Rafael dos Anjos (31-13-0) used superior grappling to earn a split-decision win over Paul Felder (17-7-0) in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 41 Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Dos Anjos, who was recognized by UFC vice president of athlete health for testing clean 50 times before the bout, utilized timely strikes, combined with grappling control that left Felder, who was taking the fight on five days notice, on the defensive.

The grappling of Dos Anjos eventually took the starch out of the ‘Irish Dragon,’ as he was controlled for large stretches in the final round. A left hand opened up a cut on Felder’s forehead in the fourth round.

Somehow, one judge scored it 48-47 for Felder, but the other two judges scored it 50-45, and 50-45 for dos Anjos.

With the win, dos Anjos collected his first win at lightweight since defending the lightweight belt against Donald Cerrone in 2015. He will almost certainly re-enter the lightweight rankings, given that Felder currently occupies the No. 7 slot.

Felder suffered his second consecutive split-decision loss. After the bout, he said he is “not going anywhere.”

Dos Anjos and Felder earned Fight of the Night, while Khaos Williams and Sean Strickland earned performances of the night. Each fighter earned a $50,000 USD bonus.

Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.

In case you missed the prelims:

DON’TALE MAYES DEF. ROQUE MARTINEZ VIA UD (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

ALEX MORONO DEF. RHYS MCKEE VIA UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

TONY GRAVELY DEF. GERALDO DE FREITAS VIA SD (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)

KANAKO MURATA DEF. RANDA MARKOS VIA UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

MAIN CARD 

BRENDAN ALLEN VS. SEAN STRICKLAND

WINNER: SEAN STRICKLAND VIA TKO (PUNCHES) R2 1:32

ANDREWS PREDICTION: BRENDAN ALLEN VIA UD

Andrews: Strickland proved to be too much for Allen. Excellent win.

Andrews Prediction: Brendan Allen via UD

KAY HANSEN VS. CORY MCKENNA

 

WINNER: CORY MCKENNA VIA UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: KAY HANSEN VIA SUBMISSION

Andrews: Both fighters did well at 21 years old, but McKenna held more than her own on the ground. Good win.

WINNER: ASHLEY YODER VIA UD (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)

Andrews: A dominant performance by Yoder. Just missed the choke.

ABDUL RAZAK ALHASSAN VS. KHAOS WILLIAMS 

 

WINNER: KHAOS WILLIAMS VIA KO (PUNCH) R1 0:30

ANDREWS PREDICTION: ABDUL RAZAK ALHASSAN VIA TKO

Andrews: Wow! Williams must have been really ticked that Abdul missed weight.

MAIN EVENT

PAUL FELDER VS. RAFAEL DOS ANJOS

 

WINNER: RAFAEL DOS ANJOS VIA SD (47-48, 50-45, 50-45)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: RAFAEL DOS ANJOS VIA UD

Andrews: A competitive performance by Felder on five days notice but Dos Anjos won all five of those rounds.

The UFC’s next event is Nov. 21’s UFC 255, which features flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo defending against No. 6 Alex Perez in the main event. In the co-main, champion Valentina Shevchenko takes on No. 3 Jennifer Maia.

@kenaiandrews UFC on ESPN+ 41: Rafael Dos Anjos earns split-decision victory over Paul Felder