A Night of Impressions in Tulsa (UFC Fight Night 49 Review)

ufc_fn49The main event in a UFC fight is the most important spot throughout an entire fight as it is the reason people are at the fight. The main event is the fight that sells an entire card and should feature the best fighters with the most to fight for on the card. The main event is also a chance for fighters to show what they have with all eyes on them. It is the point where everyone is watching and everyone is in the arena including the most important executives in the UFC. So when a fighter gets a chance at the main event it is their chance to show everyone how good they can be. If there is any time to have the fight of your life it will be during a main event as everyone tries to prove that they belong among the best fighters in the world. Along with all of this the main event is a chance to push a fighter to 5 rounds. Many of the top fighters have that experience in big fights going that long but for someone who is new to the main event they will need to learn how to potentially fight for a full 25 minutes. This was the case for Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 49 when he entered his first ever main event. dos Anjos had never fought in a main event before travelling to Tulsa to take on Benson Henderson. That left many to consider him a major underdog as Henderson has made his reputation in main events. As the former lightweight champion Henderson had seen his fair share of main events and had sold his fair share of seats as the champion and as the main fight in pay-per-views. Still dos Anjos got his shot at proving himself against a much more experienced fighter in these situations. It is not as though dos Anjos never saw important fights or big name fighters after beating Donald Cerrone and Evan Dunham while losing his last fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov. He had faced some of the best fighters in the division but had never faced the pressure of carrying a card. It was going to be a challenge for dos Anjos who had to deal with a different level of pressure in the fight. Everyone was watching him to put on the best fight of the night to cap off a great card. One thing was sure and that was that Henderson was going to bring everything he had to win this fight. Henderson was not concerned about the fight situation as he had other things to worry about including losing his #1 spot in the rankings. Henderson walked into Tulsa hoping to get the win and get closer to another chance at the lightweight championship. Unlike Henderson dos Anjos was just looking to make an impact in the lightweight division by beating the top fighter in the rankings. If he was going to do this he needed to put the situation out of his head and realize that he was named to a main event for a reason and that he belonged there. The fight was a matchup of two fighters who prefer to fight on the mat although two fighters that were well-balanced. They do things a little differently though as Henderson looks to use his wrestling for ground and pound while dos Anjos prefers to use his BJJ to submit his opponents. The fight began with both fighters clearly trying to show what they had on the feet rather than taking it to the mat. As the first round progressed it was clear that dos Anjos was not overwhelmed by his situation as he was very comfortable in the octagon. He continued to press the former champion and eventually landed a big double knee that hurt Henderson. dos Anjos followed the knees up with a big left hand that forced the referee to call the fight. Although Henderson was not happy with the stoppage it was clear that the left hand dropped him and the referee had to stop the fight. The loss will likely take Henderson out of the top contender spot but he will not move far beyond a potential title shot. Meanwhile dos Anjos had his biggest win of his career and is sure to move within striking distance of a title shot. It was exactly what dos Anjos needed as he finished one of the best fighters in the division.

Much like the main event the co-main event of a fight card can be an important spot for fighters. It is not the same as carrying the card in the main event but it is an important fight with plenty of eyes on the octagon. The fight before the big one will still have everyone watching and although they may not be specifically looking at that fight making an impression could do a lot. That was especially the case for Jordan Mein and Mike Pyle who got the call for the co-main event as unranked fighters. Originally Mike Pyle was to face a much higher ranked Demian Maia in the co-main event. It was a chance for Pyle to really make an impact in the welterweight division and launch himself into the top 15. An injury to Maia ended the chance for Pyle and instead he got a young rising star in Jordan Mein on very short notice. Although he was no longer going to face a ranked fighter he was still in the co-main event and still had a chance to take out a young star and prove that he belongs in the rankings. Mein on the other hand had a chance to prove to the UFC that he is willing to fight anyone at any time and if he could get the win could continue his rise in the division. The matchup was between two well-rounded fighters and no matter where the fight went both fighters would be comfortable. The fight did not last long enough for either fighter to show much of their abilities as it ended quickly on the feet. After an initial feeling out period Mein began to get more comfortable and unleashed a massive combination that put Pyle down for the count. The quick finish was a disappointment for Pyle who was hoping for a cerebral matchup that he could win but instead he was finished and will have to regroup and try to get another chance to show that he belongs in the rankings. Meanwhile Mein continued his rise up the division finishing another fight in an impressive way and on short notice. He will likely end up in the rankings after his finish and will try to continue to rise up towards a title fight in a very tough division.

Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
Rafael dos Anjos came into UFC Fight Night 49 looking to make a big impression in his first main event against a former champion and he did just that finishing Benson Henderson and earning a Performance of the Night Bonus

Performance of the Night
Fighting on short notice is never easy but Jordan Mein was up for the task as he went into UFC Fight Night 49 and impressed many earning a KO over Mike Pyle and earning an extra $50,000 for the Performance of the Night

Performance of the Night
For the second time in the day the UFC did not hand out a Fight of the Night Bonus instead giving Thales Leites the third Performance of the Night bonus after beating Francis Carmont with a second round KO

Performance of the Night
The fourth Performance of the Night bonus went to Ben Saunders for doing something that has never been done before finishing his fight with the first ever Omaplata in the first round to earn an extra payday


Fight Results

Main Event:
Rafael dos Anjos def. “Smooth” Benson Henderson
(KO; Rd. 1)

Main Card:
Jordan “Young Gun” Mein def. Mike “Quicksand” Pyle
(KO; Rd. 1)

Thales Leites def. Francis “Limitless” Carmont
(TKO; Rd. 2)

Max “Blessed” Holloway def. “Cassius” Clay Collard
(TKO; Rd. 3)

James “The Texicutioner” Vick def. Valmir “Bidu” Lázaro
(Unanimous Decision)

Chas “Scrapper” Skelly def. Tom “Stoneface” Niinimaki
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

Neil Magny def. Alex “The Dominican Nightmare” Garcia
(Unanimous Decision)

Beneil “Benny” Dariush def. Tony Martin
(Submission; Arm Triangle, Rd. 2)

Matt “The Crowbar” Hobar def. Aaron “The Model” Phillips
(Unanimous Decision)

Ben “Killa B” Saunders def. Chris “Stump” Heatherly
(Submission; Omaplata, Rd. 1)

Wilson Reis def. Joby Sanchez
(Unaimous Decision)

Upcoming Events

UFC 177: Dillashaw vs. Barao II (Saturday August 30th; 10:00 pm ET)
Las Vegas, Nevada (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
Main Event: TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan “The Baron” Barão [Bantamweight Title]
Notable: Danny “Last Call” Castillo vs. Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson
Notable: Bethe “Pitbull” Correia vs. Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler

UFC Fight Night 50: Souza vs. Mousasi II (Friday September 5th; 9:00 pm ET)
Ledyard, Connecticut (Foxwoods Resort & Casino)
Main Event: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi
Notable: Alistair “The Reem” Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell
Notable: Matt “Meathead” Mitrione vs. Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis

UFC Fight Night 51: Silva vs. Arlovski (Saturday September 13th; 8:00 pm ET)
Brasilia, Brazil (Ginásio Nilson Nelson)
Main Event: Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski
Notable: Gleison Tibau vs. Piotr “Płetwal” Hallmann
Notable: Leonardo Santos vs. Łukasz “Wookie” Sajewski

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