Paul Felder did what he could on short-notice, but the non-stop work of Rafael dos Anjos led him to victory in the main event of UFC Vegas 14.
The short-notice main event of UFC Vegas 14 was between Paul Felder and former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos. Felder had semi-retired after his last fight, a loss to Dan Hooker, but took this fight on short-notice while training for a triathlon. After losing in four of his last five against top welterweight competition, dos Anjos was returning to lightweight for this one.
Felder took the center of the cage quickly and landed a leg kick. RDA went to a teep, then ate a pair of leg kicks. Felder was throwing heavy leather early and dos Anjos gave him something to think about by briefly touching his leg. RDA went for a body kick and Felder answered with a spinning elbow that cut dos Anjos. RDA worked for a takedown and brought Felder down. After some time, Felder stood up and broke out of a head-and-arm choke, then landed a strong uppercut. A pair of right hands landed for Felder and dos Anjos answered with a straight left. Felder shot for a takedown, but RDA sprawled it against the cage, leading to an RDA-favored clinch. A cracking left hook landed for dos Anjos right before the end of the round.
RDA started the second round with strong kicks to the body. Felder landed a combination as dos Anjos pushed forward for a takedown that he didn’t complete. An elbow for Felder was followed by a hefty leg kick and another elbow. The straight left connected for dos Anjos, who then shot in for a takedown. Felder landed a big knee and resisted a takedown. RDA hit a strong body kick and another straight left, then a double-jab left-straight combo. Felder fired back with a combination that backed RDA up. A head kick landed for dos Anjos then a ripping right hook to the body. He then shot for a takedown and got Felder down this time. Felder stood up, but RDA stuck to him like glue. Eventually, RDA let go and landed a strong left straight to close out the round.
Felder started with a head kick and RDA countered with a body kick and another takedown attempt against the cage. Felder stayed on his feet, then he initiated a clinch. He was able to land a strong elbow on the exit, but RDA came right back in and took him down. Felder worked his way up and prevented RDA from taking his back with a well-placed overhook. They broke apart and began exchanging again. RDA threw a flying knee into a takedown attempt, then slammed Felder down, ending the round in half guard.
Felder started the fourth with a flying knee. A one-two landed cleanly for Felder, who was rejuvenated to start the round. Felder fought off a takedown attempt and continued to throw leather. RDA connected with a body kick and started letting his hands go. Felder fought off a clinch then dos Anjos shot in hard for a double-leg and was held up by the cage. RDA continued to try for takedowns, but Felder stayed on his feet and eventually spun him around, exiting the clinch. A crisp jab landed for RDA and Felder started unloading. Out of nowhere, Felder hit a perfect double-leg takedown. RDA scooted to the fence and reversed position to land ground-and-pound at the end of the round.
Felder landed some jabs to start the fifth and thwarted a takedown. However, dos Anjos refused to give him space, shooting in twice more and taking Felder down into half guard. RDA was going for the arm-triangle but Felder broke free. He then scrambled, allowing RDA to establish north-south. Felder squirmed his way up, but dos Anjos stayed on his hips. He scored his final takedown with 10 seconds left to close things out.
Rafael dos Anjos def. Paul Felder by Split Decision (50-45 x2, 47-48)