Tag Archives: Rafael Dos Anjos

UFC 272: Covington vs Masvidal – Main card predictions

A super highly anticipated grudge match main event at UFC 272 is finally upon us as Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal will clash in the welterweight division.

‘Chaos’ and ‘Gamebred’ will finally settle their very personal differences in the octagon after their friendship went sour several years ago, but while fans are hoping for a scrap it could actually be a bit of a mistmatch.

We’ll also see a five-round co-main event that was put together on short-notice as Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Renato Moicano at a 160-pound catchweight.

The last time we made picks was at UFC Vegas 48: Walker vs Hill a couple of weeks ago and we did pretty well, going 9/12 with three perfect picks to move to 548/852 (64.32%) with 234 perfect picks (42.7%).

Check out our full record for our predictions to date here.

We’ll look to improve that record here and after starting with the early prelims, and then completing our prelims picks here, lets move on to the main card.


Serghei Spivac (13-3) vs Greg Hardy (7-4) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A big heavyweight fight that got delayed a few months from UFC 270 and placed at the start of this main card. Spivac saw a three-fight win streak snapped by Tom Aspinall most recently at UFC Vegas 36, while Hardy has suffered consecutive KO defeats to Marcin Tybura at UFC Vegas 17 and then Tai Tuivasa at UFC 264 most recently.

Spivac is a fighter who looks to chain together his takedowns and uses his wrestling to get the fight to the ground and use vicious ground and pound. Hardy is a powerhouse who just brawls, but has been trying to use his kicks more as fights have gone on and his career has developed. Unfortunately for him though, his ground game is non-existent and if he ends up on his back then this fight is as good as over.

His takedown defence has been pretty good so far considering his short amount of time in the sport, but Spivac is one of the better wrestlers in the division. So long as he doesn’t get blitzed with a big shot early on, the fight begins to lean into his favour the longer it goes and eventually he will secure a takedown and then it’s a matter of when not if he gets the finish.
PICK – Serghei Spivac via Submission, Round 2

Kevin Holland (21-7) vs Alex Oliveira (22-11-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A really intriguing fight for the 2020 Fighter of the Year winner as he finally makes the move into a new weight class. Holland got defeated by Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22 and Marvin Vettori at UFC Vegas 23 in short succession, before a no-contest against Kyle Daukaus following a clash of heads means he’s three fights without a win. ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira has lost his last three in a row, with submissions against Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 254, Randy Brown at UFC 261 and then a decision against Niko Price at UFC Vegas 38.

Holland is an excellent kickboxer with some solid grappling skills too, but his wrestling defence has let him down in fights against dominant wrestlers. Oliveira is not that, although his jiu-jitsu skills are great and he has decent power in his hands. Holland will look to stay away from the body lock of Oliveira, using his range to land kicks and long, straight strikes and he absolutely has the power to put people out in this division.

Oliveira is good and is definitely a threat in some situations, but this seems like Holland’s fight to lose. He is the bigger fighter, the more powerful striker and has a huge speed advantage. I expect Oliveira to make a go of it early on, but Holland will land big later in the first round and claim an impressive finish to get his career back on track.
PICK – Kevin Holland via Knockout, Round 1

Edson Barboza (22-10) vs Bryce Mitchell (14-0) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

This is a really exciting featherweight fight between two guys with title aspirations in their sights. Barboza saw a two-fight win streak ended when Giga Chikadze blitzed him in the main event at UFC Vegas 35, while Mitchell is undefeated in his professional career officially although he did get beaten on TUF by Brad Katona. His most recent win came via unanimous decision over Andre Fili at UFC Vegas 12.

This is as big a striker vs grappler fight as you will see in the UFC at the top level for a while. Barboza is a skillful striker who uses hard leg kicks, spinning techniques and brilliant boxing skills too, while Mitchell is all about securing a takedown and then wrapping you up in submissions. His striking isn’t horrendous, but it’s certainly his glaring weakness.

If this fight stays standing, then I expect Barboza to do a lot of damage. Mitchell’s head movement isn’t very good and he relies heavily on getting those takedowns, something that Barboza blows hot and cold on defending. If it stays standing, Barboza wins. If Mitchell gets it down, he’ll keep getting takedowns and control rounds as well as anyone. It’s tough to call, but I have to go with the pressure of Mitchell to eventually secure those takedowns and claim the win.
PICK – Bryce Mitchell via Decision



Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13) vs Renato Moicano (16-4-1) – (Catchweight/160lbs)

A very short-notice five-round fight between two excellent Brazilians in the co-main event. Dos Anjos was supposed to fight Rafael Fiziev before VISA issues and then COVID put an end to that. RDA hasn’t fought in over a year, with a win over Paul Felder at UFC Vegas 14 his last bout. Moicano is ona two-fight win streak after submission wins over Jai Herbert at UFC Vegas 30 and then Alexander Hernandez just a few weeks ago at UFC 271.

