Aside from a unanimous decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov last April, dos Anjos has won every fight he’s booked since 2011, and has won three in a row. To close out 2014, the Brazilian KO’d Benson Henderson and then steamrolled through Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 13.
During this time, not only has dos Anjos showcased his highly regarded ground game, but he’s demonstrated some pretty nasty striking skills to boot. So, perhaps this is why dos Anjos recently told Brazil’s Globo the following (comments via Bloody Elbow.com):
“I’m super excited with this opportunity, it will be my fifth fight in 12 months. I like to be the underdog, I’m used to it. It’s a motivation for me and against Pettis will be no different. I fight well when have big challenges. I knocked Ben Henderson out and I’ll do the same with Pettis. I want to make history and become the first Brazilian to win the lightweight title.”
“I think that you have to put pressure on Pettis, otherwise he starts to throws those kicks that he has. He’s a creative guy, I think that you have to not let him breathe. He’s a great champion, has a strong game, he’s coming from a impressive streak, finished two former champions, such as Henderson and Melendez. He’s also young, well rounded, knocks people out, submits guys, but I think that his reign will end. He’s a human being, he has already lost and made mistakes. I see a lot of flaws in his game but I won’t tell because I would be giving him a chance to correct things, but I know that my volume will be important. I’m only sure that this fight will not go to the distance. I’ll will train to finish him by KO or submission. I don’t know how but I’ll win.”
Now of course, Gilbert Melendez is also an extremely, well rounded fighter who pressured “Showtime”, and Pettis won that fight via a second round, guillotine choke. As dos Anjos noted, the champ also has a recent submission win over Henderson, who is widely considered to be one of the most versatile, 155’ers on the planet.
It’s a compelling fight, no question, and it will be interesting to see if dos Anjos can score the upset. Pettis-Dos Anjos will headline UFC 185 on March 14th, which will take place in Dallas, Texas.