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USA Today

Got plans for Saturday night, UFC fans?

No? You better make some.

After this weekend, you aren’t going to have much free time until—oh—October or so.

There may not be a UFC event scheduled for Saturday, but beginning next week the fight company launches headlong into the heart of its 2015 schedule. Things are going to get a little crazy.

During the next 27 weeks, the organization will put on 25 of the 46 events scheduled for this year. They will come at a fast and furious pace. It will be a bonanza for fight enthusiasts, a breakneck sprint through a minimum of eight title fights, seven pay-per-views and an endless loop of smaller Fight Night events going down in far-flung locations from Virginia to Poland, New Jersey to the Philippines, Glasgow, Rio and Houston.

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USA Today

LAS VEGAS — Conor McGregor is not a man known for his subdued nature.

McGregor is brash, from his newfound taste for expensively tailored suits to the over-the-top persona that has quickly turned him into one of the UFC's biggest stars. And he has backed it up in the Octagon thus far, putting together a streak of wins that will land him in the cage this summer in the headlining bout of the UFC's International Fight Week against featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo.

But mostly, McGregor is known for his personality and for the things he says when the cameras are on. Last week, while in Rio de Janeiro, McGregor spoke of how, in a different and much older time, he would ride into Aldo's favela on horseback and kill everyone who was not fit to work.

He has branded himself the king of the featherweights, and on Monday morning he told a gathering of reporters that he planned on leaving the division after beating Aldo, unless the rest of the top-10 featherweights lined up and apologized for offending him.

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USA Today

Many words have been written about Josh Koscheck since Saturday's loss to Erick Silva. Many more will be written in the coming days.

There is something about nostalgia that tugs at the heartstrings. Koscheck spent the better part of a decade being booed by UFC fans. From the moment he appeared on The Ultimate Fighter, Koscheck was The Bad Guy. There was something about him that rubbed us the wrong way, even if we couldn't figure out why, and even if we had no way of knowing if the Koscheck we saw on our television was the real thing.

But the thing about reality television is that it is not real at all.

Last year, I participated in the filming of a popular reality show here in Las Vegas. I was a massive fan of the show, and so I was ecstatic for the opportunity. But I was naive. There was almost no "reality" in the show, at all. It was scripted, with multiple takes and extras. The set wasn't even real. After a day of filming, I went home disappointed.

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Jason da Silva/USA Today

Not much of consequence happened at UFC Fight Night 62 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Not much of consequence could have.

It's become tradition for the UFC to travel to Brazil, find the cupboard bare of fighters with even a semblance of name recognition and simply toss together a collection of random parts and hope for the best. Sometimes it's a good time, with spectacular finishes making fans forget they are watching fighters they've never heard of. Sometimes, it's a dreadful, never-ending morass.

Sometimes, it's both.

In a new post-fight series, we'll look at the card as a whole and choose the five best and worst moments—the handful of things worth talking about on Twitter or at the water cooler if you are reading this from 1962.

Want to extend the bout from five rounds into infinity? That's what the comments are for. Make your voice heard.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

There was a bittersweet quality to Rafael dos Anjos’ victory over Anthony Pettis at UFC 185.

It was as if, even as he was winning the lightweight title, Dos Anjos couldn’t win.

The new champion turned in a commanding performance on Saturday night, succinctly dragging all of Pettis’ weaknesses out of the dark recesses of our memories and putting them on full display. He beat Pettis up on the feet, stifled his flashy, sometimes garish offense with workmanlike forward pressure and took him down at will.

Against fairly long odds, Dos Anjos won every single painstaking round, suddenly and utterly changing the trajectory of the 155-pound division before our very eyes.

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AP Images

Just six years separate Demian Maia and Ryan LaFlare chronologically, but in their chosen profession, that might as well be a lifetime. The gap between them, stylistically and in the cage, is nearly unfathomable. 

Maia is the last of a dying breed in mixed martial arts—the specialist. While most modern fighters come up in the sport perfecting, to various degrees, a number of disciplines and techniques, Maia is the master of just one. Brazilian jiu jitsu has, and always will be, his calling card. 

