UFC

Rafael dos Anjos derails Benson Henderson title bid

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The UFC returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the first time in nearly 20 years on Saturday and the fans there were treated a spectacle of finishes - including Rafael dos Anjos overcoming the odds to beat Benson Henderson.

dos Anjos had been written off by many in the build up to the fight as last time out fans watched as Khabib Nurmagomedov rag-dolled the Brazilian fighter around for 15 minutes, and expected for Henderson to see him off with ease.

However, dos Anjos refused to follow the script and sensationally finished Henderson in the first round, via a flying knee and punches combo, and it is a result that has blown the lightweight division open.

Who challenges next?

The lightweight division is perhaps one of the UFC's most stacked. It is filled to the brim with guys who can and will fight often and are always one or two fights away from a title shot.

However, Anthony Pettis' injury history has led to a huge backlog and now it's not really clear who challenges for the UFC Lightweight title after Gilbert Melendez.

The current front runner is Nurmagomedov. The undefeated Russian fighter has been like a bulldozer through the division but his commitment to Ramadan and an injury in training has prevented him from having the big fight he needs before a title shot.

That paves the way for former Bellator Lightweight champ and UFC newboy, Eddie Alvarez to lay his claim to the shot. He faces 'Cowboy' Donald Cerrone at UFC 178 in the co-main event and with a win, he could leapfrog Nurmagomedov.

On the flip side, if Alvarez loses to Cerrone, then Cerrone could be in for a shot. Whether or not 'Cowboy' could wait that long to get his hands on Pettis or Melendez, isn't certain and even though he could win contendership, he could also risk it against someone like Nurmagomedov.

The best of the rest

While Nurmagomedov, Cerrone and Alvarez are the front-runners, there's cases to be made for the likes of Bobby Green, TJ Grant and Myles Jury, while Henderson and dos Anjos are still only two wins from another shot, should the stars align.

With how much some of these fighters love to fight often, they'd make for great champions too.

Cerrone will be heading into his fourth fight of the year when he steps into the cage against Alvarez and last night was both dos Anjos and Henderson's third fights of the year and with the result, there's room for another.

Fighting champions

These are the kind of 'fighting champions' that the lightweight division needs and deserves. The fans want to see the best versus the best but they want some end result as well.

Pettis hasn't fought since he won the title nearly a year ago and won't defend it until December, meaning someone else won't challenge until March or April at the earliest.

Instead, PPV headlining title fights have had to been booked as Fight Night main events or co-main events. Should any other issues arise with Pettis, then an Interim title should be created as soon as possible.

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Topics:
UFC
Benson Henderson

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