The UFC Apex Centre plays host to this weeks’ UFC event as Paul Felder steps in on less than a week’s notice to face Rafael dos Anjos. Also on the card are rising prospects, Kay Hansen, Brendan Allen, Rhys McKee and Kanako Murata and while it is not full of household names, this card does offer quality stylistic match ups and should provide us with a fair few highlight finishes. Make sure you set your alarms for the back to normal start time of 8am AEDT. We get into some of the key fights below.
With Islam Makhachev withdrawing from the fight, the ‘Irish Dragon’ Paul Felder steps out of the broadcast booth and into the Octagon in this week’s main event. Dos Anjos looks in the best shape for years and the fact that Paul Felder has to cut weight on five days’ notice and step in to a five round main event is a major advantage for the Brazilian. Paul Felder won both his fights in 2019 before losing a close decision to Dan Hooker. If Felder had a full camp, I would expect him to be favourite in this fight and I am going to gamble on him being in good enough condition to go all five rounds and come out on top. Dos Anjos has lost his last two and the loss to Michael Chiesa was one of many recent examples that showcased his takedown defense deficiency.
I don’t think Dos Anjos has been anywhere near the fighter that was capable of being a champion since 2015 and I have seen his striking digress as of late. Paul Felder will always walk through the fire and although doesn’t offer the takedown attack that undoes Dos Anjos he does the two other things that cause Dos Anjos problems, that being forward pressure and checking leg kicks. Dos Anjos will need to take this fight down and land on top. in order for him to win this fight and I believe Felder’s defense has improved enough in the last three years to suggest he can repel Dos Anjos’ takedown attempts. I am going with Felder at the odds and believe he is a real good chance at finishing Dos Anjos by KO as well. $7.50 for KO/TKO is daylight robbery.
I am such a fan of Kay Hansen largely due to her smooth jiu jitsu, so I am somewhat bias, however, this just looks to be her fight to lose. Hansen is just 21 and has racked up an impressive 7-3 record. Hansen won well by submission against Jinh Yu Frey in her UFC debut who was the former Invicta champion. The transition on the mat for that submission was as impressive as you can get. Her opponent, Cory McKenna, is largely a stand-up fighter who does have to improve her wrestling if she is to be successful in the UFC. I was hoping for some better odds around Hansen, but I still believe they are worth taking as well as taking her to add another submission win to her record. She comes out of 10th Planet jiu jitsu and has truly developed a great MMA grappling game and as long as she can get the takedown, she should get the finish.
Rhys McKee is an exciting prospect out of Northern Ireland and a good underdog play on the card. Rhys McKee does have good pop in his hands and if he can stuff the takedowns and force this to be a striking battle, he can out strike Morono and look for his own takedowns. McKee is one of those fighters that doesn’t really have a major weakness (although he used to have poor takedown defense) as he strikes well and has some sneaky jiu jitsu. If he does, however, get taken down early, Morono has every chance of grinding out a boring decision victory. As long as McKee can repel the takedown early and control the Octagon, this is McKee’s fight to lose.
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