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Rafael dos Anjos made his return to the lightweight division at UFC Vegas 14. With a split decision win over Paul Felder, dos Anjos is now back in the top ten and looks for a way to make it to the title once more. On this episode of Aftermath, we will look at their performances and take a look at what’s next for some of the fighters on the main card.
Editor’s note: We’ve removed the next week’s preview for Aftermath. Now, every Wednesday, we will post a preview of the next week’s card on Rokfin titled Beforemath. You can sign up and read that on Rokfin for free. If you wish to support the site, you can sign up for Rokin on my page here and for $9.99 a month, you will get the entire site’s premium content including stuff from James Lynch, Chael Sonnen, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club and more!
Kanako Murata Impresses at UFC Vegas 14
Next opponent for Kanako Murata: Dern/Jandiroba loser, Angela Hill
We knew Kanako Murata was an incredibly talented wrestler. Hailing from Japan where women’s freestyle wrestling rules with an iron fist, Murata has been around imposing her will on her opponents. After winning the Invicta strap, she made her jump to the UFC at UFC Vegas 14. Murata did very well against Randa Markos and, while she found herself in trouble, especially towards the end, she stayed out of trouble for most of the fight.
Now, Murata is ready for a top 15 fight. She’s already 27, which in the Rokfin preview piece, I said is not old, but it’s not young either. Murata will need a rather quick rise to the top and would actually do well in a few of the possible matchups.
One good idea is to test her defense on the ground. Murata was in trouble with Markos at the end of the third, but Markos couldn’t finish the triangle or armbar. Virna Jandiroba and Mackenzie Dern are scheduled to fight and the loser would be a prime opponent for Kanako Murata. Both are fantastic Jiu Jitsu players and would have locked up the finish that Markos had Murata in. In addition, both are ranked fighters as well. Two birds with one stone.
Second option is to test the striking of Murata. Tecia Torres and Angela Hill are set to fight. After that, Hill would be a great fight to test the standup of Murata and the take down defense of Hill. Win or lose, Hill has a long way to go to the top and Murata would be a good win for Hill to get more momentum. For Murata, a win over Hill would catapult her to the upper echelons of the division.
Khaos Williams Has Been Deemed a Nuclear State
Next opponent for Khaos Williams: Ramazan Emeev, Mounir Lazzez
Abdul Razak Alhassan is a bomb threat. But, Khaos Williams holds the ultimate equalizer and now, he might have the ultimate deterrent. After knocking out Alex Morono in 27 seconds at UFC 247, Williams took a dangerous fight in Alhassan who has finished all his wins in the first round. In just thirty seconds, Williams fired a right straight down the pipe that had Alhassan stiff on the ground.
Khaos Williams needs a test. After winning at UFC Vegas 14, he needs to face someone who will actually take him deep into rounds. Wrestlers will be a good test for him as well. Ramazan Emeev comes from Russia and trains in Dagestan. Enough said on that one, right?
Unfortunately, there are not many wrestlers around Williams, and even fewer will want to take the fight with someone so dangerous. The last fighter to beat Alhassan, Mounir Lazzez, might be a different option for Williams. A kickboxer, Lazzez lit up Alhassan all night and was hard to touch. Lazzez would be a good option to test Williams and take him into deeper rounds, frustrating him by being hard to hit.
Rafael dos Anjos Returns as the Former King
Paul Felder is a sad fighter to watch at times. His heart is obviously not in fighting anymore. But he is a company man and stepped in to this fight with a former champion on five days notice. He didn’t fight terrible, but a split decision was not warranted. While he has a lot in the tanks still, I would like to see Felder retire to commentating full time and not take any more unnecessary damage.
Next opponent for Rafael dos Anjos: Islam Makhachev
Rafael dos Anjos came into UFC Vegas 14 to fight Islam Makhachev, an unranked lightweight. Instead, he got seventh ranked Paul Felder. The win puts him back in the top ten of the division. Dos Anjos didn’t look bad either. Ahead of the fight I said RDA was washed and didn’t have much else to offer. But this fight showed me that he had a bunch more fight left in him. While he might not be championship caliber, he still can compete at the highest levels. Perhaps the size at welterweight became too much for dos Anjos and the smaller fighters at 155 are not as much of a threat. No matter what it is, dos Anjos has a couple of options ahead of him.
Islam Makhachev. We were honey-dicked on that fight and now we deserve it. Makhachev has even more incentive to take this fight with RDA likely being top ten after his win over Felder. Not much to this one, just a delivering of promised goods.
If, for some reason, Makhachev is out for an extended period and dos Anjos wants to get to action faster, Charles Oliveira is the man with the plan. Oliveira is on the back burner in the lightweight division with the top guys having their next fights all figured out. Oliveira is on a seven fight streak and is looking for a real signature win. A win over a former champion in RDA would be fantastic for do Bronx’s case for a title shot. Should dos Anjos get it done, he’s top five again, right in the mix. It’s a win-win.