Due to one incompetent judge this fight ended in a split decision verdict, but there’s no doubt that Rafael dos Anjos convincingly defeated a game Paul Felder tonight at UFC Fight Night 183.
The lightweight main event is underway in Las Vegas.
Leg kick for Felder to start. Push kick from RDA. Right hand for Felder and then an inside leg kick. Now another punch upstairs.
Hard body kick for RDA and a punch in return from Felder. Hard exchanges early here. Big body kick for dos Anjos. Now a head kick attempt that’s blocked.
Front kick from Felder to the body. Punch for RDA. RDA in on a takedown attempt against the cage and lands it.
Dos Anjos in half guard here. Felder looking to stand up with his back to the cage. he does manage to get upright, but RDA almost has an arm triangle set-up working here. Felder gets out of that though. Knees to the body from RDA. RDA off-balance and Felder lands a knee before they break apart.
Hard punch from Felder. Body kick for RDA. Another snappy punch from Felder. Body punch from RDA. Knee to the body for Felder.
Both men trading back-and-forth punches here. Clash of heads as Felder goes into the clinch and presses RDA up against the cage. RDA able to reverse the position and weighs heavily on his opponent. Felder goes to his knees, but soon after is able to stand back up with RDA still working the clinch.
RDA steps back and lands nice punches including a clean hook in the final seconds of the round.
Front kick to the body for Felder. Nice body punch for RDA. Now a body kick too. Felder lets his hands go, but dos Anjos works into the clinch and stifles him against the cage.
RDA trying for a takedown, but nothing doing and lands a hook as he backs off. Felder with an elbow strike and now a calf strike.
Felder steps into an elbow strike. Good left hand for RDA. Another lands. RDA drives in for a takedown attempt against the cage, but ends up settling for the clinch.
Knee from Felder and RDA almost ducked into that one as he was looking to set up another takedown attempt.
They back up and go back to striking range. left hand for RDA, but Felder counters it. Body kick for RDA. Dos Anjos lands another nice straight punch.
Felder picking out some nice punches here. Head kick upstairs for RDA, but only grazes the head. Both fighters showing sharp striking here.
Dos Anjos working another takedown attempt. He is able to get a trip to bring him down. Felder pressed up close to the cage and works his way patiently back to his feet.
Dos Anjos has Felder’s back clinched up now as he tries to set up another takedown. Felder defending though and eventually RDA backs up.
Front kick to the body for Felder. RDA with a hard left hand to end the round.
Foot jabs for RDA. Felder lands a few hard calf kicks. Body kick for RDA. Into the clinch they go and dos Anjos works for a takedown against the cage.
He can’t get it and they eventually work away from the cage. A brief exchange and now it’s Felder who is utilizing the clinch against the cage.
RDA works out and then drives in quickly for a takedown and gets it. Dos Anjos steps into half guard and stays heavy on Felder.
Felder gives up his back and stands. A few punches to the head and a knee to the body for RDA as he stays int the clinch.
Dos Anjos landing a few knees to the thigh. RDA with an elbow over the top as he backs out. Dos Anjos lands a few straight punches and then jumps back into the clinch.
Suddenly RDA hoists Felder into the air and slams him to the mat. He’s in half-guard and trying to pass to a more advantageous position. RDA looks at the kimura and then settles for a few more punches to end the round.
Jumping knee to the body from Felder. He tries for a spinning backfist but misses. RDA with a jab and Felder with a harder punch in return.
Felder fighting with real purpose here as he lets go with a quick combo of punches. Now a one-two. Jab for RDA. Powerful body kick for dos Anjos.
Felder punches upstairs and RDA lands another body kick that’s almost caught. They exchange hard jabs and then RDA ducks under trying for a takedown against the cage.
A knee apiece exchanged in the clinch. Gruelling work from dos Anjos, but Felder does well to reverse the position. he lands a knee to the body. Dos Anjos reverses again. Felder trying for an elbow. RDA with a knee to the body.
Felder tries for a knee upstairs and gets RDA back up against the cage. They go back to the center of the cage. RDA with a nice jab. Now a low kick.
Felder with a one-two. Now goes to the body. Felder really putting a lot of steam in his punches, but then RDA connects with a hard punch and Felder is bleeding now from what might be a significant cut.
Felder gets a takedown. He’s having to dig deep now as the blood flows down his face from his forehead in the final seconds of the round.
Big punch from Felder to start the final round. Head kick attempt from him. RDA attempts a takedown, but Felder brushes that off.
Felder lands a knee to the body. RDA gets into the clinch against the cage. Nice right hook for RDA as he steps back then drives back into another takedown and gets the single leg.
RDA settles into half guard. He would like to pass here, but so far Felder is preventing it. Patient work from him here. They scramble and RDA ends up in north-south.
Felder gets to his knees. Felder lands knees to the thigh. Felder waiting for his moment to try to stand. More knees from the Brazilian.
Felder does stand up, but RDA is latched onto his back now. Trip attempt from RDA but Felder defends it well. Felder turns into him.
30 seconds to go. RDA with a final takedown. RDA gets his arms free and lands a few punches as the round ends.
All credit to Felder for taking this fight on only five days notice and to be fair to him his striking looked fast and crisp when he had a chance to get going, particularly in the early rounds.
However, RDA also looked good and in addition to having his own striking moments he also proved to be stronger in the clinch, secured multiple takedowns and had significant spells of control on the mat as he fought his way to a split decision victory (47-48, 50-45 x2).
It’s truly bizarre that one judge saw this fight in Felder’s favor and that’s made even more glaring of a blunder by the fact that the other two saw it as a clean sweep for dos Anjos.