Dos Anjos is a former world champion, with an incredibly well-rounded skillset that can see him strike, wrestle and grapple with the very best at 155-pounds. Moicano is a slick striker with phenomenal jiu-jitsu skills, who spent a lot of his career at featherweight. Dos Anjos is usually at his best when he secures a takedown, takes control on the ground and then starts working for submissions. If he is on the ground with Moicano though, there is danger there.

In his advantage though, this is a full camp RDA who used to fight at welterweight taking on Moicano who is coming in on five-days’ notice in a 25-minute bout. On the feet RDA should have the advantage with his size despite the height and reach disadvantage, because he’ll use hard leg kicks and his weight to lean on Moicano. Eventually he’ll get him down, wear on him and secure a late finish against a game Moicano.
PICK – Rafael Dos Anjos via Submission, Round 4

Colby Covington (16-3) vs Jorge Masvidal (35-15) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The biggest fight of the night and the one everyone will be waiting for. Covington 1-2 in his last three fights, with a win over Tyron Woodley at UFC Vegas 11 sandwiched between defeats to Kamaru Usman in title fights, the most recent coming at UFC 268 in November last year. Masvidal is on a two-fight losing streak, with both defeats coming to Usman in title fights too at UFC 251 and UFC 261. Prior to that he had won three in a row, all via knockout.

Covington is the best wrestler in the division after Usman, with incredible cardio and much improved striking in his game since leaving American Top Team. Masvidal is a brawler with excellent boxing, a great switch kick and good defensive wrestling skills. The fact these two are former best friends and teammates with a personal rivalry means we’re expecting a scrap, but Covington is unlikely to engage in a straight up war with ‘Gamebred’.

Expect the younger fighter with the better wrestling to use his pressure to force Masvidal backwards, strike from range to set up his takedowns and constantly drag him down against the fence to wear on him. Masvidal will try to get back up, but Covington will bring him down again and land dominant shots on the ground to earn a wide decision victory in a fight that won’t have the fireworks many people are hoping for.
PICK – Colby Covington via Decision

Booking the UFC lightweight division after UFC 268

After UFC 267 and UFC 268 took place in consecutive weeks, the lightweight division has moved significantly forward in terms of the title picture.

After such a long period of domination by Khabib Nurmagomedov at the top of the mountain, it took a while for Dana White and the UFC to move on from him and help the division forward.

But with the title fight at UFC 262 which saw Charles Oliveira crowned champion, we finally got movement. Now, the UFC has finally stepped forward.



At UFC 267 it was Islam Makhachev who took the headlines at 155lbs. The man who is regarded as the heir to Khabib’s throne by the man himself took on Dan Hooker in a fight that many expected to be the toughest of his career.

Instead, Makhachev walked through the New Zealand native with an immediate takedown and then a nasty kimura lock to earn a first-round submission win.

It means a nine-fight win streak and a move up to fourth in the UFC rankings, with many believing he is now the obvious next contender for the title against the winner of UFC 269’s main event between the champion Oliveira and Dustin Poirier.

One person who didn’t believe that however was the man who is currently ranked at number two – Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje took on Michael Chandler at UFC 268 on Saturday night and in the undoubted fight of the year (and my personal favourite fight ever) went to war, with the belief that a win earned him another shot at the belt.

In a stunning back and forth bout where both men were hurt several times, ‘The Highlight’ came out victorious via a unanimous judge’s decision – his first since time going the distance since 2014.

But those results and performances have given the UFC a headache-and-a-half going forward. How does the UFC book the division now for 2022? We’ve had a go at doing it ourselves.


Winner of Oliveira/Poirier vs Islam Makhachev

This shouldn’t be controversial at all, but Makhachev absolutely deserves the next title shot.

A nine-fight win streak, beating excellent guys along the way and now starting to add finishes to his resumé too. He has the skillset to really cause a problem for either guy and both would be fresh match ups. Not to mention that he’s never had a title shot before.

Loser of Oliveira/Poirier vs Justin Gaethje

It may seem harsh to give Gaethje someone coming off a loss, but it makes sense. Gaethje’s last fight before the Chandler war was a title shot in which he was largely dominated, so to go straight back in for the belt after just one fight seems unfair when Makhachev exists.

Just like Robert Whittaker up a few divisions, Gaethje should beat the top guys and earn the spot back. A win over either Oliveira or Poirier after their title fight would mean he has no equal in terms of deserving a title shot.

Beneil Dariush vs Michael Chandler

Beneil Dariush reacts after defeating Tony Ferguson in their lightweight bout during the UFC 262 event at Toyota Center on May 15, 2021 in Houston,...

The forgotten man in the top five is Dariush, but he has a huge claim to being close to the title too. Currently on a seven-fight win streak after dominating Tony Ferguson at UFC 262, Dariush took some time away for his family with his wife pregnant.

