Rafael dos Anjos convincingly beat Paul Felder this Saturday in the main event of the UFC Fight Night 182 held in Las Vegas.
The final result states that the Brazilian triumphed after a split decision, but the reality was that he dominated the bout right from the start until the final horn. One of three judges outside the ring, Chris Lee, gave three rounds to Felder (17-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC), and many are suggesting that he did that because the American decided to jump in and replace Islam Makhachev five days before the event.
dos Anjos (30-13 MMA, 19-11 UFC) too praised Felder following the fight, speaking highly of his opponent, who managed to avoid all his attempts to finish him.
“He’s tough as nails,” dos Anjos said. “It’s really hard to fight the guys with that mindset. I had a lot on the line, and he came strong. … He kept pushing. He has a big heart.”
But in this one, Felder’s big heart couldn’t make up for not having the training camp and not having the properly elaborated gameplan. He had stamina, because of his preparations for a triathlon race, but that was insufficient against the former lightweight champ.
dos Anjos was more diverse, and he used the advantage on the ground, often scoring takedowns and dominating Felder in those situations. The Brazilian would avoid all the rival’s attacks in the stand-up, while also inflicting solid damage on the other side, using quick hit-and-retreat combos that would eventually cut Felder pretty badly.
But even that couldn’t finish the rival, with the 35-year old once again backing up his reputation as one of the toughest fighters in the entire UFC organization. We are just wondering what would be the outcome if he had enough time to prepare for dos Anjos.
After losing to Dan Hooker in his previous bout, also via split decision, Felder was disappointed up to the point that he even considered retiring. It seems that such a scenario is not on the table anymore.
“We had a five-round battle, and I can tell you guys with certainty I am not going anywhere right now,” he said.
We’ll see what will happen next with Felder, who is among the best lightweights in the world. It is pretty possible that after this event, UFC awards him with a big fight, a headliner, maybe.
Felder lost three matches in the last eight, all of them after a split decision – vs. Hooker, Mike Perry, and this one. Meanwhile, he posted wins over James Vick and Edson Barboza, among others.
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) November 15, 2020
dos Anjos’ return to lightweight was carefully monitored, and after the former champ now wants a bigger challenge. The first name on his list is none other than Conor McGregor’s.
“If you look at the contenders, only me and Conor, we are the only real [former] champions in that division. … If the division is open, I think me and Conor is the fight to make.”
McGregor, on the other hand, should meet with Dustin Poirier in January if everything goes well. MMA insiders are suggesting that he doesn’t have RDA in his plans if he wins this bout.
With Khabib out of the picture, the Brazilian decided to come back to the lightweight division. dos Anjos tried to make his name among the welterweights, but after three consecutive wins early on, he lost four of the previous five contests. All of them were against the top names, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, Michael Chiesa, and Leon Edwards.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.