon on a fight-by-fight basis. He is a lethal striker and can turn anyones lights out if he connects right. In addition, he is able to take a punch. There arent many more thrilling fighters around than Matt Brown.

Injuries may have robbed Hendricks of some of his former fury. Just as he made it to the top, issues seemed to increase regarding his health. Now, he seems to be healthy and poised to make one last run. Not to take anything away from Matt Browns state-of-mind entering this bout, as he will surely be fighting with an utmost sense of urgency. But Hendricks is a man who fought long and hard to get here and will be fighting like a crazed dog to avoid dropping his 3rd out of 4 fights. This could be a fight where we seem some of the old Hendricks fury, as some of his more recent performances have been more measured.

Its not easy going against Matt Brown, especially when hes a decent underdog. He will almost always give you your moneys worth. But something tells me to expect a version of Hendricks that is shot out of a cannon. The combination of his expert wrestling and heavy-handed attack may earn his an early stoppage, perhaps in the first or second round.

My Pick to Win: Im betting on Johny Hendricks. His advantages in wrestling and raw punching power will overcome a dangerous Brown.