After two withdrawals between Rafael dos Anjos and Islam Makhachev respectively, the UFC asked lightweight contender Paul Felder to step in and fight on short notice – and that he did. Most recently it was Makhachev who withdrew with a staph infection, and therefore dos Anjos will be staring at Felder across the octagon on Saturday 14 November. It is going to be an intriguing match-up between a former lightweight champion and the division’s number seven. Mathias Kamfjord will be taking you through the action as it happens.
Dos Anjos: Anyone, anywhere, anytime is the case with MMA-veteran dos Anjos, who is looking for a new chapter in the lightweight division. A weight-class he previously was the champion after beating Anthony Pettis in March 2015 – but only to lose the title a year later against Eddie Alvarez. It is going to be interesting seeing him back after four years away from the division, and how he will perform carrying less weight. He is known of only fighting the elites the UFC has to offer and that is certainly the case today. The Brazilian has only won one in his last five and looking to turn that negative trend around.
Felder: Sit down, relax, grab some popcorn and enjoy yourself because this might be the last time we see Felder in the octagon. He stated in an interview with ESPN that there is a 50% probability that he will retire after this fight. He was supposed to feature as a co-commentator for this main event but stepped in on five days’ notice after Makhachev pulled out. However, he has been training for a triathlon lately, so that made the cut to 155 pounds easier and his cardio will in all likelihood be adequate. He lost an action-filled, close decision to Dan Hooker in February after a five-fight win streak at lightweight. An orthodox brawler will stand across the Brazilian veteran and this fight has the potential for fireworks.
- They are both 36-years-old
- Felder (178 cm) slightly taller than dos Anjos (173 cm) – however, they possess a similar reach (Felder 179 cm) (dos Anjos 178 cm)
- Dos Anjos is a -190 favourite over +160 Felder
- Dos Anjos:
- 29-13 MMA record
- Dos Anjos lands an average of 3.47 significant strikes per minute and absorbs 3.18
- He lands an average of 1.82 takedowns per 15 minutes
- He is eighth on the overall list of significant strikes landed and sixth in strikes landed in the UFC
- Tied fourth for most fights in the UFC
- Tied sixth for most wins
- Made his MMA debut in 2004 and UFC debut in 2008
- He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
- 13-7 at Lightweight
- Has a 17-5 MMA record
- Felder lands an average of 3.67 significant strikes per minute and absorbs 3.40
- He lands an average of 0.25 takedowns per 15 minutes
- Felder made his MMA-debut in 2011 and UFC debut in 2014
- He is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
- 9-4 at Lightweight
The fighters square off and we are ready for this fight!
Felder looks fresh early on here, but dos Anjos has been more active. The latter got cut pretty early in the round after a striking exchange – but took Felder down after forcing him up back against the fence. Felder gets up after about half a minute without taking any substantial damage – RDA tried a standing arm choke in the exchange without success. Then Felder forced RDA up against the fence, but the Brazilian reversed the clinch position, controlled Felder for a few seconds and landed multiple heavy shots right before the bell. It is pretty evenly matched when the fight is standing, however, RDA is looking superior in the grappling department.
First-round is probably a 10-9 dos Anjos. Great fight so far!
Active kickboxing exchange early before dos Anjos initiates a grappling exchange – Felder defends and circles away from the cage. Felder has brought some Muay-thai to this fight with his elbow strikes. Both fighters are striking with a lot of force, but dos Anjos is more focused on mixing his game up with wrestling. RDA throws a damaging elbow after disengaging the clinch – Felder’s takedown defence has upheld thus far. ”Felder is exceptionally fast. The fastest I’ve ever seen him” says commentator Michael Bisping during this second round – he has got a point. The latter has looked very fresh so far, you would not have thought this is a fighter who is taking this match on five days’ notice. Third time RDA is clinching his opponent against the cage in this round, and he does a nice footsweep which got Felder down. Looks very much like a Khabib holding an opponent down, the way RDA is grappling. Felder gets back up but in danger of being taken down again. He does escape and throws a nice body kick at the end of the round.
The horn goes and it looked like another 10-9 for dos Anjos. Slightly more action in this round.
Very kick-heavy early in this round from both fighters. RDA constantly looking for a takedown, forced Felder back up again. Felder escapes and throws a decent elbow. Felder is now holding his opponent up against the cage. RDA gets out and immediately shoots a double-leg takedown and succeeds. Felder gets up after being controlled for a short period of time. He absorbs an elbow on the way out after defending in a clinch position. Felder is fainting a lot, while dos Anjos is more focused on volume-striking. The latter slams Felder down after shooting another takedown. He is really the higher-level wrestler here – but Felder is taking minimal damage while being on his back.
That is in all likelihood another 10-9 round for the Brazilian. High-action fight thus far, and it will be interesting to see if they can both keep up the pace.
Felder’s coach says he has to finish RDA know – he replies starting the round with a jumping-knee and heavy pressure. Both fighters very active and landing several strikes at the start of this round as well. Dos Anjos, once again, backs Felder up against the fence – and controls him. Felder reverses him after about half a minute. However, dos Anjos reverses him back – before his opponent finally breaks up the clinch. Felder is very active in his striking now – really swinging for the fences. RDA throws a left hand but Felder ducks under and shoots a takedown with success. However, RDA sweeps and gets Felder’s back and throws heavy punches. A lot of grappling in this round.
Most likely another 10-9 for dos Anjos in this round. Felder has to look for a finish in this final round.
Fifth and final round! Felder has to look for a finish or he would most likely lose this fight.
Dos Anjos immediately shoots a double-leg but Felder defends it. The latter throws a step-knee but the Brazilian ducks under and pushes his opponent to the fence, once again. He throws an elbow and breaks, only to instantly shoot a takedown, which gets Felder down. RDA stays on top out in the open of the octagon-mat. He is looking for an arm-triangle from half-guard, but Felder’s submission-defence prevents it from it being successful. Dos Anjos is throwing heavy knees to Felder’s body while holding him down. However, Felder manages to get back up. Referee Herb Dean is calling them to work while they are clinching – RDA responds with taking ”The Irish Dragon” down once again. The round ends with RDA on top and in control of the fight. This decision will probably go his way.
Official decision: Rafael dos Anjos wins a Split Decision over Paul Felder (50-45, 50-45 and 47-48)
Very interesting how one judge scored three rounds and the fight for Felder…
Where do they go from here?
Dos Anjos delivered a brilliant performance and game-plan, and can look forward to a new chapter in the lightweight division. He is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with. He has proved it before in this stacked UFC-division and has a lot of potential interesting match-ups ahead of him. We saw Conor McGregor call him out on Twitter saying he would be open to fight him after the Dustin Poirier contest. That would definitely be an intriguing fight after it got cancelled back in March 2016 due to RDA withdrawing with an injury. However, one thing is for sure, and that is dos Anjos will be fighting an elite Mixed Martial Artist next.
As for Felder, this is not a defeat to be too disappointed about. Fighting a legend like RDA on five days notice and looking as sharp and competitive as he did, is something to be proud of. He had his moments in the fight and has clearly a lot to offer in MMA in the upcoming years, both as a fighter and a co-commentator. Great to see him calling off that retirement statement after the fight – he is unquestionably a fighter a lot of fans love to watch.
Thanks for following! Goodbye.