Hey folks, it’s time again for the UPROXX Sports family and friends to provide the smartest, most accurate, funniest and just all around terrific UFC predictions the universe will ever experience. UFC 185 comes to us live from Dallas, Texas on Saturday, March 14th, with early prelims kicking off the action on Fight Pass at 6:30 PM ET, so let’s dive into the picks.
Important Standings of Note:
Jessica: 338-210-4 (62%)
Burnsy: 338-209-5 (62%)
Vince: 175-107-2 (62%)
Ryan: 8-2-1 (77%)
Danny: 161-77-1 (67%)
Spilled: 76-56-2 (57%)
Sydnie: 16-12 (57%)
Chris: 30-10 (75%)
NY Ric: 36-26-1 (57%)
Ghost: 6-7 (46%)
Seth: 32-15 (68%)
Biss: 35-33-1 (51%)
Bantamweight – Larissa Pacheco vs Germaine “The Iron Lady” de Randamie
Jessica: This is a pretty solid striker versus grappler match up. Germaine has a ton of kickboxing and muay thai fights under her belt, but that hasn’t translated to many stoppage wins in MMA. Pacheco’s younger and better on the ground, but she’ll have to deal with de Randamie’s reach advantage. I’m going to give the edge to Pacheco, and say she wrangles Germaine to the ground and submits her in the second round.
Biss: Every women’s bantamweight seems to come in with some first fight jitters, so I’m going to chalk Pacheco’s first loss up to that. Pacheco wins.
Burnsy: I don’t know much about either of these fighters, but I’m willing to predict that this fight will be fun since it’s the first on Fight Pass. That seems to be the trend. That said, I’ll take The Iron Lady to buck the trend.
Vince: I don’t know much about Pacheco, but she has cool hair and glasses. I think that’s what’s going to put her over the edge in this fight. Pacheco.
Lightweight – Jake “The Librarian” Lindsey vs Joseph “Irish Joe” Duffy
Jessica: Maybe because I’ve got a friend named Jacob Lindsey, or I really liked the idea of a Fightin’ Librarian, but I jumped on Jake’s bandwagon before his first UFC fight. He’s had some setbacks, and I don’t want to abandon him, but Joe Duffy is the last person to defeat Conor McGregor, which obviously makes him a god among men. I’ll take Duffy to submit Lindsey in the first round.
Biss: Guys, this is the most important Fight Pass Prelim of all time, the debut of Joseph Duffy in the UFC. Joseph Duffy was the last man to defeat Conor McGregor before he rose on the sixth day and became the king of mankind. This is sure to be the start of his rise to Conor avenging that loss as King of All Things Martial Arts that are Mixed. He is also an Irish boxer and I’ve seen enough movies to know that I’m not picking against him. Joseph Duffy.
Burnsy: The Librarian’s brief run in the UFC has already been forgettable at best. If he loses his third straight, he’ll probably be back in the VFC, whatever that is. It’s cool that Duffy is the last guy to beat The Notorious, but that doesn’t really mean much, other than it gives us an opportunity for The Great White Hype references. That’s not to say I don’t want Duffy to be the real deal and provide strong rivalry potential, but do you know who beat Conor McGregor before Duffy? Artemj Sitenkov. Take a look at how his career has panned out. Those early losses mean nothing, so I’m going to give Lindsey the nod here.
Vince: Who doesn’t love these prelim fights between dudes we’ve all barely heard of that ruin our fight prediction records? I’m taking Duffy because I don’t like the idea that Lindsey has a loss on his record by way of heel strikes from back mount. Heel strikes? Really? Come on, man.
Flyweight – Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis vs Ryan “Baby Face” Benoit
Jessica: Baby Pettis is a good striker, but Benoit has some solid power for a tiny man. I’m going to say that Baby Pettis gets tagged with some big punches and his face gets all smushed up. Benoit wins by second round TKO.