It's an art that led him to much early success in the UFC. Before LaFlare had even begun his own professional career, Maia was in the midst of five consecutive submission finishes. Almost five years ago, he made it to the top of the hill, only to have the king, Anderson Silva, send him plummeting right back down. 

Since that loss, Maia has pieced together a 7-4 UFC record. Not bad, but hardly the calling card of excellence. Is there a place in the sport for a 37-year-old man on a one-trick pony? Former UFC bantamweight champion and current Fox Sports 1 analyst Dominick Cruz joins me to discuss both Maia's fight against LaFlare Saturday on Fox Sports 1 and his long-term prospects in the volatile world of MMA .

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Mark J. Terrill/AP Images

If recent reports from Brazilian outlet Tatame (h/t MMAJunkie) are true, we'll see UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey head to Brazil to defend her title on August 1 against Bethe Correia in the main event of UFC 190.

Rousey is almost certainly the UFC's biggest star. Thus far, the quick nature of her fights has not discouraged fans from buying what she's selling. The UFC never publicly discusses its pay-per-view numbers, but rough external estimates seem to indicate her solo drawing power has surpassed Jon Jones and other male stars.

Even when pitted against unheralded fighters with very little name value, Rousey seems to pull in a large number of casual fans.

That means that Rousey might have achieved a level of stardom that will allow her to draw a very good number of pay-per-view buys, no matter who she's pitted against. And if Tatame's report is correct, we'll soon have our chance to see if that theory is correct.

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Tim Heitman/USA Today

Despite Saturday night’s UFC 185 drubbing at the hands of Rafael dos Anjos, Anthony Pettis still has some things going his way.

He’s still relatively young (28), a magnetic presence in the UFC landscape and will still look good flipping tires in a Reebok commercial. All things considered, the doomsday clock hasn’t quite reached zero for the recently deposed lightweight champion.

With that said, if such a thing existed, Pettis probably would’ve been first in line to ride a time machine following the Dos Anjos bout.

A week ago, the world was his eight-sided, chain-link oyster. He was the perhaps the odds-on favorite to become the biggest star among the UFC’s new crop of champions. He was being bandied as a potential top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. There were superfights resting just beyond his grasp.

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USA today

Another month, another UFC pay per view in the books. Saturday's UFC 185 was historic for several reasons, but the most important takeaway? In an era where championships don't trade hands all that often, UFC 185 saw the crowning of two new champs. 

Let's take a took at what we loved, learned and hated from the Dallas fight card. 

LOVED: JOANNA CHAMPION

When 16 female strawweights entered the Ultimate Fighter house last year, they went with the pressure of trying to live up to the standards set by Ronda Rousey. Such is the nature of Rousey's personality, and such is her meaning to other women participating in combat sports, that an entire new division of fighters were constantly asked if they had what it took to be the next Rousey. Dana White publicly hinted that the house might contain the next Rousey, because being the next Rousey meant being the UFC's next big star and an anchor for a division.

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Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

On Saturday evening, I watched UFC 185 with two friends who work for a highly respected social media company here in Las Vegas. They're up on all the latest and greatest tools and trends in the social world, which is expanding faster than I can keep track.

They told me about a new online polling tool called Wedgies that makes it easy to poll Twitter followers. And, look: I am a sucker for a good poll. I love making them, and I like watching the results come in. So I instantly made one asking readers who would win between Anthony Pettis and Rafael dos Anjos. Eighty percent of the respondents said Pettis, which meant they were just as wrong as the rest of us. Dos Anjos absolutely smoked Pettis to capture the lightweight title.

The next poll sought to determine who the UFC's handsomest fighter is: Luke Rockhold, Elias Theodorou or Lyoto Machida. Rockhold, as expected, ran away with that one and rightly so.

Today, I decided to get a little more serious. The UFC has (knock on wood) an incredible slate of title fights coming up between now and July's International Fight Week card, and I wanted to see which one my followers were looking forward to the most.