Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back at it once again to stage UFC Vegas 14, which goes down later tonight (Sat., Nov. 14, 2020) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a Lightweight bout between Paul Felder and Rafael dos Anjos. The co-headlining act will see Abdul Razak Alhassan take on Khaos Williams in Welterweight action.
The main event was originally set to feature a 155-pound showdown between dos Anjos and Islam Makhachev, but after he suffered a severe case of staph infection, Makhachev was forced to bow out of the fight. That is now the second time the bout has been postponed, the first time because of dos Anjos testing positive for COVID-19 prior to UFC 254. As a result of the most recent cancelation, Felder agreed to step in on short notice. Rarely does a change in main events does the match up get better, but this is a rare case when it does. No disrespect to Makhachev — I still want to see him fight dos Anjos one day — but Felder brings a bit more name value and “wow” factor potential to the fight thanks to his aggressive pace and “balls to the wall” attitude.
The contest doesn’t get any easier for “RDA,” as “The Irish Dragon” is as durable as they come. If the bout stays standing, I give the advantage to Felder — though it remains to be seen if the short amount of time he got to prepare plays a factor. And that’s where it becomes a “lose-lose” situation for dos Anjos. If he wins, critics will say he beat a fighter who took the fight on short notice and had to go through a vigorous weight cut. But let’s not forget, dos Anjos is facing a new opponent on short notice, too. At the end of the day, a win is a win, so if dos Anjos can get one over Felder he’ll get a decent bump up regardless of what critics have to say. A loss for Felder, meanwhile, may be the straw the breaks the camel’s back and forces him to retire after teasing the possibility earlier this year.
Look, not all cards can be winners, and the fact of the matter is that the promotion has been doing what it can with what it has. Yes, UFC has the biggest and best roster in the sport, but remember that we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, and we don’t know how many people have refused to fight during the pandemic, which Dana White promised he wouldn’t hold it against them. After all, it could be why we keep seeing a lot of the same fighters competing repeatedly ... and a lot of them making quick turnarounds like this.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Aside from the revamped main event, Gabriel Benitez was forced to bow out of his fight against Justin Jaynes after testing positive for COVID-19. UFC officials are hoping to book this fight again in the near future.
Also, during weigh-ins, Saparbeg Safarov was pulled from the event for failing to overcome “weight management issues.” His opponent, Julian Marquez, was pulled from the card since it was simply too tough of a task for the promotion to find someone to fight him on super-short notice.
And earlier this morning, a fight between Eryk Anders and Antonio Arroyo — which was set to go down on the main card — was scrapped after Anders fell ill as a result of a tough weight cut. The latest cancelation drops the line up to just 10 fights.
Former Invicta FC Strawweight Champion Lívia Renata Souza and Kanako Murata were expected to face each other at this event before Souza pulled out with an injury. Randa Markos eventually stepped in to fill the void. Bryan Barberena was forced out of his fight against Daniel Rodriguez after undergoing emergency surgery after he suffered internal bleeding due to ruptured arteries.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Don’t expect to get a whole lot of bang for your buck on the “Prelims,” though the fights could end up surprising us all once the smoke clears. Headlining the underbelly of the event is a fight between Kay Hansen and Cory McKenna, which we will discuss in greater detail in the next section.
Louis Smolka — who is on his second run with the promotion — is looking to get back in the win column after losing to Casey Kenney this past May when he takes on Jose Alberto Quinonez, who is also in need of a win after losing to Sean O’Malley in March. In further men’s Bantamweight action, Geraldo de Freitas will look to start a whole new win streak after having his previous run of seven straight victories snapped by Chris Gutierrez more than one year ago.
Keeping the rhythm of fighters in need of a win going, Rhys McKee will look for a better outing in his sophomore UFC effort after getting smashed by Khamzat Chimaev on “Fight Island” this past July. He will be taking on Alex Morono who is also coming off a loss. In fact, every single fighter — other than UFC newcomer Kanako Murata — who is competing on the “Prelims” is coming off a loss, including Roque Martinez and Don’Tale Mayes, who will be fighting in Heavyweight action.
Kanako Murata will bring her seven-fight win streak to the Octagon to the first time to face off against Randa Markos, loser of two straight and three of her last four. Getting back into the win column won’t be easy for the long-time UFC vet because Murata is as game as they come, especially when it comes to the wrestling department. Murata has a win over former UFC combatant Angela Magana and has only tasted defeat once in her mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
Cory McKenna, 21, is set to make her Octagon debut when she takes on another young up-and-coming contender, Kay Hansen. McKenna is just 5-1 in her professional MMA career, making her way to the big show via the “Contender Series.” Hansen — who is also just 21 years of age — will be a tough draw because the scrappy Flyweight really caught everyone’s attention after upsetting Jinh Yu Frey via armbar this past summer. Don’t sleep on McKenna, though, because she's been fighting on the amateur circuit since she was just 15 years old.
To get a more detailed look at those two new fresh faces click here.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
It’s rare that a headliner gets this slot, but dos Anjos needs a win pretty bad here after dropping his last two bouts to Leon Edwards and Michael Chiesa. Going back to 2018, “RDA” has a horrid record (1-4), putting him in a very tough spot. Getting back on track won’t come easy since Felder is as tough as they come. While “The Irish Dragon” may come in at a disadvantage when it comes to the preparation department, “RDA” has actually been on the sidelines longer since he hasn’t competed since January, while Felder fought in February. Look, dos Anjos is in no danger of getting cut but if he ever wants to get back in the mix, he needs a win here in the worst way.
Interest Level: 4.5/10
What do you want me to say? The card isn’t the best, but complaining about it won’t do much. While there are some notable folks who are completely bashing the event, I won’t go that far. It’s Saturday night entertainment and how many times has a card lacking in name value delivered? Several. The main event should be a good one, and the co-headliner should be banger as Abdul Razak Alhassan will take on Khaos Williams in Welterweight action (though Alhassan missed weight by 1.2 pounds).
A late fight was added to the event after Brendan Allen was pegged to face Sean Strickland. Allen — who has won seven in a row — was originally set to fight last weekend at UFC Vegas 13 against Ian Heinisch. But after the fight was scrapped due to COVID-19, the promotion was able to get him another bout in a hurry. Strickland, on the other hand, is looking to collect his third straight win.
Would you believe me if I told you Strickland has been fighting for the promotion for six years, making his debut way back at UFC 171? While he has had some great wins inside the Octagon, he hasn’t managed to get that signature victory that will get him a bigger share of the spotlight. Snapping Allen’s win streak is a huge step in that direction.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Vegas 14 Full Fight Card:
UFC Vegas 14 Main Event:
155 lbs.: Paul Felder vs. Rafael dos Anjos
UFC Vegas 14 Main Card On ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Khaos Williams
185 lbs.: Julian Marquez vs. Saparbek Safarov — CANCELED (details here) 185 lbs.: Eryk Anders vs. Antonio Arroyo — CANCELED (details here)
115 lbs.: Miranda Granger vs. Ashley Yoder
195 lbs.: Brendan Allen vs. Sean Strickland
115 lbs.: Kay Hansen vs. Cory McKenna
135 lbs.: Louis Smolka vs. Jose Quinonez
UFC Vegas 14 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (5 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Randa Markos vs. Kanako Murata
135 lbs.: Geraldo de Freitas vs. Tony Gravely
170 lbs.: Alex Morono vs. Rhys McKee
265 lbs.: Don’Tale Mayes vs. Roque Martinez
***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.***
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 14 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 14: “Felder vs. dos Anjos” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.