Biss: Baby Pettis vs Baby Face… Baby Pettis.
Burnsy: The first Pettis picks up a win and continues his climb, while putting the pressure on big brother to get the even bigger W in the main event.
Vince: Benoit does indeed have solid power, but he holds his chin up high and his striking defense doesn’t look nearly as good as his striking offense. I don’t think Pettis has quite earned the name “phenom” quite yet, but he should be able to capitalize.
Heavyweight – Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt vs Josh “Cuddly Bear” Copeland
Jessica: The two chubby guys what lost in Austin are back in Texas, looking to get a win! Rosholt has a ton of power and really good wrestling, so I’m giving him all the nods here. Rosholt puts the Cuddly Bear to sleep in the first with a big ol’ KO.
Biss: Look, I’m a big guy. If I put on fight shorts I’d look a lot like Josh Copeland and maybe that’s why I just can’t get behind this goof. Why are these guys not fighting Kimbo on TUF heavyweight redemption? Jared Rosholt.
Burnsy: I like to think that Rosholt’s November loss to Alexey Oleinik was karmic justice for him defeating Soa Palelei and depriving us of a beautiful song. Beyond that, Rosholt wins this one easily and keeps my hopes alive that there’s finally some semi-decent talent rising in the heavyweight ranks.
Vince: Have I ever seen a Rosholt fight that didn’t bore me to tears? I honestly can’t remember, which makes me think no, I haven’t. Of course, I don’t remember Cuddly Bear’s fight at all either. Clearly a fight of the night candidate, this one. Rosholt by zzz?
Jared Jones: Going by the “Which one of these dudes has a Wikipedia page?” rule of thumb when it comes to predicting UFC fights, I gotta go with Rosholt. But having seen a Jared Rosholt fight before, I can assure you that there will be no true winner of this slopfest other than the insomniac viewers who are able to finally get some shut eye because of it.
Lightweight – Daron “The Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank vs Beneil “Benny” Dariush
Jessica: Unless his eyeball has been completely destroyed by that jerkstore Karl James Noons, I’m taking Hermione’s Cat all day here. He’s got rad kicks and he should be able to avoid Dariush’ take downs and utilize those kicks. Cruickshank wins by second round TKO.
Biss: Cruickshank looks like a grade A toolbag and that is the tool that holds all the other tools. He also made me feel bad for KJ Noons and no one makes me feel bad for feeling bad for KJ Noons besides me… Beneil Dariush.
Burnsy: DARIUSH DARIUSH WILL YOU DO THE FANDANGO??? Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me. (Galileo) Galileo. (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo Figaro, MAGNIFICOOOOOOoooooooooooo. Sorry, where was I? Ah yes, I’ll take Dariush to win.
Vince: I’ve never been that hot on Dariush, and Burnsy knows deep down I made that Bohemian Rhapsody joke first. I feel like Crooked Nose Cruickshank is going to be too fast and athletic for him. Cruickshank by a cruickshanking. (Burnsy note: No he didn’t.)
Jared Jones: It’s never a good indicator of how a fighter’s training camp went when they show up heavy at the weigh-ins, and that’s just what Cruickshank did. That being said, Dariush’s horrific striking defense bodes even worse against a dynamic striker like Cruikshank, so I gotta go with “The Detroit Superstar” on this one.
Middleweight – Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou vs Roger “Silverback” Narvaez
Jessica: Narvaez looked okay back in Austin, but c’mon, handsome man Elias has got this. He’s going to out strike Narvaez and win a decision.
Biss: I’m pretty indifferent on this one, but let’s go with Roger Narvaez.
Burnsy: Theodorou is my undefeated fighter of the moment (even if he’s one of the 6 billion Spartan nicknames). I pick him to remain undefeated, and I also apologize in advance to him for jinxing his career right to hell.