But come 2022 he is likely to be ready to trade leather again, and who better than the former Bellator champ? Dariush only has the one marquee win, so may need to be built up a little more for a title shot and a win over Chandler would absolutely do that.

For Chandler, it’s a chance to put this most recent defeat behind him but also a reward for such a good performance despite the result. His stocks will have only risen with that fight, so there’s no harm in this match-up.

Conor McGregor vs Rafael Dos Anjos

Rafael dos Anjos of Brazil and Conor McGregor of Ireland face off during the UFC 197 on-sale press conference event inside MGM Grand Hotel & Casino...

You can’t talk about lightweight without mentioning Conor McGregor but after back-to-back losses to Poirier at UFC 257 and UFC 264, the UFC should have him fighting someone slightly lower down in the rankings.

Dos Anjos is desperate for another run at the title at 155lbs, but his first reign with the belt put him on a collision course with the Notorious one, until a broken foot ultimately led to the now legendary McGregor-Diaz feud.

There is a back-story for the company to build on, animosity to fuel McGregor, a payday for Dos Anjos and the chance to work their way up the rankings for both fighters. It just makes sense.

Planning out 2021 for the UFC lightweight division

The lightweight championship is no longer vacant as the ‘Do Bronx’ era began at UFC 262 when Charles Oliveira knocked out Michael Chandler in Houston, Texas.

The 31-year-old made it nine wins in a row at 155lbs with a second round stoppage, after surviving a scare in the first round to become the 11th undisputed world champion in the organisation’s history to take over from Khabib Nurmagomedov.

While the belt is now occupied, the division is far from settled with so many top contenders immediately ready to challenge and ensure he isn’t just a paper champion.

So how does the division play out going forward? Oliveira is the champion and seems ready to take on all comers but the top six ranked guys can all be paired up together but what is the best way to do it, so that the next contender makes sense?

Well the obvious next contender is the winner of the Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor trilogy at UFC 264.

The two fought back in 2014 in the featherweight division, with Notorious getting the first round knockout win en route to his stunning title win over Jose Aldo before claiming the lightweight crown from Eddie Alvarez.

They met again in January of this year in a rematch but this time at 155lbs, with a very different result. Poirier used calf kicks brilliantly to destabilise McGregor’s movement and while the Irishman landed some big shots, ‘Diamond’ was able to come through them this time and eventually get a huge knockout win of his own in the second round.

Opponents Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor pose face off for media during the UFC 257 press conference event inside Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island...

That win should have seen Poirier challenge for the title in his next bout, but instead he opted to take the money fight with McGregor for a final trilogy bout – something he was praised for by UFC president Dana White.

Poirier is the most deserving man in the division for a title shot and McGregor is still without a doubt the biggest name in the sport, despite winning just once at lightweight in his entire UFC career. It’s the obvious fight to make, with Poirier’s run undeniable if he wins again while McGregor would be “back” and would be the fight Oliveira wants too as his first defence.

Justin Gaethje is still waiting in the wings for an opponent after his defeat to Khabib back at UFC 254, and the perfect choice for him could be the man who is looking to break into the top five once again – former champion Rafael Dos Anjos.

The Brazilian was the champion at 155lbs once upon a time and after a venture into welterweight where he was successful until his lack of size paid dividends against the elite of the division, he moved back down.

Since returning he got a big win over Paul Felder on short notice to push himself into the top ten and stylistically would prove a good match up against Gaethje. Both guys have a great grappling background, but are excellent strikers on the feet too and would prove to be excellent competition for one another.

Justin Gaethje of the United States celebrates after defeating Tony Ferguson of the United States in their Interim lightweight title fight during UFC...

Neither have fought since the back end of 2020 and would both be available to make a fight happen any time soon, although whether Gaethje would be willing to go against the number six ranked guy is up for debate.

The other option for Gaethje is a fight against UFC 262’s other big lightweight winner, Beneil Dariush. The Iranian dominated Tony Ferguson to a unanimous decision win in the co-main event to break into the top five and with Gaethje ranked at number two it’s certainly a fight that would make sense.

The issue with that, is that Dariush is expecting his first child next month and told everyone in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan that he doesn’t expect to come back to the cage until the end of the year or even early next year.

That would mean over a year out of the cage for Gaethje, which isn’t something that he’s likely to be happy about. For that reason, the UFC can look to pair Dariush up with the beaten challenger Chandler in their next fight as they both look to get to the top of the mountain again.

Chandler would be afforded the chance to recover from the vicious knockout he suffered, but also keep himself in the picture with a fight against a top five guy knowing that a win could set him up to get back into title contention as soon as possible.

Charles Oliveira of Brazil holds the belt after defeating Michael Chandler during their Championship Lightweight Bout at the UFC 262 event at Toyota...

