UFC Fight Night Picks: Paul Felder vs Rafael dos Anjos

I’m not happy Islam Machachev has an infection but the betting line was far too wide to play the favorite, and I wasn’t very confident Rafael dos Anjos was going to defeat the Dagestani fighter.

Paul Felder saves the day! Cheers to Philadelphia!

You won’t hear me say that very often as a DC sports fan but hey, you have to give it up for the guy. He is stepping in here on just a few days notice to fight a former world champion in Rafy dos Anjos.

We have seen a lot of late notice replacements since the shutdown, so this is nothing new for fans or fighters. I think if you’re an active fighter who can travel to Vegas and or Fight Island, then you should be staying ready.

I heard through the grapevine that Paul was training for a triathlon. If that is indeed the case, then we may have a great fight on our hands. It has historically been nearly impossible to finish RDA, so you would think this would come down to conditioning.

It is a 25 minute main event fight too.

Keep in Mind:
Conditioning not only affects everything else but also your ability to take a shot. Paul is a very difficult guy to finish as well so maybe we should look at the round totals as well.

They are fairly evenly matched and even when they aren’t like when Dos Anjos went the distance with Khabib, Colby, and Kamaru.

Let’s take a look at the betting odds for this matchup and then make a play from there.

Rafael dos Anjos (-192) vs Paul Felder (+167)

This one opened with Paul at (+140) and Rafy at (-160) so it hasn’t moved very much. I understand the money coming in on the guy who had already been training for a 5 round fight but fellow UFC athletes are saying that he was getting ready for something out on Fight Island.

I can’t be completely sure but there is no reason not to take their word for it. Here is the thing with the betting line. If Paul wasn’t taking this fight on short notice, where would the line be?

I believe at the very least a pick’em. Both have good striking, better than average clinch work. Rafy has good takedowns and Paul has solid takedown defense. There aren’t a ton of edges here between the two men this Saturday other than the obvious.

Felder has been taken down by similar level wrestlers but he normally pops right back up.

These guys are the same age but Paul is bigger even though both men used to fight at 170 pounds.

The wildest thing about this fight is the fact that Paul is taking it at 155. If he takes it at 170, I think the line would be a bit closer for sure. Felder is taller and thicker but with the same reach of 70” as the Brazilian.

I mentioned I thought the round total might be a good look but the over 4.5 rounds is juiced to brim.

Breville really outdid themselves this time. (-190) for the over 4.5! Ugh. That is not what I wanted to see.

I’m going with Felder here. They will be in the small cage which may help out Rafy’s wrestling but Felder is a Muay Thai wizard in the clinch. I can see him hurting dos Anjos with some elbows.

I really can. This is a pick’em fight, in my opinion, so we are going with the dog.

My Pick
Paul Felder

Bonus Picks Tony Gravely: -145

A significant wrestling advantage in a small Octagon should be the difference here.

I have Gravely as a (-220) favorite so tons of value here for you guys.

My Pick
Tony Gravely

Friday Flyer Brendan Allen by TKO: +850

Everyone is talking about Paul Felder for Saturday but this fight is awesome!!!

Both men are top five caliber fighters in the UFC’s Middleweight Division. I’m happy we are getting to see this fight, especially after Allen’s matchup with Ian Heinisch was cancelled. I was on Brendan all day there.

I really don’t buy the Heinisch hype.

We faded him against both Derek Brunson and Omari Akhmedov. He isn’t overly skilled. His thing is strength, athleticism, toughness, and conditioning.

Those are all great and he does have a cardio edge on Allen but I just believe it ends there. “All In” is a much more technical fighter.

Now, Sean Strickland is an excellent striker who is coming off of just a two week break from his comeback winning performance against tough guy boxer/brawler Jack Marshman.

He took a few hard shots in that fight and kept coming so we know he has a decent chin but Allen could very well crack him with an elbow on the feet and put him away like he did Tom Breese.

The number is so good at (+850), I say throw .25 units down and you could profit more than 2.

My Pick
Allen by TKO

In Conclusion

Get those bets in now, team! This UFC was looking pretty bleak until Machachev pulled out making the main event essentially a pick’em skill wise. Paul Felder is a house at 155 and yes, he has been taken down by guys who prefer to strike but he was back up pretty quick.

Dos Anjos was primarily drilling defensive wrestling, though, in preparation for Islam. I feel like Rafy will get him down but probably finish the fight 2-8 or so on takedowns. That may or may not be enough to sway the judges.

  • The Brazilian is used to having an advantage in the clinch but I don’t think that will be the case against Paul. His Muay Thai, particularly the clinch work is some of the best in the promotion.
  • I like Tony Gravely also to get it done. Small Octagon, better wrestling and inexpensive betting odds give us the room to make a play there.
  • As for Brendan Allen, he is a scrapper and even though he might be at a slight boxing disadvantage, we may see a calf kick or an elbow do some serious damage to his opponent.

(+850) is decent money for an outcome I see happening about 20% of the time. He is underrated on the feet and so dynamic overall that he could finish this by TKO on the feet or the mat.

Get your bets in now or forever hold your horses.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.