What’s next for Rafael Dos Anjos after UFC Vegas 14?

A lot of praise is being thrown at Paul Felder (17-6) after UFC Vegas 14. The Irish Dragon stepped up on short notice to take on Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13) to save the main event from being scrapped.

While Felder should get a ton of praise, the former UFC lightweight champion should also get some praise. It’s a dangerous thing to take a fight on five days’ notice against an opponent who’s completely different from the opponent you were fighting.

Islam Makhachev is known for his great wrestling. Dos Anjos was prepping for a UFC main event where he’d have to be grappling the majority of the time. Instead, he had to switch to prepare for an elite striker like Paul Felder.

It was a gamble, but it paid off. The former UFC champion used his wrestling and grappling to get the better of Felder over the course of five rounds. In doing so, Dos Anjos made a successful return to the lightweight division.

After struggling with weight cuts a few years ago, RDA decided to move up to welterweight. After initial success, Dos Anjos struggled with the bigger guys at the top of the division. Dos Anjos went 1-4 in his last five which prompted the move back down to lightweight.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 14?

Saturday night was a big first step for the former UFC champion. It wasn’t just about getting the win, but it was about making the weight and not having it impact his cardio. RDA looked great over the course of a grueling five round war.

After the win, Dos Anjos called for a fight with Conor McGregor since they were the only two previous undisputed lightweight champions in the division. McGregor responded saying he was in after he defeats Dustin Poirier.

However, I don’t think RDA is going to go right to the top just yet. I think the UFC will try to give him another matchup against a top contender before getting someone like Conor McGregor.

If I was playing match maker, I think a great fight would be RDA and Charles Oliveira (29-8, 1 NC). Oliveira is currently ranked sixth in the UFC‘s lightweight division and he’s won seven in a row. The winner of that fight would vault right to the top of the lightweight division.

Paul Felder not going anywhere after UFC Vegas 14

Throughout 2020, fight fans didn’t know if they’d see Paul Felder in the UFC outside of the commentator’s booth. Back in February after he lost to Dan Hooker, Felder hinted that he would probably retire from the sport.

However, Felder never fully closed the door. Less than a week before UFC Vegas 14, one of the headliners in the lightweight division fell out. The UFC was forced to scramble for a last minute opponent for Rafael Dos Anjos.

RDA was making his lightweight return after spending a few years in the welterweight division. The UFC wanted a ranked opponent for his return and Felder was on tap to commentate the fights.

The UFC called upon Felder, and the Irish Dragon took the fight on five days notice. He didn’t ask for a catchweight and he also said he would be willing to go the full 25 minutes despite not having any camp.

The lack of MMA training hurt Felder in the grappling during the fight. RDA’s takedowns and ground control ended up giving him the win, but Felder was incredibly impressive. He looked very sharp and fast on his feet.

Felder took a bunch of good shots of his own, but he busted RDA up on the feet. He outstruck the former UFC champion despite having no camp. After the fight, Felder addressed the fans letting them know that he wasn’t going anywhere.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 14?

“I have not stepped foot into an MMA gym in four months. But I can tell you guys with certainty, I’m not going anywhere right now. I lost my passion for this sport pretty bad, but I’m not done,” Felder told Michael Bisping in his post-fight interview.

Felder saved the day for the UFC and it looks like he found his passion for the sport all in one evening. That is great news for the promotion as Felder is one of the more exciting fighters in the lightweight division.

So the big question is, what’s next for Paul Felder? I think the UFC doesn’t have to look too far around the rankings to find some good potential matchups. I think the promotion could book him against either Diego Ferreira or Al Iaquinta.

Personally, I lean a little towards booking him against Al Iaquinta. That would be a very fun matchup for the fans and both men are coming off of back-to-back losses. However, both are still inside the UFC‘s top ten at lightweight.

Time will tell what the promotion does next with Felder, but it’s nice to know that we will be seeing the Irish Dragon back inside the octagon.

