Almost no one expected Rafael dos Anjos to upset Benson Henderson—let alone finish him—but the 29-year-old Brazilian accomplished both feats on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 49 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
After more than holding his own in the early exchanges of the first round, Dos Anjos landed a hard leaping knee and followed that up with a left hook.
Henderson's legs left from under him, and referee John McCarthy jumped in to stop the bout at two minutes, 29 seconds in the very first round. At least one member of the UFC roster was shocked at the outcome.
The crowd booed, and Henderson showed his displeasure for what many regarded as a quick stoppage.
Here's a look at the results from every fight on the card.
|UFC Fight Night 49 Results|
|Wilson Reis vs. Joby Sanchez||Reis||Unanimous Decision|
|Ben Saunders vs. Chris Heatherly||Saunders||First-Round Submission (Omoplata)|
|Aaron Phillips vs. Matt Hobar||Hobar||Unanimous Decision|
|Beneil Dariush vs. Tony Martin||Dariush||Second-Round Submission (Head-and-Arm Choke)|
|Neil Magny vs. Alex Garcia||Magny||Unanimous Decision|
|Chas Skelly vs. Tom Niinimaki||Skelly||First-Round Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)|
|James Vick vs. Valmir Lazaro||Vick||Unanimous Decision|
|Max Holloway vs. Clay Collard||Holloway||Third-Round TKO|
|Francis Carmont vs. Thales Leites||Leites||Second-Round TKO|
|Mike Pyle vs. Jordan Mein||Mein||First-Round TKO|
|Benson Henderson vs. Rafael dos Anjos||Dos Anjos||First-Round TKO|
UFC Fight Pass Preliminary
Wilson Reis Defeats Joby Sanchez by Unanimous Decision
Despite suffering a knockdown in the second round, Wilson Reis' dominant grappling and more effective striking led to an easy win over Joby Sanchez.
Per UFC.com, Reis completed eight of 10 takedowns and landed more than twice as many strikes as Sanchez in the bout.
UFC Fox Sports 2 Preliminaries
Ben Saunders Defeats Chris Heatherly by First-Round Submission (Omoplata)
After a four-year absence from the UFC, Ben Saunders returned victorious. His win came via omoplata, which is one of the rarest submission holds in MMA. Twitter reacted once Saunders sunk in the hold.
How rare is it for a guy to get a win via omoplata? Michael Carroll of FightMetric tells us:
Matt Hobar Defeats Aaron "The Model" Phillips by Unanimous Decision
In an absolute snoozefest, Matt Hobar sent Aaron Phillips to 0-2 in the UFC. After losing a decision to Sam Sicilia in his debut, Phillips needed a strong performance, but he didn't get it.
Hobar consistently took Phillips down throughout the fight. In the first round, Hobar seemed to catch his opponent off guard by standing and striking early. In the last two rounds, he leaned on his ability to get Phillips to the ground almost at will.
So far, the Model is taking all the wrong head shots.
Beneil Dariush Defeats Tony Martin by Second-Round Submission (Head-and-Arm Choke)
Per the Fox Sports broadcast, Tony Martin said he was better than Beneil Dariush in every facet of the game. Well...that didn't turn out to be the case.
Dariush allowed Martin to tire himself out after an active first round. In the second frame, Dariush noticed Martin's punches and footwork had slowed significantly. The 25-year-old wasted no time going for the takedown and transitioning to the triangle.
It was beautiful technique.
Martin's biggest weakness is his slow hands. During striking sequences, Dariush was the quicker man. As the pace quickened, the advantage was more evident. There may be no solution for that issue.
Dariush is a jiu-jitsu artist primarily, but you can see that he's been working to diversify his striking game.
As his game continues to evolve, he could someday climb into the Top 10 at lightweight down the line.
Neil Magny Defeats Alex Garcia by Unanimous Decision
In another less-than-spectacular bout, Neil Magny won a unanimous decision over Alex Garcia. It was a tough fight to score, but Garcia did land the two biggest moves of the fight.
Two huge power takedowns put Magny on his back, but Garcia couldn't do anything with the top position. Still, Garcia could have an argument with the decision. That's especially the case with the judge who gave Magny all three rounds.