Vince: I’d root for The Spartan if I thought he’d chosen that nickname based on the Spartans’ proud tradition of f*cking and blowing each other, but something makes me think he has no idea. He’s the big favorite here, and I don’t know if that means the casinos know something I don’t, or if more people are betting on the guy who was on TUF. Narvaez’s one loss came by way of Patrick Cummins, who’s much better than anyone the undefeated Theodorou has fought. Eh. Vegas probably does know better than me. I’ll take the pretty Canadian, even though a Canadian man being pretty just ain’t natural, you ask me. It’s an insult to God.
Jared Jones: I’ve never heard of Narvaez before, and I cover this sport for a living. I don’t know if this says more about me or the UFC’s talent pool, but uh… “The Spartan.”
Lightweight – Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson vs Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout
Jessica: Both dudes are solid strikers, but I’ve never been a fan of Stout. I know fandom is a dumb reason to base predictions off of, but that’s what fuels most of my decisions in life, so who cares? I think Ross will land the heavier shots on Stout and put him away late. Pearson wins by third round TKO.
Biss: This should be a WAR, just keep them upright. I’ll take 3 rounds of banging. Sam is about due for one… Sam Stout.
Burnsy: I hope the people sitting in the front row have one of those Gallagher tarps for all the ear blood spray that we might see in this fight. This is really a matter of which guy can eat the most punches, but I’ll take Pearson just because.
Vince: Stout has been going win-loss-win-loss-win-loss since 2011. He’s due for another win after getting knocked out by KJ Noons in his last fight. I don’t know though. One thing you always used to be able to count on in a Sam Stout fight was Stout’s titanium chin, but after KJ Noons knocked him silly with his first punch in Stout’s last fight, I’m not so sure. And I think Pearson’s going to come out pissed after losing to Iaquinta. Pearson.
Jared Jones: I’ve got tons of respect for Stout, who seems like he’s been fighting in the UFC for 30 years without aging a single one, but he doesn’t have it anymore. Pearson by TKO.
Flyweight – Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso vs Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo
Jessica: First off, Cariaso is the slightly smaller version of Renan Barao, in that both dudes look ghoulish. I guess Chris is the hobgoblin to Renan’s goblin. Either way, he looks super weird. Cejudo suffers from Lineker Syndrome, and attempting to make 125 could be a huge issue for him. If Henry can avoid having to give blood to cut down to flyweight, he should be able to wrestle all over Cariaso. I’m going out on a limb and say that Henry has a good cut and grinds Cariaso up for fifteen minutes. Cejudo wins by decision.
Biss: Little dudes throwing lots of strikes, I’m going to go with the upset… Henry Cejudo.
Burnsy: I’m picking Cejudo, too, but with a big asterisk on it. First of all, the fight has to actually happen. Cariaso won’t fight if Cejudo doesn’t make weight so there’s a chance we picked this one for nothing. That makes me think that Cariaso is either afraid of A) wasting his time with a catchweight fight, when he knows he deserves better; or B) a healthy and ready Cejudo. UPSET CITY, BAY-BEEEEE!
Vince: Classic Mexican vs. Filipino match-up here. I want to pick my San Francisco brother Cariaso, but I feel like the biggest battle here is between Cejudo and the scale. Cejudo if he makes weight and the fight actually happens.
Jared Jones: As another general rule of thumb, I always pick the guy who has “Olympic gold medalist” listed among his credentials. Now that Cejudo has finally gotten the weight cut down, look for him to make some big waves at 125.
Heavyweight – Alistair “The Reem” Overeem vs Roy “Big Country” Nelson
Jessica: Ignoring the differences in body type, these guys are similar since if they don’t win in the first round, the chances of them winning at all are very small. It’s just that Overeem tends to get put to sleep, while Nelson just withstands horrific beatings. It’s a tough call, but I’m going to say that Overeem lands some crazy shots on Roy, but Nelson manages to connect with one stupid overhand right that puts Alistair away. Nelson wins by second round KO.
