Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
UFC 255 is on November 21, but there’s a solid warm-up card this Saturday from the organization’s Apex facility in Las Vegas as a bout between lightweights Paul Felder and Rafael Dos Anjos highlights a Fight Night event. The main card begins at 7 p.m. and is available on ESPN+.
Being honest, this matchup is a huge downgrade from the originally scheduled fight between Islam Makhachev, who is the 12th-ranked lightweight in the UFC rankings, and Dos Anjos, who is No. 12 in the welterweight division.
Originally, those two were to fight at UFC 254 at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, but Dos Anjos tested positive for COVID-19 and it was postponed. Dos Anjos left his home in California to train in his native Brazil for that fight, and that country is being ravaged by the virus. Makhachev on social media wrote that he wanted to stay on the card because his good buddy UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was on it, but the UFC said no.
Saturday’s fight was to be the first in a main event for Makhachev (18-1), but he withdrew last Sunday with an undisclosed injury. Nurmagomedov has predicted several times that Makhachev would eventually hold the UFC’s lightweight belt once Khabib walked away from the sport.
Dos Anjos called out former Bellator champion Michael Chandler to take the fight on short notice, but instead the UFC found Felder to step up – ironically, he was to be on the call for Saturday’s original main event. “The Irish Dragon” is near retirement at age 35 and has a 17-5 career mark. He last fought in February and was beaten via split decision by Dan Hooker. Four straight Felder fights have gone to the judges and three ended up split decisions. He’s a +155 underdog.
The 36-year-old Dos Anjos (29-13) is a former UFC lightweight champion – he won the belt in March 2015 with a win over Anthony Pettis. Dos Anjos defended it once with a win over Donald Cerrone but then lost it to Eddie Alvarez. Eventually, Dos Anjos dropped down to welterweight but lost four of his past five there, last to Michael Chiesa in January by unanimous decision.
Thus, Dos Anjos decided to try his luck at lightweight again. Fourteen of his wins are by decision, 10 by submission and five by KO/TKO. When Dos Anjos loses, it’s usually by decision (77 percent). He was a +375 underdog against Makhachev but is -190 against Felder.
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