So we have a mini tournament bracket that has Oliveira as the champion, with the winner of Poirier vs McGregor getting the next title shot. Gaethje vs Dos Anjos and Dariush vs Chandler, with the winners fighting each other potentially to see who would fight the winner of the original title fight.

Who’s in?

Dana White announces unofficial lightweight title tournament

The UFC lightweight division is still up in the air after Dana White’s latest comments about the title picture following UFC 258.

After Dustin Poirier knocked out Conor McGregor at UFC 257 and Michael Chandler knocked out Dan Hooker at the same event, it was believed the title picture was down to four men – Poirier, Chandler, Charles Oliveira and champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

With the Russian adamant that he is retired and has no plans of returning to the cage, it looked destined to be Poirier taking on either of Chandler or Oliveira in a bout for the title.

The UFC seemed to be pulling in the same direction, offering a fight between Chandler and Oliveira on short notice for UFC 258 which Chandler accepted, but Oliveira turned it down. It now seems that the president of the company is opting to buy more time in the battle to get Khabib to return for one more fight, by creating an unofficial mini tournament for the belt.

According to White Oliveira didn’t turn down a fight with Chandler specifically, he just turned down a short-notice fight. He now believes that fight could serve as a bracket for a tournament he is planning in his head, which would be headlined by the trilogy fight between Poirier and McGregor this summer.

Speaking exclusively to ESPN, White said:

“When you have two guys – Dustin who’s the No. 1 guy in the world ,and a guy like Conor – and they both want it that badly, you do it. These guys (at lightweight) are all going to fight it out and we will narrow it down to the two guys that will face off for the title.

What’s fun for us, being the fans, if you look at the No. 1 ranked guy in the world, Dustin Poirier, all the way down to No. 7, Rafael dos Anjos, the fights that can be made to find out who becomes the next champion are unbelievable. So we’re in for some incredible fights to find out which two of these guys from 1 to 7 will square off to become the next world champion.”

With seven fighters name checked as potential contestants in this “tournament” it sets up some fun fights. We already know it will be Poirier vs McGregor 3 and the assumption is that Chandler will fight against Oliveira. That leaves Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Dos Anjos left to battle it out.

None of the three currently have a fight scheduled, but Gaethje and Ferguson fought just last year – with the former winning in dominant fashion by way of a fifth round stoppage. With Dos Anjos winning comfortably on his return to the division against Paul Felder on short notice, the obvious choice would be to pair the two of them together.

That leaves Ferguson as the odd man out but with Islam Makachev scheduled to fight Drew Dober at UFC 259, a win for Khabib’s training partner could see him enter the bracket to fight Ferguson next and work his way up towards the top of the mountain.

All this would leave Dana White more time to try and convince Khabib to return, while also setting up spectacular fights throughout the year and at the end what we’ll have is a legitimate champion who earned their way to the belt.

That’s what everyone wants, right?

UFC Vegas 14 Fallout – Dos Anjos Calls For McGregor Fight

A card that fell apart and was saved by an Irish dragon ended with a former champion calling out an Irish phenomenon, as Rafael Dos Anjos returned to the lightweight division with a win.

Islam Makhachev withdrew from his fight with Dos Anjos six days before fight night due to injury and it was lightweight contender and commentator Paul Felder who stepped in on short-notice.

While he was rightly praised for his performance as the fight went a full five-rounds, he was largely dominated by Dos Anjos in a performance that will surely shoot him high up in the rankings quicker than expected.

He made his intentions clear post-fight too, in his interview with Michael Bisping. Dos Anjos made his case for a shot to get into the title picture, calling for a fight with Conor McGregor as they are “the only true champions of the division”.

UFC 197 On-Sale Press Conference : News Photo

He’s got a point too. If Khabib Nurmagomedov is really retired, the division is wide open. There are several top, top contenders all vying for a role with the crown and Dos Anjos has held that position before.

When Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds and moved up to lightweight, it was Dos Anjos he was supposed to fight for the 155lbs title to become the ‘champ-champ’. The Brazilian pulled out of the fight close to fight night with a broken foot though and McGregor ended up going back-to-back with Nate Diaz while Dos Anjos lost the title to Eddie Alvarez.

Since then, the only undisputed champions have been McGregor and Nurmagomedov. Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier have all had interim belts in between but none made it official afterwards.

Felder was ranked number seven prior to this weekend’s fight, so the likelihood is Dos Anjos will jump up to around that number. McGregor is due to fight Poirier in January, Ferguson and Michael Chandler look likely to fight either in December or early in 2021 while Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje and Dan Hooker are all currently without a fight.

A fight (and a win) for Dos Anjos against any of the latter three would sky-rocket him towards title contention even further and potentially finally get him that ‘red panty night’ that UFC fighters get when they step into the cage with the Notorious one.

