Last night (Sat., Nov. 14, 2020), UFC remained in the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 14. The event was something of a worst-case scenario for UFC: a weak event that suffered more and more major hits as fight week progressed. By the time the curtains opened, there were only 10 fights booked, and only the main event was of any particular significance.
Still, it’s honestly something of a miracle that the event happened at all, so let’s take a closer look at the slickest techniques and best performances:
A Former Lightweight King Returns
First and foremost, Paul Felder deserves all the credit in the world for somehow making weight and performing a high-level for 25 minutes on such ridiculously short-notice. Even before the bell rang, most knew that Felder’s chances of winning a decision or hurting dos Anjos late were slim. After all, fighters do training camps for a reason. Training for a marathon helps, but that’s a whole different conditioning system than wrestling along the fence.
Yet, even if Felder were granted a full camp, the result likely would be similar. Dos Anjos was at his grinding best, doing his damnedest to make Felder’s night miserable. Constant pressure, heavy liver kicks, extended clinch work — dos Anjos would have forced anyone to fatigue.
In addition, dos Anjos’ wrestling was simply on point. He hid the level changes behind wide left hand swings and knee attempts, routinely gaining good entry to the hips. Even when Felder did manage to stuff the shot, it was going to be an exhausting process.
Top-ranked Lightweights likely haven’t thought of “RDA” in some time, but they had best start.
Khaos Williams might just be a serious problem at 170 lbs.
I hate to overreact to quick knockouts. We really don’t learn anything from instant finishes. It doesn’t definitively prove much, other than that the victorious man hits pretty damn hard. A great example of this came in Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez’s trilogy: “JDS” wins in a minute, then Velasquez proves himself the better man over the next 50.
When a fighter keeps knocking out fighters in an instant, that’s a different situation. Doing something once can be luck; doing it consistently makes a pattern. Williams scored his second sub-minute knockout last night in his second trip to the Octagon. He did so with one of the quickest, meanest right hands I’ve seen in a long time.
Two instant knockouts drastically improves the odds that Williams is more than a flash in the pan.
The Future Is Bright
Cory McKenna vs. Kay Hansen was a genuinely impressive fight.
Both Strawweight prospects are just 21 years of age, so making it to the UFC and opening a main card (even this one) are solid accomplishments. It got better, however, when both women showed off well-rounded games and fought like experienced veterans.
McKenna was perhaps a touch faster, worked her jab, and landed good left hooks behind her 1-2. Her strikes were straight down the middle and crisp. Hansen adjusted by punching into the clinch, where her knee strikes did some damage. Hansen’s apparent strength advantage was helpful in wrestling exchanges, and she timed her shots incredibly well.
Once on the mat, the scrambles were legitimate! The two reversed position back-and-forth, both showing comfort and experience. McKenna earned the nod in an extremely close decision, but ultimately, I walked away impressed with both athletes, who performed well beyond their years.
Women’s Strawweight is the best female division, and it’s likely to keep getting better.
Sean Strickland defeats Brendan Allan via second-knockout: Strickland has long been a story of unreached potential, but that may be changing. In his second fight in as many weeks, Strickland scored perhaps the best win of his career, utilizing sharp boxing to touch Allan up. Allan marched forward relentless, but Strickland met him with quick jabs and touches, outworking his foe without loading up. Allan did find some success with his low kick and left hook, but he just kept walking into the fire. Eventually, Strickland nailed his foe’s chin with a crisp cross, taking away his opponent’s senses and opening him up for a finishing flurry.
For complete UFC Vegas 14: “Dos Anjos vs. Felder” results and play-by-play, click HERE!