On ESPN’s panel, Ariel Helwani, Mark Raymondi and Jeff Wagenheim break down the biggest stories from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, including one on Rafael dos Anjos’ split-decision victory over Paul Felder and what it means Includes sight.
Helwani: Let’s make something very clear right off the bat: Nobody really loses that main event.
Yes, of course, the record books would say that Rafael dos Anjos defeated Paul Felder through a split decision, but I don’t care about it: Felder didn’t lose out of the cage.
And it’s not because I fought in favor of Felder. Conversely, I scored it for RDA. Five rounds none. (Don’t get me started on that completely ridiculous 48-47 scorecard for Felder.) But when you consider that Felder accepted this fight five days ago, the fact remains that he is in the form of distance with someone. I’m good with Dos Anjos. Impressive victory in itself.
In other words, Felder has nothing to be ashamed of. It was always going to be a long order.
I sincerely hope that he is not far below himself right now, and as his performance after the fight, he is not. Felder looks and feels like a rejuvenation fighter who suddenly has a few years left. Funny that you can sometimes win in defeat in this game too.
You know, all week, this fight centered around Felder saving the header card, and rightly so. But, as a result, the RDA – as well as his comeback in light – was completely overshadowed.
And this is the story of RDA’s career, isn’t it? Soft-spoken Brazil has been ignored for years. He has been reduced forever and has never got the proper debt to justify a fight.
I mean, just look at his record: the man has fought every top contender and every rising star. He never chose his spots. Never played a ranking game. He just fought.
And more often than not, he won. However, no hurry.
Surprisingly, RDA’s UFC debut 12 years ago Sunday: Nov. Took place on 15, 2008, on a card written by Randy Couture vs. Brock Lassner for the heavyweight title. Let’s talk about longevity, eh?
Do you know that he lost that fight via knockout to Jeremy Stephens.
And do you know that he lost his first two UFC fights? Do you also know that he started his UFC career with an average of 4-4? It was not too early.
I’ll never forget when Clay Guida broke Dos Anjos’ jaw at UFC 117 in 2010. It was his third UFC loss in six struggles. It was a brutal injury. I never would have guessed that the broken fighter would turn into the man we saw on Saturday.
You know the rest of the story. The RDA developed beautifully and eventually became the lightweight champions after UFC 185 demolished Anthony Pettis.
A year and a half later, he lost the belt when he collided with Eddie Alvarez. He stuck around lightly for another fight (a decision loss for someone named Tony Ferguson) and then went on to welterweight. Weight reduction also became tax.
His run at 170 was nothing to write home about – this is when you fight the likes of Kamru Osman, Colby Covington and Leon Edwards – and he remained there for three years until his triumph on Saturday The withdrawal did not take place until 155.
And you know, I think we all forgot how good the lighter version of RDA was.
Is she older Yes. Has he been around the block? Yes. In fact, he crossed seven hours of Octagon time on Saturday for his entire 30-fight UFC career, which is surprising.
But RDA is a player again at 155…. And I, for one, am happy to see that.
He had already missed Conner McGregor by several moons. He could have defined her, like a broken jaw or any of her early losses might have defined her.
Instead, he would eventually be defined as a former champion, future Hall of Famer, and a man who went toe-to-toe with the best fighters ever.
And who knows, maybe he has one more title run left. To write another under-radar chapter.
Both men are honored tonight for creating this fight and event.
– Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 15, 2020
No one is really talking about him right now as a contender, and Swamy knows many astonished when he called McGregor in his postfight interview.
But, hey, if we’ve learned anything about Dos Anjos in the last 12 years, it’s that he does his best work when we don’t pay attention.
– ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 15, 2020
Raimondi: Khos Williams has spent exactly 57 seconds in the UFC cage. In that time, he has two absolutely vicious knockouts. “Oxfighter” used to hit Abdul Razak Alhassan with a right hand once in 30 seconds on Saturday night. Back in February at UFC 247, Williams destroyed Alex Morono with punches in 27 seconds. At the age of 26, Williams is absolutely the real deal.
People talked about Khamzat Cheimaev’s first two fights at the UFC during the summer. How about Williams? I think Williams has done the same against better competition. And violently. Nowhere is it like Khos, whose real maiden name is Kalin. He was not a prospect outside the Midwest. Williams came to his native Michigan from an unofficial WXC promotion and dropped out of the upcoming Murciélago MMA camp led by coach Joaquin Rodríguez. Keep an eye on this man.
By refusing to panic, Cory McKenna becomes a legal prospect
Wagenheim: Sometimes a prospect appears with dominance. Other times – and this was the case with Cory McKenna – the most eye-opening route is flexibility.
McKenna was at her best, it seemed, when her situation was at its worst. KA Hansen had inane actions and it showed, as he threatened submission at multiple points during the three rounds. But each time, McKenna not only found a way to survive, but turned the tide her way. Never was it more evident than in the final minutes, when McKenna survived Henson’s full mount and an arm-triangle choke attempt and a fight bleed over Henson and eliminate the elbow.
Repeatedly in this bout, which was McKenna’s UFC debut, the young strawweight of Wales was excluded, yet to continue to suffer losses. Hansen is a serious threat on the canvas, but McKenna was the one who reveals more when he was on his back.
This approach would become increasingly dangerous for McKenna, as the 115-pound contest stifers. Nonetheless, it was a winning statement. In the clash of 21-year-olds, Hansen was the one who walked into the cage wearing the “Chance” tag. McKenna was the one who walked out of the cage with a fourth straight win, which made an impression as a fighter to watch.