UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Felder – Betting the Main Event

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Islam Makhachev is out, Paul Felder is in. Just a few days before he was set to fight in his first main event, Makhachev tested positive for Covid, leaving the UFC to scramble and find a replacement. They got a good one in Felder. And despite the short notice, there were no changes to the matchup: Felder agreed to cut down to 155 pounds and keep the fight five rounds. 

We need to take a minute to salute Felder’s huge cojones here. Even if he was in good shape, it’s not like the 36-year old was in a fight camp. Now he’s giving himself just three days to get down to the lightweight limit – a process that can take weeks, if not months. Then, he’s betting on himself to be able to go 25 minutes against an excellent fighter in Rafael Dos Anjos. The UFC – who absolutely did not want to lose a headliner on a weak card – definitely owes Felder a solid. 

Rafael Dos Anjos is stuck in a 1-4 slump, but he’s a former lightweight champ and currently the No. 12 welterweight. And we can’t fault him too much for recent losses to current champion Kamaru Usman, No. 1 contender Colby Covington and No. 3 Leon Edwards. Still, RDA is in a must-win situation as he’s a threat to drop out of the top 15 all together with another loss. Felder is currently the No. 7 welterweight, so a win for RDA would probably move him up a few spots in an ultra-competitive field. 

This isn’t a fight that’s going to draw a ton of viewers, but it should be a lot of fun. Both dudes thrive on pressure and dynamic striking, setting up a fan-friendly matchup. To be honest, it’ll probably be a lot more competitive, as Makhachev was slotted as a -556 favorite before getting pulled from the card. The odds here are much closer. 

UFC Fight Night Odds 

Rafael Dos Anjos -200 vs. Paul Felder +158 

Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -175 / +135 

(Source: BookMaker.eu)

Significant Striking Stats

Strikes landed per minute: Dos Anjos 3.47 / Felder 3.67

Striking accuracy: Dos Anjos 45% / Felder 43%

Strikes absorbed per minute: Dos Anjos 3.18 / Felder 3.40

Striking defense: Dos Anjos 62% / Felder 49%

Grappling Stats 

Takedowns per 15 minutes: Dos Anjos 1.82 / Felder 0.25

Takedown accuracy: Dos Anjos 39% / Felder 25% 

Takedown defense: Dos Anjos 58% / FElder 61%

Submissions per 15 minutes: Dos Anjos 0.6 / Felder 0.2

Bet It: Dos Anjos to win at -200

There are a few significant factors causing us to lean towards the Brazilian. The first is obvious: he’s had a full fight camp while his opponent is fighting on just a few days notice. Both guys are well-conditioned athletes, but RDA should have the edge in cardio. 

Second, Dos Anjos has to be drooling at the prospect of facing another striker. This is a guy that has fought nothing but elite wrestlers as of late and is probably sick of getting grounded into fine powder. A matchup with Felder pretty much guarantees that he can stay in his striking sweet spot. Even if Felder had a full camp, RDA would still likely be our pick because he’s a bit more technically sound. 

Bet It: Fight goes to decision at -175

Even if Felder gasses out, we just don’t see RDA taking the finish here. Nobody is saying that the Brazilian is pillow-fisted, but he’s not really a knockout threat either. Felder is in the same boat, he hits hard but has gone to decision in four straight matchups. This one’s likely going to the scorecards. 

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Abe first encountered MMA in 2000, watching a VHS tape of Kazushi Sakuraba kicking the legs of a downed Royce Gracie in Pride Fighting Championships. He's been hooked ever since. Abe has penned NBA and NFL articles for Sports Illustrated and RotoExperts. In 2010, Abe signed on as the lead MMA writer for BigOnSports.com, and is now dedicated to helping fellow fans beat the odds.

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