Magny's length makes him a tough out, but he just doesn't bring much entertainment in his bouts. That will make it hard for him to move up the ladder as quickly as more dynamic performers.
Garcia's best traits are his athleticism and explosiveness, but he lacks the technique to move into the class of elite fighters at welterweight.
Rarely throwing combinations and depending on wild overhand rights won't get him much success against the best fighters.
Fox Sports 1 Main Card
Chas Skelly Defeats Tom Niinimaki by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
After coming out aggressive in the opening moments of the first round, Chas Skelly fought his way out of a guillotine attempt from Tom Niinimaki.
Skelly transitioned to mount and then rolled to Niinimaki's back to cinch in a rear-naked choke. It didn't look as if the choke was under Niinimaki's chin, but the pressure was tight enough to cause the tapout.
It was an impressive performance from Skelly after he dropped a decision to Mirsad Bektic in his UFC debut. If he continues to look to push the action in future bouts, Skelly could be an exciting competitor in the UFC.
Niinimaki continues to be susceptible to the submission. Four of his seven losses have come via tapout, including the last two.
James Vick Defeats Valmir Lazaro by Unanimous Decision
It was a hard-fought battle, but it wasn't very aesthetically pleasing. Lazaro was billed as a masterful striker from the same camp that help to hone Jose Aldo's skills, but his technique looked more like a guy from one of those street-fight videos.
Lazaro's punches were wild, wide and inaccurate.
Vick landed right hands at will and wobbled Lazaro on several occasions. To the latter's credit, he was tough and took the punishment well, but it's hard to imagine Lazaro beating anyone of note.
Vick looked rusty after battling injuries and a short outing in his last fight, but he could still be a tough opponent at lightweight.
Max Holloway Defeats Clay Collard by Third-Round TKO
Despite being outstruck, Clay Collard was entertaining in defeat. He never stopped coming forward but didn't have an answer for the technical striking proficiency of Holloway.
In a performance that could be best described as an exhibition of controlled aggression, Holloway put together a professional dismantling of a tough and game opponent.
In the third round, Holloway gained top position and forced referee Dan Miragliotta to call an end to the fight as he pounded away at an exhausted and defenseless Collard. Though Collard took the bout on short notice, he still made a good account of himself.
He deserves a chance to show what he can do with a full training camp. As for Holloway, he continues to improve with every bout. Nevertheless, he's still about three wins away from being considered a serious title contender in the featherweight division.
Thales Leites Defeats Francis Carmont by Second-Round TKO
After a slow-paced first round, Thales Leites surprised Francis Carmont with pressure in the second round. He landed a hard overhand right and a sharp uppercut that put Carmont down.
Leites went in to finish his work, but Carmont was already out, and the bout was stopped.
The win was Leites' fourth straight, and he's looking like a contender at 185 pounds. Carmont continues to underachieve. Physically, he looks like an absolute beast but almost never fights as well as expected.
He's like the middleweight version of Cheick Kongo. Carmont has now lost three straight fights. How many more can he withstand before he's sitting on the cut line?
Jordan Mein Defeats Mike Pyle by First-Round TKO
This one didn't take long at all. Jordan Mein landed a vicious left hook that put Mike Pyle down. A few shots in ground-and-pound, and Miragliotta had to save another victim from more damage.
Mein clearly proved he is one of the future stars in the UFC with this performance.
The speed and accuracy of his striking are scary. Pyle is an excellent wrestler, but he had no luck getting Mein to the mat. At 38 years old, Pyle has to wonder how much more time he has as a serious contender in the welterweight division.
Rafael dos Anjos Defeats Benson Henderson by First-Round TKO
Give Dos Anjos credit, but that stoppage by McCarthy did look a little premature. Dos Anjos may have finished definitively, but a couple of more seconds would have left everyone with a better taste in their mouth.
That said, Henderson has benefited from a few close decisions. On this night, he didn't get the break. Henderson has made his name by being available whenever the UFC calls. After such a quick fight, he may get a chance to bounce back quickly.
Dos Anjos has to be considered no lower than second in the lightweight division after this performance.
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