MANILA, Philippines – After pulling off a successful return to the Octagon this past December, Anthony Pettis is booked to defend the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight title against Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC 185 on March 14 (March 15 in PH).
The championship clash between Pettis and Dos Anjos was publicly confirmed during the broadcast of the UFC 182 pay-per-view on Sunday, January 4 (PH Time) and is set to take place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Pettis (18-2) recently made a triumphant comeback after spending more than a year on the sidelines due to multiple injuries that occurred in training camp.
In his highly-anticipated return, the 27-year-old native of Milwaukie, Wisconsin submitted ex-Strikeforce 155-pound kingpin Gilbert Melendez with a second-round guillotine choke to retain the UFC lightweight belt around his waist.
Since capturing the World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight trinket in December 2010 and moving to the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, Pettis has fought six times under the UFC banner, losing his promotional debut versus Clay Guida via three-round verdict in June 2011.
The 5-foot-9 Roufusport representative bounced back from his disappointing defeat to Guida with five-straight victories, thumping the likes of Jeremy Stephens, Joe Lauzon, Donald Cerrone, Benson Henderson and Melendez.
On the other hand, Dos Anjos (23-7) has won eight of his last nine bouts, with his lone setback coming to fellow lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was highly touted to face Pettis for the gold-plated strap.
With Nurmagomedov still nursing a knee ailment, the 30-year-old Brazilian is the rightful challenger on paper to square off with the champion inside the UFC cage.
Since bowing down to Nurmagomedov in April 2014, Dos Anjos racked an impressive three-fight winning streak, scoring back-to-back knockouts of Jason High and Henderson before attaining a lopsided win over Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 13 in December. – Rappler.com