Biss: Guy number two on the card that looks like me if I put on fight shorts, Big country looks meaner, though. I would bet my lights turn out in 5 seconds with Reem. I’m pulling for Country to tap him out… Roy Nelson.
Burnsy: I think – and I hate that I think this – that this is an easy win for ‘Reem, and this is justification, albeit sad and lousy, to put him in the title picture. Nelson can take punches and give them back 10 times harder, and I certainly love him for that. But ever since Stipe Miocic killed his title chances, Nelson has been a paycheck fighter. Prove me wrong, Big Country, but I have no reason, other than radioactive urine, to pick against ‘Reem here.
Vince: This is a classic match-up of super jacked guy with terrible chin vs. big fat Lord of the Rings extra with granite in his first three chins. Who the hell ever knows with Overeem? If he can protect his chin, he can punch, knee, and kick his way to a victory against anyone, but that’s always a big if. When it’s Nelson, who (other than the Mark Hunt fight) can eat punches like meatball subs and has fists like ham hocks, that’s an even bigger if. Too big an if for my liking. I don’t think Nelson can be put away in the first round, and I don’t think Reem gets out of more than a round without Big Country testing his chin with a hook or a haymaker. Big Country.
Jared Jones: This is a battle of vastly differing body types, and even more vastly differing chin strengths. Unfortunately, The Reem has burned me too many times in the past to inspire any confidence, so even though he has far more tools to win this thing, his fight against Ben Rothwell proved that anyone with a Hillybilly haymaker can put him to bed. And Nelson has one hell of a Hillbilly haymaker.
Welterweight – Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks vs Matt “The Immortal” Brown
Jessica: VIOLENCE, WOO! Hendricks used to have crazy stupid power, but he’s learned a shameful thing called “restraint” which means “shove your head into a dude’s crotch for entire rounds at a time.” Of course, since this isn’t a five round fight, maybe Johny will throw with more power from the get-go. On the flip side, Matt Brown is literally unkillable, and I don’t see Hendricks submitting Brown any time soon. Brown will eat some big shots, maybe get his liver imploded again, but Matt Brown will just keep walking forward, swinging until Hendricks turns into a pile of meat on the canvas. Brown wins by third round TKO.
Biss: Let’s not play around, this is nothing more than Big Rigg getting back on track. The fight after this he should be in line for a rematch and get his title back… Johny Hendricks.
Burnsy: Man, this is tough. If I’m picking Matt Brown, it’s because he’s been on a tear and went five with Robbie Lawler to prove that he belonged in the title fight. If I’m picking Johny Hendricks, it’s because he’s one of my favorite fighters and I want Lawler-Hendricks III much sooner than Lawler-Brown II. I want to pick with my bias and say Hendricks will win, but I don’t feel like the Bigg Rigg is the same guy who was electrifying us up to his title shot against GSP. I’m taking Brown and I hate it. I hope I’m wrong.
Vince: God damn I love Matt Brown. Who doesn’t? He almost knocked out Robbie Lawler in that first round. I’ll be rooting my ass off for him. But I think Hendricks actually presents a bigger challenge to him than Lawler because he tries to wrestle more. Knowing he could just stand and bang with Lawler probably made that fight a little easier for Brown, who’s at his best when he’s wangin and slangin. I give Hendricks the slight edge here.
Jared Jones: Personally, I’d almost rather see these guys host an all-access, dip-spittin’-shit-kickin’ hunting show than try to decapitate each other, but Hendricks looks in the best shape of his life and has more ways to win — mainly, with his wrestling. The former champ for the win.
Strawweight – Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Jessica: I’m still holding a fierce grudge against Carla for beating both Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas, so I can’t pick her, even though she does have solid wrestling, which I always fear is the European striker’s kryptonite. Joanna’s kickboxing is really good, and I hope she’s been working on take down defense because I expect Carla to be shooting non-stop doubles. Jedrzejczyk kick-punches her way to a fourth round TKO.
