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Reviewing UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. dos Anjos – Four Lessons Learned on a Bright Night for MMA

| November 17, 2020 1:49 am PDT
UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. dos Anjos

Paul Felder claimed it was “do or die” before stepping in to take on Rafael dos Anjos on short notice last Saturday night.

Even though he lost, Felder did himself very proud. His career certainly didn’t die. But upon leaving the cage against the former champion, something clicked for “The Irish Dragon” that could mean any retirement plans are sent packing for the foreseeable.

Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. dos Anjos left us with a few things to ponder as we approach the end of 2020.

Here are the four biggest things taken from the fights at UFC Vegas 14 last Saturday night.

We Need More Fighters Like Felder

Paul Felder’s last fight went down on February 23 against Dan Hooker, in Hooke’s hometown of Auckland, New Zealand.

That night, he lost by way of a split decision in controversial circumstances. Personally, I had him winning that fight, but these things tend to happen inside the cage.

That loss knocked the Philadelphian back a little, even taking the wind out of sails that appeared to be moving in the right direction towards title contention. So, you would not have blamed The 35-year-old for making sure that both his opponent and his preparations would be spot on for the next fight.

Instead, Felder stepped in to fight former 155-pound champion Rafael dos Anjos on just five days’ notice. That’s right. Five. Days.

Although dos Anjos was clearly a comfortable winner on the night — despite that one judge’s perplexing decision to give the nod to his opponent — Felder left the cage with the utmost respect of the global MMA community.

What a fighter. What a guy.

Let’s just hope Felder gets his reward for that classy move at some point in 2020.

Rafael dos Anjos Still Has Something to Give

Although I didn’t fancy dos Anjos’ chances against Islam Makhachev, I expected the fight to be somewhat competitive.

But the Russian pulled out with just a week to go, creating an opportunity for Paul Felder. And although I knew Felder would be up for the fight, I could not look past RDA for the win. Even though I had reservations over his ability to cut weight, I felt the Brazilian had a clearer path to victory.

He got the job done and certainly had every reason to refer to judge Chris Lee as a (insert insult here) for his baffling decision to award Felder rounds 2, 3, and 4 in the fight. For perspective, the other two judges made it five rounds for dos Anjos.

Anyway. It could have been much worse for RDA on the night, and he won’t be too displeased. It was a good result that puts him back in the mix at 155, having hit his ceiling as a 170-pound fighter.

Now, his attention has turned to a run at his former title. The first opponent he has on his mind is Conor McGregor, who he was set to defend his crown against in 2016. RDA called out McGregor after Saturday’s victory, with “The Notorious” responding positively to his suggestion that both men fight.

Unfortunately, dos Anjos was forced to withdraw from their first scheduled bout with an injury. A twist of fate that opened the door for Nate Diaz to change the Irishman’s career trajectory. Can they finally settle their business?

Well, that remains to be seen. Would you bet on McGregor vs. Poirier 2 deciding what’s next for the Dubliner? I know I would.

Khaos Williams is Not Playing

It took Williams just 30 seconds to knock out the extremely tough Abdul Razak Alhassan with an absolute ballistic missile of a right hand on Saturday’s main card.

Williams followed up his performance at UFC 247, where he buried Alex Morono with heavy shots after just 27 seconds, with an even bigger win. There is no doubt that he deserves the type of respect that Sweden-based Khamzat Chimaev is getting, especially since “The Oxfighter” has done the job against better fighters.

I made the mistake of overlooking Williams on Saturday night. There was little to suggest that this guy was an up and coming prospect, other than his exceptional stoppage on his UFC debut. I mean, he has come out of nowhere, really.

Williams is not playing, I can tell you that for nothing.

The UFC’s Lightweight Division is Stronger than Ever

Is Khabib retired, or will he fight again?

That’s a question that still lingers in the world of combat sports. According to the Dagestani, he is done. UFC President Dana White disagrees, but that could be hope talking over logic.

Whatever way you want to look at it, the lightweight division has discernibly lit up in the wake of Nurmagomedov’s retirement announcement following his win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. The current crop of contenders appear to be treating Khabib’s announcement as legit, and this has led to a tangible optimism among those who probably, even secretly, saw him as unbeatable.

Right now, we have Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor, Dan Hooker, Charles Oliveira, Rafael dos Anjos, Paul Felder, Islam Makhachev, Michael Chandler, and many more with eyes on UFC gold. The big question is, with all this talent, would you be comfortable betting on the next UFC lightweight champion?

The UFC’s 155-pound division is undoubtedly the strongest in mixed martial arts. It’s the glamor division and the one that will shine the torch for the sport for the next few years, at least.

What a time to be a fan.

What’s Up Next in the UFC?

Keep your eyes peeled when visiting our picks section, as we will be covering the biggest UFC fights in 2020 — or at least what remains of the year — as well as some juicy ones coming up in 2021.

I’ll leave you with some content that should get you excited for what’s up next, including the pressing matter of UFC 255 this Saturday. Have a look and see what you think!

Adam Haynes
Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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