UFC Vegas 14: Felder vs Dos Anjos – Results (Highlights)

*Julian Marquez vs Saparbek Safarov, Eryk Anders vs Antonio Arroyo and Louis Smolka vs Jose Quinonez were all cancelled due to weight management issues for one fighter prior to the event starting.

The card will proceed with nine fights.*

PRELIMS

Don’Tale Mayes def Roque Martinez via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)

Cagey start to this one from both fighters as Mayes keeps his range well and lands some heavy leg kicks. Martinez trying to find a way to get on the inside but Mayes using his jab well to keep him at bay. Martinez throws a head kick but Mayes meets him with a left hook to counter it. Martinez goes for a roundhouse kick that misses and then Mayes moves in for a clinch and trip which puts Martinez on his back. Some ground and pound for Mayes ends the round. 10-9 Mayes.

Second round and Martinez comes out more aggressively trying to box with Mayes and the referee stops the fight momentarily to give Mayes a final warning about extending his fingers straight out. Mayes lands a big knee as Martinez looks to make his way on the inside again. Martinez is really struggling to mount any offense because of the range, with Mayes picking him off with jabs and straight punches. Martinez goes for a takedown but Mayes defends well and lands a big knee on the break. The two exchange combos as the round ends. 20-18 Mayes.

Mayes comes out in the final round bouncing, looking to maintain that distance that has served him so well so far. Martinez coming forward, knowing he needs a finish. Mayes goes for a clinch against the cage but Martinez gets hold of the neck and tries to sink in a guillotine. It’s under the chin but Mayes says he’s okay so Martinez lets go and Mayes gets straight back up to his feet. Martinez pushes forward with uppercuts and hooks and Mayes is wobbling but then he goes for a clinch and loses all his momentum. Mayes breaks away and lands a spinning elbow as we enter the final 30 seconds. Flying knee lands flush by Mayes but Martinez eats it and the round ends. 29-28 Mayes for me but could be 30-27.

Alex Morono def Rhys McKee via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

McKee comes out very aggressive to start with, walking forward and landing some nice shots but Morono shows him immediately that he needs to be respected with a big punch. Morono is planting his feet and swinging big hooks but McKee is firing back and using his footwork well. Nice jabs but more hooks land from Morono, with McKee being too keen and loading up too much. 10-9 Morono but McKee is in this fight.

More reserved start to the round from McKee, who seems to be a bit more settled now. He’s flicking out a jab to good effect but not with enough volume just yet, but Morono is doing well to continue to land heavy shots. McKee showing he has a great chin right now but it’s being hit far too much as he’s bleeding from the mouth now. Morono goes for a takedown and gets McKee down, but he gets straight back up and moves forward again. The two are trading shots in the centre of the octagon as McKee looks for a trip with 20 seconds to go but it’s defended well. 19-19 for me.

Solid final round with both guys coming out strong and exchanging in the middle yet again. McKee starting to work the body a little bit, noticing that Morono is tiring. Two big hooks to the body look like they hurt Morono, who goes straight for the takedown but McKee aggressive off his back and eventually gets back to the feet. Clinch against the cage sees McKee’s mouth-piece fall out and the fight is paused for several minutes as it has fallen under the cage and can’t be found. Fight restarts and McKee lands a nice body kick and then goes straight for another takedown to see this round out. He manages to win a scramble and ends up in full mount landing big elbows from ground and pound as the fight comes to an end. Great fight, 29-28 Morono for me.

Tony Gravely def Geraldo De Freitas via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

Very quick start to this fight as both men come out throwing big shots early. Gravely shoots for a takedown and gets it, but De Freitas avoids damage on the ground and manages to get back to the feet quickly. Heavy calf kick from De Freitas and a big left hand lands and forces Gravely to get back to the takedown. De Freitas looking for all types of submissions off his back tough and almost locks in an armbar but for Gravely powering out. Some more tangles on the ground and then De Freitas gets back to his feet and goes for a flying knee which Gravely catches and takes De Freitas down again to see the round out. 10-9 Gravely.

De Freitas comes out aggressive once again in this round looking for wild shots and then goes in for a takedown of his own. Gravely spins out and reverses the takedown to end up on top, defending submission threats well and landing some good ground and pound himself. De Freitas fights his way back up to the feet but Gravely holds on to a leg and gets him back down. They break away and start striking but Gravely gets another takedown and then another, ending the round with ground and pound. 20-18 Gravely.

Gravely continues to impress here as he opens the round with an exchange of punches and then yet another takedown. De Freitas clearly more tired now and Gravely is controlling the position at this point, landing some nice ground and pound strikes. De Freitas is throwing some shots from his back and still looking for submissions but eventually works his way back to his feet. Big one two lands through the guard of Gravely and he’s wobbled but he immediately changes levels and goes for a takedown but De Freitas eventually defends. More big one-twos from De Freitas and Gravely is wobbling, shooting for takedowns but De Freitas defends three or four in a row to keep the pressure up. Gravely finally gets a trip to slow him down with 25 seconds to go and ends the round throwing shots of his own. A super fight, 30-27 Gravely for me.