Biss: Well that whole TUF run was fun, but now its time for people to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real. Cookie Monster’s days are up, maybe she can move on to that fun anti-bullying match with Randa Markos… Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Burnsy: I’m going with that long J name that I can’t spell, too.
Vince: I’ll admit, it’s hard to separate reasoned analysis from the way my heart feels about Carla Esparza’s boring personality + boring fighting style + lisp. God, that feels petty, even for me. Nonetheless, I have to respect the hell out of her for finishing Rose Namajunas, who would seem to present a similar challenge as Jedrzejczyk. I could be picking with my heart, but I love that scrappy Pole. I think she hits a little harder than Thug Rose and has better takedown defense. I never feel good about picking a European to beat a grinding wrestler, but as far as I’ve seen, Jedrzejczyk has great takedown defense, solid striking, and Meisha Tate-like durability. She’ll make Esparza pay for those failed takedown attempts.
Jared Jones: My heart really wants to go with JJ here, who is the strangest combination of fiercely intense and kind of sexy that I have come across since my 8th grade math teacher, Ms. Dszywrsytristkie (she was also Polish). But Carla has been in the game too long and faced too good of competition, so I have to go with the chalk bet here.
Lightweight – Anthony “Showtime” Pettis vs Rafael Dos Anjos
Jessica: I’m really torn here. Part of me wants Pettis to win so that Khabib can finally face him for the belt. On the other hand, with this brief stretch excluded, Pettis seems to always be injured, so I assume RDA being champ would mean more title defenses. Pettis’ striking is crazy good, but I’ve been really impressed with what Dos Anjos has been doing recently. It’s a toss up, but I’m going with Pettis to retain and hopefully stay healthy enough for Khabib Nurmagomedov to take the belt from him. Pettis wins by second round submission.
Biss: I used to hate Pettis in WEC, but after watching him be the TUF coach that “tries harder” and watching him awkwardly walk the “you’re all girls but I’m not going to treat you any differently” line, though he was clearly uncomfortable as hell about it, has made him grow on me. This is a big test for him, but I’m pulling for him. Plus, I’d love to see him fight Cowboy again… Anthony Pettis.
Burnsy: With all due respect to the champ, Dos Anjos fought four times in 2014 to prove he wants to be in this main event. Pettis has fought four times since 2012. Dos Anjos is hungrier than anyone for this title and I want to pick him based on that. But now I’m going to talk myself right out of it – Melendez, Henderson, Cerrone, Lauzon. Those are the four guys Pettis fought since 2012 and he finished all of them in style. He’s still my pick for the best in the world when he’s healthy, so even though I would love to see new arms raising that belt, Pettis won’t be stopped.
Vince: Before I pick I just want to reflect on the fact that I never thought the Ferengi-looking dude who got uppercut into the moon by Jerramy Stevens (spelling? I refuse to fact check someone’s yooneek spelling of “Jeremy”) would be fighting for a title. But anyone who beat Cerrone, Henderson, and Diaz certainly deserves it. Dude knocked out Ben Henderson! That said, Pettis also beat Cerrone and Henderson, and Gil Melendez, who showed up for that fight throwing bombs. All this to say I give Pettis the slight edge, and I expect a barn burner.
Jared Jones: RDA had the look of a man possessed at the weigh-ins yesterday, but Pettis is simply a different breed of animal. He’s too dynamic, too unpredictable, and too finely groomed. The champ retains his title in a barnburner.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Cruickshank, Rosholt
Burnsy: Pettis, Pettis
Vince: Pettis, Big Cunty
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Brown vs Hendricks
Burnsy: I believe it will be Brown vs Hendricks, but I’ll take Pearson vs Stout with the hopes that they paint Dallas red.
Vince: I don’t trust Hendricks to resist the temptation to wrestle-f*ck, so I’m going with Pettis-Dos Anjos.