Felder pushes off retirement to save UFC fight Night

UFC Fight Night 11/14/20

UFC Apex, Las Vegas NV

This fight started off as a rather mediocre card but with the shake-ups of an injury at camp for Islam Makhachev and Paul Felder stepping up, as well as Brendan Allen, getting moved to this weekend due to that Coronavirus, the UFC ended up saving this card for the viewers.










Photo: CBS sports


Kay Hansen (7-3) vs. Cory “The Hobbit Mckenna (5-1): Strawweight



To start off this main card we have two straights who are both relatively early on in their careers, (both women are 21) fighting for relevancy in a division that is lacking depth. This is Mckenna’s UFC debut after a lackluster performance in Dana White’s contender series (Are you just giving everyone a deal Dana?) she also might be the first person ever in the UFC with a reach under 60” coming in at 58.5”, earning the Hobbit nickname as Bilbo Baggins might have a longer reach. This will not bode well for her as her opponent, Hansen, can really pus the pressure of the fight and will use her grappling as an advantage. She has shown this as a strong point as she used it to submit former Invicta FC atom weight Champ Jinh Yu Frey in June pushing her win streak to 3.

Prediction: I think even though McKenna is a solid boxer with good power, Hansen’s grappling and reach will be a big advantage in this bout causing Hansen to win Via submission in either round 2 or 3.

Brendan “All In” Allen vs. Sean “Tarzan” Strickland at catchweight (185lbs)



After his fight against Ian Heinisch last Saturday was canceled hours before the fight due to Ian testing positive for the rona, Brendan Allen looks to ride off his great camp to take on anyone he can; After several top 10 fighters turned down the fight on short notice Strickland stepped in. Brendan “All in” Allen is a UFC fighter who is 24 (TWENTY-FOUR!!) and made his debut in October 2019. He comes into the fight tonight at 15-3 (5 by KO 8 by submission) with an impressive 6 fight win streak. He is a true MMA fighter with his well-rounded style but is a better BJJ fighter than Tarzan. He is a high-volume striker. Despite his cardio not being as well-known, he does come in strong in later rounds with his power. Allen is going to be a stud soon. His striking accuracy is 60% and has great ground and pound and will dominate the fight while on top, remaining heavy and inflicting a lot of damage.

Sean Strickland is returning after a gnarly motorcycle accident and a fight a few weeks ago where he worked Jack Marsh. He is a laky striker who on his time recovering has built himself up to fill out his frame. He is a great striker who will look to keep the fight on its feet. His accuracy isn’t great (36% striking) but he is going to have high volume throwing a lot of strikes and taking even less. HE is very dangerous with his range.

Prediction:

Both fighters have flashed top 10 talent and the winner will be a threat for the middleweight division in 2021. Scrambles are going to be a big part of this match as Allen will want to take this to the ground and Strickland will do whatever it takes to stay on his feet; This is going to be a very close fight; However, I am “ALL IN” on Allen in this one because he had a great camp preparing to fight a ranked fighter in Heinisch, and his grappling and ground and pound skills will give him an edge over Tarzan. I think Allen wins via decision.

Eryk “Ya Boi” Anders (13-5) vs. Antonio Arroyo (9-3) 185lbs



This bout on the main card is interesting due to the two fighters differing styles. Ya Boi is a wrestler who is explosive and athletic, he played football at Alabama and won a national championship under Nick Saban. He is not a heavy volume guy when it comes to striking by he is very good at grappling and competes very often at BJJ in high-level tournaments despite not having his black belt (actually using your belt can be more beneficial than having a black belt just for the sake of having one). Anders struggles against heavy volume strikers and guys who keep the fight’s pace up, he lost to Lyoto Machida who is known as one of the best strikers in the history of the UFC. He also can rely on his strength and cardi too much and pull back to maintain endurance and abandoned a finish.

Arroyo to me is a poor man's Thiago Santos and is often brought into other camps to imitate the light heavyweight due to his size and length. The Brazilian is a good striker and dynamic on his feet. He probably will not take a shot or attempt a takedown the entire fight because much like Santos he is not great at fighting off his back or from a top position. He has decent leg kicks, but they do not whip out and have much speed to them, making them easier to defend compared to others in the division. But if he has worked on this at all it could be a weakness for Anders. Arroyo has had issues cutting weight in the past and has had to cancel fights in the past due to health concerns associated with it so that is worth keeping an eye on.

Prediction:

At the end of the day, I think Ya Boi is going to use his grappling and overall, more well-rounded game to beat Arroyo (who is a Walmart version of Santos until he can show me otherwise) via decision. However, Arroyo could get lucky (and I mean very luck) and land a power shot to KO Anders if he’s not careful. Anders via decision (Roll Tide!).

Julian “The Cuban Missile Crisis” Marquez (7-2) vs. Saparbeg Safarov (9-3) 185lbs


This is a cold war match up with The Cuban Missile crisis being an all-time fighter name. However, not much else can be said for this fight. I’m a little confused about how this is a main event fight, but this card was not supposed to be much in the first place. Marquez is 30 years old and has not fought in over 2 years. However, he does have a victory over Hamill who is the only guy to beat Jon Jones (although it was a disqualification due to the 12-6 elbow rule) but he is not a captivating fighter. He has a rather weak gas tank. He starts his fights with some energy then fades fast which is odd because he does not even throw that many shots. The only positive I can say is that he is decent at Jiu-Jitsu and that hopefully, he used these two years to improve his cardio.

