It was Rafael dos Anjos’ time.
It’s a UFC Fight Night doubleheader!
While Michael Bisping and Cung Le headline over in China, lightweights Benson Henderson and Rafael dos Anjos hold it down in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Bendo is coming off an impressive submission win over the Russian prodigy Rustam Khabilov in June. He’s looking to continue his momentum towards a lightweight title rematch with rival Anthony Pettis.
Dos Anjos bounced back from a loss to a similar Russian prodigy in Khabib Nurmagodemov to secure a surprising win over Jason High.
Henderson (-350) comes in as the big favourite, but one cannot ever count dos Anjos (+285) out.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman counts down the main event matchups:
CHAS “THE SCRAPPER” KELLY (11-1-0) VS TOM “STONEFACE” NINIMAKI
Wiseman: The more well-rounded and experienced is Niinimaki. Whether the fight goes to the mat or it’s a standing war, Niinimaki has the arsenal to defeat Skelly. Skelly will want things to the mat quickly with the power of Niinimaki, but Niinimaki is no fool on the mat.
Wiseman Prediction: Tom Niinimaki via TKO.
JAMES “THE EXECUTIONER” VICK (5-0-0) VS VALMIR “BIDU” LAZARO (12-2-0)
Wiseman: Larazo has KO power, but he knows it. He enters each fight swinging and waiting for it. Vick is a submission specialist, so while Larazo is swinging for a one-shot finish, Vick will score a takedown and transition for a submission.
Wiseman Prediction: James Vick via submission.
MAX “BLESSED” HOLLOWAY (9-3-0) VS CLAY “CASSIUS” COLLARD (13-4-0, 1 NC)
Wiseman: Collard is a late replacement and is taking a huge step up in competition by taking on Holloway. Max is a challenge for anyone after a full camp, let alone on a few weeks notice. Collard has power, but the lanky reach of Holloway will be able to get damage done from a distance. Holloway has takedown defence, so if Collard were to think about a takedown that wouldn’t go well for him. Collard is just taking on an opponent that is at a different level.
Wiseman Prediction: Max Holloway via submission.
#12 FRANCIS “LIMITLESS” CARMOUONT (22-9-0) VS #15 THALES LEITES (23-4-0)
Wiseman: This fight is a great test for both men as they are both well-rounded. The biggest difference is power. Carmont has kicks that will certainly make Leites shoot in for a takedown. Carmont has good takedown defence, but he does well off his back even if things did work out that way. Carmont has a reach advantage and is quite big for this division, so when he is on top he is certainly able to drain the gas tank of anyone. I see Carmont being able to wear Leities down for a ground-and-pound beating if it doesn’t end it in the standing game.
Wiseman Prediction: Francis Carmont via TKO.
#13 MIKE”QUICKSAND” PYLE (26-9-1) VS “YOUNG GUN” JORDAN MEIN (28-9-0)
Wiseman: This has fight-of-the-night potential written all over it. These guys always put on a show and they both are talented. Pyle is superior on the mat, that is certainly his bread-and-butter. He is going to need to deal with the striking of Mein first. Mein darts in and out of the pocket and defends well. Pyle has the Muay Thai background, so he will mix things up to prevent damage. Look to see Pyle try striking for a little while, but take the power of Mein then shoot for a takedown. Pyle would be wise to shoot in quickly to prevent any damage and drag Mein into a world where he has a big advantage.
Wiseman Prediction: Mike Pyle via decision.
#1 BENSON “SMOOTH” HENDERSON (21-3-0) VS #5 RAFAEL DOS ANJOS (21-7-0)
Wiseman: Talk about two guys who cancel each other out. Whether it’s power or submission game they basically look like mirror images of each other. Henderson is smoother on his feet, but each can deliver a nasty kick. Anjos has an edge on the mat, but Henderson is also well versed in his jiu-jitsu. The biggest difference is the approach that they take. Henderson is more aggressive, whereas Anjos tends to be a counter-striker. That type of approach won’t work when fighting Henderson, especially in a 5 round fight.
Wiseman Prediction: Benson Henderson via decision.