On Saturday, former UFC lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos returns to the 155-pound division for the first time since November 2016. Dos Anjos, who went 4-4 competing at welterweight after losing to Tony Ferguson, faces late replacement Paul Felder in the main event of UFC Vegas 14.
Felder, who stepped in this week to replace the injured Islam Makhachev, spoke to ESPN about the matchup.
“I know I’m nearing the end of my career soon, and this, I think, it’s win-win for me,” Felder said. “Because if I go in there and I can finish and beat RDA, a former champ, then it gives me a lot of selling points to be getting these bigger fights which seem to have been eluding me in the top five of the lightweight division here in the UFC. How do you not give me something big after this if I go in there after stepping up?
“If it doesn’t go my way, then I saved the day. I’m going in there to try to win.”
For the former champ, he hopes this is a new chapter in his lengthy career.
“I’m feeling very good now,” dos Anjos told MMA Fighting. “I’m older now. Back then when I was champion, I was 31 years old. I’m 36 but I feel like I’m cutting less weight. I’m more disciplined. Being older, I’m more disciplined now even than when I was champion. I’m feeling very confident now.
“This is a new beginning at lightweight. I’m going after the title. Khabib [Nurmagomedov] left and the division is wide open.”
On Saturday night, we’ll see who takes the next big step of their career.
Below, look at how Felder and Dos Anjos match up in key stats ahead of UFC Vegas 14, which takes place at UFC Apex.
Felder vs. Dos Anjos head-to-head stats
|Sig. Strikes Lander Per Min.||3.67||3.47|
|Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||3.4||3.18|
|Takedown Avg./15 min||0.25||1.82|
|Submission Average Per 15 min||0.2||0.6|