Kanaka Murata def Randa Markos via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Fast start from both women in this fight with Murata getting a takedown inside the first minute. Markos looks to tie her up from her back but Murata is able to pass the guard quickly and starts throwing some strikes. Markos eventually gets back to the feet and both women exchange knees to the body in the clinch. Murata looks for an inside trip which is defended well but she chain wrestles her way to eventually end up on top again. Murata passes the guard again and starts throwing some huge elbows that look like they could stop the fight but time runs out on her. 10-9 Murata.

Murata looks very fresh coming out in this second round, fainting and bouncing but Markos not backing up either. Markos doing well to stay in the centre and circle away from any potential takedown attempts that could come. Markos lands a nice leg kick that causes Murata to lose her balance but she shoots in for a takedown and gets it against the cage. She looks to pass Markos’ guard and lands a few ground and pound strikes before Markos is able to get back to her feet as the round comes to an end. 20-18 Murata.

Patient opening to the third round from both fighters here but then suddenly Murata shoots for a double leg and slam but once Markos defends it she immediately lands a trip instead. Murata looks to lock in a d’arce choke and it’s tight but Markos defends incredibly well and eventually manages to re-guard. Murata lands some big ground and pound shots but again Markos moves and defends well. The rest of the fight plays out on the ground and Murata should win comfortably.

MAIN CARD

Cory McKenna def Kay Hansen via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

A very active start as both fighters enter their range and start firing off combinations on each other. McKenna lands a beautiful one-two down the pipe but Hansen also happy to compete and throws some shots of her own again. Hansen goes for a clinch against the cage but McKenna defends well and lands a stiff right hand that wobbles Hansen. Hansen goes for a clinch against the cage again and this time gets it to the ground and takes the back of McKenna. While there she just gets punched in the face a lot by McKenna instead but the takedown probably secured her the round. 10-9 Hansen.

Second round and both women look confident on the feet once again. Lots of exchanges as both look to be first and they continue to land good damage on each other. Clinch attempt from Hansen is stuffed by McKenna again but eventually she manages to secure the takedown and immediately sinks in a rear naked choke! McKenna fights the hands and escapes and eventually ends up on top herself and sees out the round on top landing ground and pound shots for the final minute. 19-19.

McKenna using her range more in this final round, landing her jab and then following it up with a big one-two to the chin. McKenna throws out a couple of jabs of her own but Hansen ducks under and shoots for a beautiful takedown and ends up in top position. Hansen is looking to advance her position on the ground and land ground and pound but McKenna is staying active off her back and landing elbows of her own. Hansen looks to lock in a head and arm choke from full mount but McKenna reverses the position completely and ends the round landing ground and pound from the top. What a great fight. 29-28 Hansen for me.

Sean Strickland def Brendan Allen via Knockout, Round 2 (1:32)

Great start to the fight as expected as both fighters look to set their pace early on. Strickland stringing together some nice combinations, using his length well. Allen goes for a kick that Strickland catches and then he trips Allen and secures a takedown. Good control against the cage and he takes the back but Allen defends well and eventually breaks away. Strickland popping his jab really well but then Allen lands a big left hook that wobbles Strickland! Allen starts coming forward with more venom but Strickland uses that jab again and then lands a front kick to the face clean too. Round ends as they stare each other down. 10-9 Strickland.

Fast start to the second round again as Allen comes forward and is getting picked off by the straight punches by Strickland. Big calf kick from Allen has Strickland moving gingerly but Strickland starts throwing shots down the middle and Allen is hurt. One-two followed by a left hook drops Allen and Strickland follows it up with some huge shots against the cage and it’s all over! Huge win for Sean Strickland!

Ashley Yoder def Miranda Granger via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-27 x2)

Interesting opening round as Ashley Yoder looks to use her grappling skills to her advantage for the most part. Some good striking to start with but Yoder tries to take her back but misses the hooks and ends up breaking. A few more shots and Yoder rushes in and uses a head and arm throw to get the fight to the ground but it’s against the cage in an awkward position. After a short scramble, Granger ends up on top and lands some nice ground and pound shots. Yoder throws up a triangle and pulls the arm through, so close to sinking it in but Granger uses her long legs to defend and the round ends in a stalemate position. 10-9 Yoder but very close round.

Competitive second round too as the first half of it is spent tying each other up and looking to gain control against the cage in the clinch. Granger throws some nice knees and shoulder strikes but Yoder eventually gets the throw although she ends up with Granger on her back. She nullifies the threat and turns the position around and now looks to advance from side control. Granger is threatening with a kimura but Yoder continues with body shots until the buzzer goes. 20-18 Yoder for me.