Rafael Dos Anjos wins grueling fight against Paul Felder at UFC Vegas 14

Tonight the UFC returned for their 14th fight night inside the APEX. In the main event of the evening, there was a lightweight matchup between former champion, Rafael Dos Anjos (29-13), and The Irish Dragon, Paul Felder (17-5).

It’s been a wild ride on how we got to this UFC main event. Last week at this time, fight fans thought they were going to see RDA take on Islam Makhachev. However, staff infection pulled Makhachev out of the anticipated main event.

The UFC looked around for a replacement and found a quality one at the commentators booth. Paul Felder was expected to be the color commentator for tonight’s fights. Instead, the seventh ranked lightweight in the UFC found himself in the main event.

Opening Rounds

As the fight underway, Felder looked very sharp in the striking. Felder was doing a good job of landing kicks up the middle and straight shots. RDA had his moments as well, but Felder was getting the better of the exchanges.

Two minutes into the first round, Dos Anjos shot in and landed his first takedown. Felder did a good job of working his way back to the fence and getting back up. Once back on their feet, RDA was doing much better popping Felder with straight lefts.

Competitive first round, but it should go to RDA. As the second round of the UFC Vegas 14 main event got underway, RDA continued to pop Felder with shots up the middle. A minute into the round and Felder started opening up with powerful kicks.

Just as Felder started to land, Dos Anjos shot in for a takedown. However, Felder did a good job of defending. Once they separated, both men started trading big shots. RDA then shot in and landed a takedown with two minutes left in the round.

Middle Rounds

The former UFC champion was able to control Felder the rest of the round to take a 2-0 lead. As the third round got underway, Felder continued to look for low kicks. The opening 30 seconds were all Felder which caused RDA to shoot for a takedown.

Felder defended extremely well and kept the fight standing. As soon as RDA got close, Felder initiated the clinch and pushed Dos Anjos against the fence. However, RDA used it to shoot in for a takedown which he landed.

RDA came close to getting Felder’s back, but Felder forced a scramble to get the fight back to the feet. After a brief exchange, Dos Anjos shot in for another takedown. Dos Anjos was able to slam Felder down to the ground and sealed the third round for him.

Felder opened the fourth strong knowing he needed to finish the former UFC champion. RDA started landing decent shots, but he was continuing to look for the takedown. However, Felder was doing a good job of holding the center.

Felder was landing some good shots, but a RDA shot found Felder once again against the fence. Felder did a good job of staying on his feet and he even reversed the position. However, he wasn’t able to separate until there was about a minute left in the round.

In the final minute, Felder really started to open up his striking. Just as Felder was landing some good shots, he shot for a takedown and landed. RDA got back up, but it was a much better round for the Irish Dragon.

RDA’s successful return at UFC Vegas 14

As the final round of the UFC Vegas 14 main event got underway, Felder knew that it was all or nothing. Felder opened with a beautiful 1-2, but RDA countered with a good body kick.

Dos Anjos shot in for a takedown, but Felder defended well. However, after a brief separation, RDA shot in and landed the takedown. Dos Anjos was looking for the submission when he was on top in the final round.

However, Felder was doing a decent job of defending. Despite that, Dos Anjos was doing a good job of holding him down. With a minute left in the fight, Felder was able to work his way back up to his feet.

However, the former UFC champion was able to get him right back down. Felder displayed an incredible amount of heart, but RDA was too efficient and strong throughout all five rounds.

Rafael Dos Anjos defeats Paul Felder by Split Decision (50-45, 50-45, 47-48)

UFC Vegas 14 Preview: Paul Felder – Rafael Dos Anjos

It’s been a crazy leadup to UFC Vegas 14 which goes down tomorrow night. Initially, Rafael Dos Anjos (29-13) was set to take on rising prospect, Islam Makhachev, in the main event tomorrow night.

However, staff infection pulled Makhachev out of the fight. The UFC searched for a replacement and landed on one who was set to be the color commentator tomorrow night. That man is the Irish Dragon, Paul Felder (17-5).

Felder will enter the octagon tomorrow night for the first time since his split decision loss to Dan Hooker in February. He’s currently ranked 7th in the UFC‘s lightweight division. However, he’s coming into this fight with virtually no camp.