Safarov is 34 years old and has even less energy than his opponent. The only thing worse than his 1-3 record in the UFC is his hairline. He looks half asleep walking into the octagon and does not throw a large volume of shots. He has some wrestling skills offensively but it’s not at a high enough level to be a signature in the UFC. He has also lost all his fights by being finished

Prediction:

I think this fight is going to be comparable to e middle school basketball game, some shots getting up a decent back and forth but really nobody scores, and the audience just feels sad. Marquez is the favorite at -295 so I am taking the Cuban Missile Crisis to win via Ko in the second round due to the overall lack of cardio by both fighters and Safarov just being slightly outmatched in all aspects of the fight.

Abdul “Judo Thunder” Razak Alhassan (10-2) vs. Khaos “The Oxfighter” Williams (10-1) 170lbs



This fight is the performance of the night waiting to happen. Both fighters are exciting and powerful strikers in the octagon and will not shy away from an all-out brawl. Alhassan is a Judo black belt with heavy hands and is incredibly strong and explosive even at age 35 (which is old at the middle to lighter wights, heavyweights can be elite in their 40s). He took a few years off and gassed in his last fight but he could just be knocking the rust off as he is generally known for his cardio and excellent conditioning. He is an active fighter but occasionally he tries to do too much. He could be having a good fifth and for some reason feel the need to pull out a cartwheel kick, which is flashy and exciting but not necessary. All that being said he is an exciting fighter whos 10 wins all have been first-round KOs

Williams is 26 and an excellent boxer. Like his opponent, Khaos has heavy hands and has great boxing combinations. Williams is also no stranger to quick wins himself with three of his 4 last victories coming via first-round stoppages. When Khaos smells blood in the water he is like a shark and will end the fight quickly. He has a similar style where he has heavy pressure, but his condition is in question as he loses technique after the first round of the fight (very fast and loose). If he can compete with leg kicks he can make this fight very interesting.

Prediction:

This is an exciting match up that is going to be over in the first round so make sure you have your popcorn ready before it starts. Both fighters will waste little time in this bout and will immediately start throwing bombs. I think Alhassan wins this with his judo black belt being the x-factor here, his kicks to the legs and body are so powerful and dangerous that they still inflict significant damage when they are blocked and can really limit his opponents. Alhassan will win via TKO in round 1.

Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder (17-5) vs. Rafael “RDA” Dos Anjos (29-13)



We finally made it to the main event. Initially, this fight was supposed to be RDA vs Islam Makhachev; Makhachev is a former teammate and close friend of former champ and GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov (They grew up in Dagestan together, which if you don’t know is not a cheery place and fighting is life). This was supposed to be Islam’s first main event of his career despite the fact he has been fighting professionally since 2010 and with the UFC since 2015. The wrestler suffered an injury in camp and was forced to pull out of this fight for a second time (RDA had Rona the first time), but Khabib had predicted this guy to hold the belt after the Eagle retired (which he did a few weeks back) so watch out for this guy in the future.

RDA is coming into this fight off back to back losses at welterweight but for this match, the former champ is coming in at 155 to meet Felder. RDA is 1-4 in his last 5 fights and comes off a unanimous decision loss to Michael Chiesa in January. He is a gritty vet who has been in the UFC since 2008. He utilizes high volume striking in his fights and combines strong grappling with his BJJ background to dominate on the ground. He has struggled with larger opponents, however, but he is coming down from 170 to 155 this should not be an issue Saturday. He also has a great stache which he hopes will distract people from the fact he is 5’8”.

Felder saved this card by accepting this fight and turning it into a must-watch. The Philly native took this fight on 5 days’ notice which is concerning because when he's out of camp he is a thicccc boy getting up to 195lbs (fights at 155!) however this fight will most likely meet in between 155-170. Felder is BMF for agreeing to 5 rounds against a former champ and will look get into the clinch and unleash his lethal elbows. He is a very powerful striker for his size and is as tough as they come. He finished a fight with a collapsed lung not too long ago. Any fight Felder is a part of will be an all-out war and will put on a show. He is not as good on the ground as his opponent but can defend himself well enough to survive.

Prediction:

With only 5 days to prepare for this fight, it is hard for me to take Felder in this bout, despite his coach telling us he has stayed in shape I still can't see his takedown defense being good enough to stop RDA from scoring. Even though he will be taken down, there is no scenario where Felder will tap since he is as tough as they come. I think there will be great shots thrown during this fight but due to the lack of camp time and training, RDA will run away with this match after round 2 to win by decision. A win tonight will have RDA chasing another belt while he is in what many consider the twilight of his career.


-Bastarache



Odds are courtesy of CBS sports

All fighter profiles are from the UFC and ESPN (https://www.espn.com/mma/fightcenter)

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