Rafael dos Anjos Becomes Instant Title Contender With Win

Published on August 25th, 2014 1:34 pm EST

It wasn't supposed to go like that.

Ben Henderson and Rafael dos Anjos met in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs dos Anjos on Saturday night. Henderson, the former Lightweight title holder, was a 5-1 favourite heading into the fight and was widely expected to win. The general line of consensus before the fight was that Henderson would win in typical Ben Henderson fashion - he would use his wrestling and superb cardio to grind out a five round decision victory.

Rafael dos Anjos, winner of 6 of his last 7 heading into the Henderson fight on Saturday night, had other ideas, however. Dos Anjos, who suddenly seems to have found a striking game, caught Henderson perfectly and knocked out the former Lightweight champion just over halfway into the first round. The MMA community was largely shocked by the result as dos Anjos vaulted himself up the Lightweight title contender ladder.

Henderson, who had been making noises about a shot at the Lightweight title following wins over Rustam Khabilov and Josh Thomson, has now fallen way down the Lightweight title ladder and will have to slowly work his way back up. Given how many top names there are in the Lightweight division now (Pettis, Melendez, Cerrone, Alvarez, Nurmagomedov, just to name a few), Henderson will likely have to win 3 or 4 fights in a row just to get back into the title picture. There are many sharks in the Lightweight division and this will not be an easy task.

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Prior to Saturday night, Ben Henderson was the #1 ranked fighter in the Lightweight division while dos Anjos was #5. Here is how the top of the Lightweight division looked prior to Saturday:

Champion - Anthony Pettis

1. Benson Henderson
2. Gilbert Melendez
3. Khabib Nurmagomedov
4. Donald Cerrone
5. Rafael dos Anjos

Now, after the events of Saturday night, Henderson should fall out of the top 5 while dos Anjos will likely move to #2 behind Gilbert Melendez, who will be fighting for the title in December.


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