Felder had been training for a triathlon before accepting the fight. His weight was manageable, and he felt that he was in good enough cardio shape to accept the fight which is how he ended up headlining the card tomorrow night.

He gets the chance now to face a former UFC champion in Rafael Dos Anjos. RDA comes into this fight just 1-4 in his last five fights. He’s dropping back down to lightweight after he spent the last three years at welterweight.

RDA’s journey at welterweight started out great with three straight victories. However, then he ran into the elites of the division like Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman, and Leon Edwards. Now, RDA is returning to the division that made him a UFC champion.

UFC Vegas 14 Prediction

This is such a tough matchup to pick. Given all the circumstances, one would think that the former UFC lightweight champion has the big advantage. It’s a five round main event, and RDA has been preparing for that.

Meanwhile, Felder was preparing to commentate just a week ago. However, Felder does have the skillset to really make this fight interesting. RDA does really well when he’s the guy who puts on the striking pressure.

He does extremely well when he moves forward, but he struggles off of his back foot. Felder is the kind of guy who’s going to come right out and put pressure on RDA. He does a fantastic job of checking leg kicks which could be key in this matchup.

On a full camp, I would really lean towards Felder over the former UFC champion. However, I just don’t know how sharp we are going to see Felder with no camp. I know he’s been training and he’s been hitting pads.

However, that doesn’t translate to live MMA training. You have to respect Felder for stepping up for the UFC. There aren’t many that would do it. However, with a full camp and seemingly extremely motivated, I’m leaning slightly towards RDA to squeak this one out. But, it will be close.

Prediction: Rafael Dos Anjos by Split Decision

Paul Felder’s journey from commentator to headliner at UFC Vegas 14

This Saturday night at UFC Vegas 14, fight fans will see an incredible lightweight matchup in the main event. Although, it is not the lightweight matchup that we thought we were going to see on Saturday night.

Originally, former UFC lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos (29-13), was set to take on Islam Makhachev (18-1). This was supposed to be a big test for the budding UFC star in Makhachev. However, a staff infection caused him to pull out of the fight on Sunday.

Dos Anjos was left without an opponent. He called out Michael Chandler, however, the promotion has other plans for him. The UFC started sending out feelers to see who could and would step in on short notice and fight RDA in the main event.

Turns out, they didn’t have to look very far. They had to just look at the expected commentators for UFC Vegas 14. When they did, they found the seventh ranked contender in the lightweight division, The Irish Dragon Paul Felder (17-5).

Felder had been training for a triathlon so he is in great shape when it comes to his conditioning. Because of his training, his weight is also lower than it normally would be when he’s not in a fight camp. So, Felder decided it was the perfect opportunity to jump in and save the day.

UFC Vegas 14’s Hero

Felder appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show where he talked about the decision to step up. “I thought about it. I was like, ‘Man you’re still 36, you’re young, you’re in shape. Save the day, let’s go get paid, let’s have some fun. You’re fighting a legend.’ What do I have to lose?” Felder said to Helwani.

After Felder’s last UFC contest back in February, we weren’t sure if we’d see The Irish Dragon again. Felder was in a war with Dan Hooker and lost a split decision. Since then, Felder has been a regular in the booth calling UFC action.

However, it never appeared that Felder was completely out of the game. It just looked like he was waiting for the right opportunity. Well, it turns out that the right opportunity is this Saturday. If he wins, Felder is right back in the conversation to fight a big name at lightweight.

BREAKING: Rafael Dos Anjos – Paul Felder to headline UFC Vegas 14

What a 24 hours it has been for UFC Vegas 14. First, it was announced last night that Islam Makhachev was out of the main event. This is the second time that the proposed fight with Rafael Dos Anjos (29-13) had fallen through.

From there, the UFC began to work on a replacement for RDA. Dos Anjos called out Michael Chandler last night, however, Chandler said that he had other plans and wouldn’t be stepping in. The UFC never offered the fight to Chandler.

Well, per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the UFC has found their replacement for Makhachev. The Irish Dragon, Paul Felder (17-5) will be stepping in on short notice to face Dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Vegas 14.

