Dos Anjos destroys Anthony Pettis to win lightweight belt

Published on Monday, 3/16/15, at 3:23 a.m. Eastern.

Rafael dos Anjos defeated Anthony Pettis as a big underdog to become the UFC's new lightweight champ.

Rafael dos Anjos defeated Anthony Pettis as a big underdog to become the UFC’s new lightweight champ.

Rafael dos Anjos is the new lightweight champion after running through Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis at Saturday’s UFC 184 main event in Dallas. Dos Anjos battered Pettis for the entire 25 minutes to win by unanimous decision (50-45 on all three judges’ cards).

RDA put on a shocking performance, beating Pettis like no other fighter has done in the former champ’s 21-fight career. The Brazilian set the tone with a couple of nice left body kicks in the opening moments. Then just 48 seconds into the bout, Dos Anjos landed a big left jab that backed up Pettis and immediately caused swelling around his left eye.

Pettis rubbed the eye several times instantly. Dos Anjos continued to apply the pressure, connecting on at least 8-9 left body kicks. With just under a minute remaining in Round 1, Dos Anjos successfully completed his first takedown. He would end up converting nine of his 10 takedown attempts.

Less than 30 seconds into the second round, RDA again found a home for his power left around Pettis’s left eye. Then he pressed ‘Showtime’ against the cage and landed another left and an elbow. With more than 19 minutes left in the fight, Pettis was bleeding profusely from a cut in his left eyebrow.

Midway through Round 2, RDA got another takedown and spent more than two minutes busting up Pettis with ground-and-pound punishment.

A minute into the third round, Pettis connected with a loud head kick but RDA simply ate it and returned fire. RDA countered with another clean left and blood began to again flow from under Pettis’s left eye. Dos Anjos scored another takedown midway through the round and maintained top position for nearly a minute. Pettis was able to get back to his feet, only to find himself taken down again with one minute left in the stanza.

Pettis remained competitive and dangerous, but he never mounted enough offense to establish any sort of momentum. All five rounds were lopsided in favor of RDA, who became the 11th UFC champion from his home country of Brazil.

After the fight, Pettis said he couldn’t see out of his right eye after the first left hand in the first minute. He was a no-show at the post-fight presser, as UFC President Dana White revealed that he had to get stitches and had a concussion.

During his interview in the Octagon with Joe Rogan, Pettis was gracious in defeat. “Big ups to Rafael. He did his thing tonight. No excuses. I got to get back in the gym and train.”

White informed the media that Dos Anjos could be out for awhile because he tore his MCL two weeks before the fight. Many in RDA’s camp reportedly wanted him to pull out of the fight, but he refused to do so.

Dos Anjos will meet the winner of Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov in his first title defense. Those two will meet at UFC 187. RDA owns a unanimous-decision win over Cerrone, but he lost to Nurmagomedov by UD on April of last year.

In the co-main event, Joanna Jedrzejzcyk became the new women’s strawweight champ by putting on a striking clinic to dethrone Carla Esparza by second-round knockout. Jedrzejzcyk improved to 9-0 for her career.

Johny Hendricks got back in the win column by beating Matt Brown by UD (30-27 thee times). Hendricks didn’t even have to cut weight on Friday and looked shredded at the weigh-ins. ‘Big Rigg’ was clearly in better physical shape than he was in the rematch against Robbie Lawler, when Riggs was coming off shoulder surgery.

Brown took Hendricks’s big lefts better than other fighters who have been put to sleep by the same punch. He had a few moments in the bout, but Hendricks’s superior wrestling was the difference in the fight.

Hendricks was disappointed in himself for not finishing the fight. Brown said, “Nothing about the fight surprised me. I just couldn’t wrestle with him.”

In a heavyweight scrap, Alistair Overeem defeated Roy Nelson by unanimous decision for his third consecutive victory. Overeem hooked up his betting supporters as a -160 ‘chalk,’ while ‘over’ 1.5 rounds was also a winner. The ‘Reem utilized all of his stand-up skills, battering ‘Big Country’ with knees, kicks and punches throughout the bout.

White, who complained that Overeem wasn’t willing to take chances and implied he didn’t go hard enough for the finish, indicated that Overeem would next fight former champ Junior dos Santos. These two were originally slated to meet for the belt a couple of years ago, but Overeem was suspended when he popped dirty for PEDs.

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