Rafael Dos Anjos (22-7) did something that no one else had done in 24 previous fights, that is knock out the former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (21-4). The two lightweights headlined UFC Fight Night 49 in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the fans at the BOK Centre witnessed a massive upset from the 4-to-1 underdog, Dos Anjos.
In his first UFC main event, Dos Anjos only took 2 minutes and 31 seconds to achieve the feat. The Brazilian came out of the gates strong, showing his improved striking–working with master Rafael Cordeiro. Dos Anjos was able to pressure Benson on the feet, and continually land strikes—taking control of the fight early on.
Dos Anjos connected with a jumping knee that caused Henderson to fall to the mat, he bounced right back up only to be met with a flush left hook that put him down again. The impact of the punch and the way Henderson collapsed to the mat was enough for referee John McCarthy to step in and stop the bout.
Henderson popped right back up—as he did when he lost his title and was submitted by Anthony Pettis—acting like nothing had just happened, but to his credit he did not protest the stoppage.
Dos Anjos thanked Jesus Christ for the victory, and believed that his striking was better than his opponent’s.
“I have no words. I just want to thank Jesus Christ, he’s been amazing for me. This was for him,” Dos Anjos said.
“I knew my striking was better than his, so the plan was to be patient in the first round, but throw hard. And that’s what I did.”
He also had a message for the fans and oddsmakers that have continually pegged him as the underdog in his fights.
“I’m always the underdog, but tonight I think I proved to everyone. As you can see, he was out.”
The former champion continued to take the defeat with grace, “I thought I was clear headed, I clearly wasn’t,” Henderson said. “It is what it is. You’ve got to take the ups with the downs, the downs with the ups, the good and the bad.”
With the victory, Dos Anjos has now won 7 of his last 8 in the UFC, with the lone loss coming to Khabib Nurmagomedov. And is sure to see a rise in his current #5 lightweight UFC ranking. A win over the #2 ranked lightweight in the UFC may warrant a potential title shot in his next fight, but when asked who he wanted next, Dos Anjos simply stated that he was willing to fight whoever was next.