If you didn’t know who Rafael dos Anjos was prior to his main event match against Benson Henderson, you certainly did before the first round ended.
The Brazilian (11-5) stopped the former champion with a left hand in the first round. The fight was called off at 2:31 after dos Anjos caught Henderson with a punch just as he returned back to his feet after taking a flying knee. The crowd protested the stoppage and despite pleas from Henderson that he was okay to continue, replays showed that the referee made the right call by ending it.
“I’m always the underdog, but now it’s my time,” said dos Anjos, who picked up his second straight win after a loss to standout Khabib Nurmagomedov delayed his title aspirations.
Becoming the first fighter to knock out Henderson is certainly a feather in the cap of dos Anjos, who set a tone for the entire fight by matching Henderson punch for punch and relying on a strong counter attack to keep his opponent off balance.
“I was training for everything,” dos Anjos said. “I worked a lot on my striking, and I knew my striking was better than his. The plan was to be patient in the first round but throw hard.”
To his credit, Henderson didn’t make any excuses after the match.
“I thought I was clearheaded,” Henderson said. “It is what is is. You have ups and downs. You have to take the good with the bad.”
Here are the complete UFC Fight Night 49 results:
Rafael dos Anjos def. Benson Henderson via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:31
Jordan Mein def. Mike Pyle via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:12
Thales Leites def. Francis Carmont via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 0:20
Max Holloway def. Clay Collard via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:47
James Vick def. Valmir Lazaro via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Chas Skelly def. Tom Niinimaki via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:35
Neil Magny def. Alex Garcia via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Beneil Dariush def. Tony Martin via submission (arm-triangle choke)
Matt Hobar def. Aaron Phillips via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Ben Saunders def. Chris Heatherly via submission (omoplata) – Round 1, 2:18
Wilson Reis def. Joby Sanchez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Tags: Benson Henderson, Mixed Martial Arts, Rafael dos Anjos, UFC Fight Night 49