The crazy thing to me is that the fight is still going to take place at lightweight despite the short notice. Another crazy thing is that apparently Felder has agreed to the fight remaining 25 minutes despite having no training camp. Tons of respect for the Irish Dragon.

UFC Vegas 14’s New Main Event

This is literally the best case scenario for the UFC. They are able to keep their main event together, and now, they actually have a higher ranked opponent for RDA. Sure the fight was supposed to showcase and test Makhachev, but who doesn’t want to see Felder back in there.

The last time we saw Felder compete was back in February. The Irish Dragon was in an absolute war with Dan Hooker. In Hooker’s home of Australia, Felder fought him to a brutal split decision. However, Felder showed just how good he was that night.

Felder will enter the cage as the seventh ranked lightweight in the world on Saturday night. It’s a completely different fight for Dos Anjos, but it should be a fantastic matchup in the lightweight division. Fight fans should be pumped that the UFC was able to pull this off.

Michael Chandler turns RDA down; Says UFC has other plans for him

Michael Chandler

Last night news broke that the UFC Vegas 14 headliner was in jeopardy after Islam Makhachev had to pull out. Makhachev was scheduled to headline the event next Saturday opposite of former UFC lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos.

The UFC is currently working on a replacement opponent to headline against RDA. However, the former champion came out last night and called out Michael Chandler on Twitter. That’s who RDA wanted in the main event.

A lot of fans seemed intrigued by the matchup. Fighting a former UFC champion would be a good way for Chandler to kickoff his career inside the octagon. However, Chandler has come out today and said that he will not be headlining next week’s card.

Fans were commenting on Chandler’s Instagram page about the potential fight. Chandler responded saying, “We have other plans.” So for now, it will appear that RDA is not going to get his wish of fighting Michael Chandler next Saturday.

What could those UFC plans be?

Since Chandler was signed by the UFC, the promotion has made him a very big deal. He was the backup for the UFC 254 main event, and they’ve tried to book him against Tony Ferguson. However, Ferguson didn’t seem interested in the fight.

Conor McGregor is supposed to fight Dustin Poirier in January. With that in mind, there are a few options for the UFC and Michael Chandler. Justin Gaethje, Dan Hooker, and Tony Ferguson are all out there as potential opponents for the former Bellator lightweight champion.

There have also been rumors around Chandler potentially being one of the TUF coaches this year. Either way, I’m expecting the UFC to book Chandler against one of the best guys in the world for his debut. It will truly be a sink or swim test for the former Bellator champion.

Islam Makhachev out of UFC Vegas 14 Main Event

UFC Vegas 14 has lost it’s main event. Tonight it was announced that Islam Makhachev was forced to withdrawal from next week’s main event against Rafael Dos Anjos. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

This fight was originally supposed to take place at UFC 254. However, due to RDA testing positive for COVID-19, the fight was moved to next weekend where it was going to headline. Now, the promotion is forced to scramble.

UFC Vegas 14 was not the strongest card on paper. It’s not an easy card to just slide the co-main event into the main event slot. However, the promotion does have options. ESPN is reporting that the UFC is trying to find a replacement opponent to keep Dos Anjos in the main event.

This is a tough break for fight fans who were excited to see Makhachev fight a guy like Dos Anjos. The former UFC lightweight champion has already been campaigning for his new opponent. He seems interested in fighting Michael Chandler.

What will the UFC do?

As you can see, RDA is very interested in having the UFC book him against Michael Chandler. However, I don’t think the promotion will make that happen. Many wanted to have Chandler face Makhachev after RDA fell out, but the promotion has different plans for Chandler.

That being said, I’m not sure who the UFC will try to pair up with Dos Anjos. They will likely look at fighters who compete at lightweight and welterweight for this main event slot. However, it’s going to be difficult to get a big name with just six days notice.

We will continue to monitor what the UFC is planning on doing with the main event next week. This is a really tough blow for both guys and for fans who were excited to see the matchup. I’m sure the promotion is going to be working very quickly to get a new opponent for RDA.