The main event of UFC 185 is a five-round title fight between UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and No. 1 contender Rafael dos Anjos. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Pettis is a -430 favorite (bet $430 to win $100) while RDA is a +365 underdog (bet $100 to win $365). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Pettis at -350 and RDA at +250, and so far the betting public is all over the champ. I agree with the action coming in on Pettis as I fully expect the champ to defend his title. Here’s why. Pettis (18-2) is the UFC lightweight champion. The 28-year-old American is 5-1 in the UFC with wins over Gilbert Melendez, Benson Henderson, Donald Cerrone, Joe Lauzon and Jeremy Stephens and his only loss came against Clay Guida in his UFC debut. Pettis is just one phenomenal athlete. He comes from a taekwondo background and is able to pull off kicks that no one else in the UFC can do, including his signature Matrix kick off the cage in his first fight in the WEC against Henderson. Since graduating from the WEC, Pettis has really transformed into one of the best fighters in the world. He has cleaned up his takedown defence and now that he is able to keep his fights standing, he can dominate opponents with his striking. And even if he gets taken down, like against Henderson, he can submit his opponents in highlight-reel fashion. Pettis is constantly getting better and better, and with a win over RDA at UFC 185, he will continue to climb the pound-for-pound ranks in the sport of mixed martial arts. RDA (23-7) is the No. 1 contender in the UFC lightweight division. The 30-year-old Brazilian is riding a three-fight win streak with victories over Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz and Jason High and overall is 11-5 in the UFC with victories over the fighters already mentioned as well as Donald Cerrone, Evan Dunham, Mark Bocek and George Sotiropoulos, to name a few. RDA came from a BJJ background but over the years he has really transformed into a true mixed martial artist and is definitely one of the best in the world at his weight class. Since going to Kings MMA with Master Rafael Cordeiro, RDA’s striking has improved immensely and his KO win over Henderson was the culmination of a lot of hard work. He also knocked down Cerrone in their matchup, which is quite an achievement, and he showed against Diaz that his leg kicks are nasty too. He also showed against Diaz an improved takedown game as well as some vicious ground and pound. RDA is one of the best at 155lbs bar none, but going up against Pettis this is by far the toughest test of his career to date, and although he hasn’t been knocked out in six years, it’s very possible that Pettis could do to him what Jeremy Stephens did at UFC 91 all those years ago. RDA’s improvements in his striking have been astonishing, but Pettis is an even better striker and I have a feeling his skills on the feet will be on full display in this matchup. I believe if RDA chooses a wrestling-first strategy he will be unsuccessful as Pettis’ improvements in his takedown defence will force this fight to stay standing, and on the feet I just think Pettis is a more dangerous striker with more knockout power and more variety in his strikes, and that is saying something because RDA is terrific on the feet himself. Pettis has won his last four fights via stoppage over high-level competition and I believe he can score another stoppage over RDA, maybe via head kick. At the current line, I will likely be playing Pettis in a parlay this weekend as I fully expect him to win this fight and continue his ascension towards the top of the pound-for-pound lists.
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