Granger comes out aggressively in this round throwing a heavy calf kick and some nice strikes but Yoder goes in for an early takedown and secures it well. Some ground and pound opens up submission attempts from Yoder but Granger defending really well. Some big ground and pound from Yoder and Granger is in trouble. Final few seconds and Yoder finally sinks in a rear naked choke deep! Granger holds out and refuses to tap as the buzzer goes and it will go to the judges. 30-27 Yoder for me.

Khaos Williams def Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1 (0:30)

Quick start with some heavy leg kicks by Khaos, showing his speed advantage in this one early. The two come together in the middle of the octagon and both swing, Khaos lands a straight right hand through the guard and on the chin and Alhassan is OUT! Stiff as a board, this one is over!! What a knockout!!

Rafael Dos Anjos def Paul Felder via Split Decision (47-48, 50-45 x2)

Fast paced start to this fight as both guys throw fast combinations to start the fight. Felder lands a nice straight right and a front kick to the body before Dos Anjos lands two fierce body kicks of his own. Spinning elbow attempt from Felder just misses and Dos Anjos goes for a takedown and gets it. He looks to advance position but Felder defends well and eventually gets back up to his feet. Felder looks very sharp on the feet but both guys go for a takedown at the same time and it’s Dos Anjos who gets the edge against the cage as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Felder but it’s very close.

A great pace to this fight as both guys look to control the range. Felder is throwing a great jab but Dos Anjos is countering with a straight left from the southpaw position. Felder looking to keep the fight standing by staying in the centre and exchanging but Dos Anjos moving well to force him against the cage. He shoots for the takedown and Felder defends well but the second time around Dos Anjos gets him down. The rest of the round is a clinch affair against the cage as Felder eventually gets himself back to his feet but Dos Anjos continues to attack. 19-19.

Dos Anjos comes out aggressive in this third round as he goes for an early takedown against the cage inside the opening minute of the round. Felder denies him this time and lands a nice front kick to the body but Dos Anjos goes again and this time secures the dump. Felder defending the position really well and preventing damage for the most part but Dos Anjos is relentless right now. Dos Anjos goes again and this time lifts and slams Felder down to end the round in top position again. 29-28 Dos Anjos.

More of the same for this round as Dos Anjos meets Felder in the middle and exchanges a few punches before backing him up to the cage with a clinch. Both guys look in good condition for the fourth round but Dos Anjos’ game plan is working to perfection right now. Big left hand by Dos Anjos opens up a big cut over Felder’s eye. Felder comes out and lands some nice combinations and then scores a takedown of his own but Dos Anjos gets to the cage quickly to get back up and the round ends. 39-37 Dos Anjos.

Final round and Felder knows he needs a finish. He comes out aggressively, throwing big punches but Dos Anjos throws his own and shoots for the takedown and this time gets it away from the cage. Felder looks tired now and Dos Anjos’ top pressure has been excellent all night. The rest of the round consists of Dos Anjos dominating the clinch and scoring takedowns, with Felder defending well but not doing enough to get a win. 49-46 Dos Anjos for me.

UFC Vegas 14: Felder vs Dos Anjos – Main Card Predictions

A wild week surrounding this fight card will finally come to a head at the UFC Apex when former lightweight champions Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Paul Felder, who steps in on five days notice for this main event.

After Islam Makachev withdrew from the fight with injury, Felder stepped in from the commentary booth to put his gloves on once again with the hope that a big win on short notice can get him a top five opponent in the near future.

The fight will have 11 other fights on the card too, including Brendan Allen taking on Sean Strickland in a short-notice fight following his fight against Ian Heinisch falling through on fight night last week.

Last weekend, I correctly predicted 8/10 fights with three perfect picks for a pretty solid week of predictions. This week with 12 fights on the card, I’ll see if I can better that and continue with a pretty decent percentage. I’ve already predicted the prelims of the card here, so lets get on with the main card.

MAIN CARD

Antonio Arroyo (9-3) vs Eryk Anders (13-5) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Eryk Anders comes into a fight as an explosive athlete who just near enough refuses to use his athletic gifts, while Antonio Arroyo looks to bounce back from his UFC debut defeat to Andre Muniz almost exactly a year ago. Anders has lost four of his last six since abandoning raw power and trying to become more well rounded. It means he has started throwing less shots and timing takedowns badly, despite his wrestling prowess in his past. Arroyo is a specimen himself but his cardio really let him down in his bout against Muniz, although he showed impressive kicking skills and has proven he has the ability to end fights inside the distance having only won via decision once. I have to go with Anders in this one, simply because if he turns up and executes a game plan his skillset is better suited to this fight. He can get takedowns and has power in his hands which should keep Arroyo tentative enough for a decision win and a more dominant end of fight period when the Brazilian’s cardio starts to fail him again.
PICK – Eryk Anders via Decision

Kay Hansen (7-3) vs Cory McKenna (5-1) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

A fun fight between two up and comers in the women’s strawweight division where matchmakers have done a great job. Both 21 years old, Hansen is looking to make it back to back wins in the UFC following her win over Jinh Yu Frey in June while McKenna makes her UFC debut following a decision win on Dana White’s Contender Series back in August. Hansen has the better wrestling but often puts herself in dangerous positions with poor striking, which is where McKenna excels. She’s got slick striking and is capable of sinking in submissions quickly in a scramble but her wrestling is completely unproven. It should be a really good fight to watch but I think Hansen’s ability to get the fight to the ground should be enough to win her the fight.
PICK – Kay Hansen via Decision

Julian Marquez (7-2) vs Saparbek Safarov (9-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

This is a fight that doesn’t really deserve it’s place on the card, as two middleweights not in the upper echelons of talent on the roster take each other on. Julian Marquez is a straight up brawler. He comes out from the opening bell looking to take your head off, even after he gasses himself out and his technique leaves him behind. Safarov on the other hand has nothing particularly stand out about his game and also has cardio issues of his own. It’s a weird fight that is essentially on just to build Marquez up again after two years off and give them a reason to release Safarov. Marquez lands a big punch early in the first and wraps this one up quickly.
PICK – Julian Marquez via Knockout, Round 1

Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-2) vs Kalinn Williams (10-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A welterweight bout between two power punchers is the penultimate fight of this card. Alhassan has ten wins in his career and all have come via knockout but his last fight saw him unable to put away debutant Mounir Lazzez for his first defeat since 2017. ‘Khaos’ Williams has won seven fights in a row with four stoppages (two KO’s, two submissions) including his last fight against Alex Morono where he won in just 27 seconds. With that said, all paths lead to an Alhassan win in this one. He’s more powerful and a better wrestler if it gets to that but Williams would need to survive the opening round without getting his head taken off. The likelihood is that they both get into a phone box and exchange hooks, with Alhassan putting ‘Khaos’ to sleep.
PICK – Abdul Razak Alhassan via Knockout, Round 1

Paul Felder (17-5) vs Rafael Dos Anjos (29-13) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Former lightweight world champion Rafael Dos Anjos returns to the division for the first time since 2016 to take on fighter turned commentator turned cornerman turned fighter again Paul Felder on just five days notice. Felder’s last appearance in the octagon came in defeat to Dan Hooker back in February, where he teased retirement. Dos Anjos moved up to welterweight and did well initially but as he got to the top of the division the better fighters chewed him up. A win over Kevin Lee sits between defeats to Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, Leon Edwards and Michael Chiesa meaning he is 1-4 in his last five. Felder is a tremendous kickboxer with good power and speed and great durability. Dos Anjos was one of the best pressure fighters around during his peak with excellent boxing and solid grappling skills too but he has regressed in recent years and is unlikely to get back to where he once was. If this was the originally scheduled fight and both fighters had a full camp, I’d go with Felder. But with five days’ notice at such a high level it’s hard not to go with RDA due to the fact he’s had a full camp and will be in fight mode. It’s a true 50/50 fight though and should be an absolute banger.
PICK – Rafael Dos Anjos via Decision

Paul Felder Looking For Title Credentials With Short-Notice Fight Against Rafael Dos Anjos

The lightweight division is about to get a bigger shake up than originally expected in large part thanks to commentator-turned-fighter Paul Felder.

With Islam Makachev set to fight Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC Vegas 14 in the main event, many expected the team-mate of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to attempt his journey towards the title.

The journey will have to wait though, as Makachev was forced to withdraw from the fight earlier in the week due to injury. That left former champion Dos Anjos with no opponent, despite calling out Mike Chandler – who turned down his invitation.

Step forward, Paul Felder. The Irish Dragon hasn’t fought since a defeat to Dan Hooker back in February where he contemplated retirement after a split-decision.

He ultimately decided to fight on though, believing he had more to give the division. That was a shining factor in his decision to take the fight with Dos Anjos on just five days notice. Not only is he taking it on short-notice but the fight will still be a five-round main event and will still be at 155lbs.

Felder has said he sees the fight at a ‘win-win’ for himself. A win could see him retire, going out with a bang with a win against the former lightweight champion. A loss means he saved the show on short-notice and will keep him hungry to return once more.

His hope is that he gets in there with Dos Anjos and is able to get a finish, to open up the opportunities against fighters in the top five which have so far eluded him during his run in the UFC.

It needs to be said that he does have a chance in this fight. Dos Anjos has been fighting at welterweight since 2016 and the weight cut back to 155lbs will no doubt be tough to do. Both men hit hard, both are comfortable grapplers and both have good footwork.

It’s no shock that Felder opens as an underdog in the fight odds but regardless of the outcome this will be a main event remembered because of the ginger fighter.

From commentary booth to octagon in such a short space of time is no mean feat and he should be rightly rewarded with title picture implications should he be successful.