The days of Rafael dos Anjos' reign atop the UFC's lightweight division seem long ago. Even his initial winning streak after moving up to welterweight is far back in the rearview mirror.
But dos Anjos, the gritty veteran, is still here, winning important fights in the UFC. "RDA" defeated Kevin Lee by arm triangle choke submission at 3:47 of the fourth round Saturday night in the main event of UFC Rochester. The victory keeps dos Anjos relevant in the UFC's welterweight contender rankings. The UFC drew an attendance of 8,200 in its first trip to Rochester for a gate of $643,000.
"I have 40 professional fights and 27 UFC appearances," dos Anjos said. "Kevin Lee's a young guy coming up [in the] division."
Lee started off fast, putting the pressure on dos Anjos and pushing him against the fence. Lee landed in the striking early often. By the end of the second round, though, dos Anjos had the momentum, and Lee looked somewhat sapped. Afterward, the Brazilian said that strategy was by design.
"I took my time and took his energy," dos Anjos said. "I used my cage experience. My last three fights, I went 25 minutes with the best guys. It gave me a lot of experience for situations like this."
In the second round, dos Anjos was able to land combinations in the stand-up -- and a big head kick -- and stave off most of Lee's takedowns. Lee nearly took his back, but dos Anjos was able to get out of trouble. The second, like the other two rounds, was a lot of clinching against the cage, a lot of grappling. It was a grueling battle of attrition throughout.
Dos Anjos began to make the fight his in the third. Lee's takedowns were slower, and dos Anjos defended them, getting into top position at least once himself. In the fourth, Lee tried to capitalize on a scramble and get in top position, but dos Anjos out-scrambled him and ended up in mount. Dos Anjos quickly locked in the arm triangle, a favored technique for the California resident.
All three judges had dos Anjos winning the second and third rounds, ahead 29-28 going into the fourth.
Dos Anjos (29-11) snapped a two-fight losing streak with the victory. He was coming off losses to current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington in an interim title fight. Dos Anjos, 34, started off at welterweight on a three-fight winning streak prior to that losing skid. This was his 10th career submission victory.
Still ranked No. 3 among UFC welterweight contenders, dos Anjos is not ruling out another run to the belt at 170 pounds. Dos Anjos was the UFC lightweight champion in 2015 and 2016.
"I know I have what it takes to be a world champion," dos Anjos said. "I just want to be ready for the right opportunity. I'll be ready to take advantage of it."
Lee (17-5) has now dropped two straight. This was his welterweight debut in the UFC, though he has not committed to staying in the division. Lee, 26, has dropped three of four overall.
Heinisch got completely dominated in the first round, the matchup against Carlos Junior looking like a terrible one stylistically. In fact, Heinisch, the gritty former wrestler who has overcome the odds in life, was just biding his time.
Heinisch defeated Carlos Junior by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in the co-main event of UFC Rochester on Saturday night. Heinisch came back to gut out the final two rounds to pull off the hard-fought victory.
In the first round, Carlos Junior put Heinisch on his back and controlled just about every second of the five minutes. There was some damage and a few submission attempts, as well. Heinisch appeared to be in over his head against the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
He was not. Heinisch came back in the second, won the striking battle and got ground position after lazy Carlos Junior takedowns. Heinisch was able to do damage on the ground with punches and elbows. It was much of the same in the third, a fresh Heinisch out-scrambling a tiring Carlos Junior time after time.
Heinisch (13-1), who spent years in prison for drug trafficking, has remade his life in MMA. The Colorado resident has won five straight, including his past two in the UFC. Heinisch, 30, trains at Factory X in Colorado under coach Marc Montoya.
Carlos Junior (10-3, 1 NC) had his five-fight winning streak snapped Saturday night. The former BJJ world champion suffered his first decision loss since 2014. Carlos Junior, 29, is a former The Ultimate Fighter Brazil winner.
Heinisch lights up Carlos Junior with punches in the 2nd
Ian Heinisch connects with strong punches on Antonio Carlos Junior in the 2nd. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
The UFC's featherweight division has a new name to watch.
Spencer upset Anderson with a rear-naked choke finish at 3:24 of the first round on the UFC Rochester main card. Anderson is one of the more popular fighters at women's 145 in the UFC and Spencer was making her UFC debut. Both are former Invicta FC women's featherweight champions.
Spencer took Anderson down and imposed her will, landing ground and pound, taking her back and eventually finished with the choke. It was a dominant performance for "The Feenom."
"Styles make matchups," Spencer said. "I guess I just had her number today."
Spencer (7-0) had spent her entire MMA career in Invicta until this point. This is the Montreal native's third straight rear-naked choke finish. Spencer, 28, asked for a title shot next against champion Amanda Nunes, saying there's not much else to do after beating Anderson in what is a shallow division.
Anderson (9-4) has now lost two of three with a win over Cat Zingano in between. The Australian was once booked for a featherweight title fight against then-champion Cris Cyborg but now has some work to do to get back to that status. Anderson, 29, had not lost via finish since 2015.
Spencer locks Anderson in choke with head punches
Felicia Spencer wraps around Megan Anderson and delivers deadly head shots in their featherweight match. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Krantz started off pressuring Luque, throwing bombs, looking for a slam and attempting to pull off the massive upset. It was a valiant effort but to no avail.
Luque blasted Krantz with a knee in the clinch, followed it with a left hook and then finished on the ground to stop his late-notice opponent by TKO at 3:52 of the first round. Luque was supposed to fight Neil Magny in the co-main event of this card, but Magny failed a USADA drug test and was forced off the card earlier this week.
Luque (16-6-1) has won five in a row, all by finish. The Brazilian, who trains in Florida, ties Charles Oliveira and Gregor Gillespie with the longest active finish streak in the UFC. Luque, 27, is now tied for third among UFC welterweights in finishes (9) with Thiago Alves.
Krantz (24-11) earned a spot in the UFC from Dana White's "Lookin' for a Fight" show. The 31-year-old Texan came in with a four-fight winning streak.
Like many Oliveira fights, there were some wacky moments. A phantom tap. A possible illegal upkick. In the end, though, none of that mattered. Oliveira flattened Lentz with a straight fight hand and finished on the ground with hammerfists to win by TKO at 2:11 of the second round. It was Oliveira's first knockout in 24 UFC fights.
Oliveira nearly finished a guillotine choke minutes earlier with Lentz appearing to tap once, but then continued fighting the submission. Seconds after that, Oliveira landed what looked like an illegal upkick, which he was warned about by referee Todd Anderson. Despite all of that, Oliveira looked excellent in this third fight with Lentz, whom he has now beaten twice (the other fight as a no contest due to an Oliveira illegal knee).
Oliveira (27-8, 1 NC) has won five straight in the lightweight division and is performing as well as he ever as in his nine years with the UFC. The Brazilian has finished all of his opponents during this current winning streak. "Do Bronx" is now tied for the longest active finish streak in the UFC at five with Gregor Gillespie. Oliveira, 29, is tied for second among UFC finishes all time (14) with Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva.
Lentz (30-10-2, 1 NC) was on a two-fight winning streak coming in. The 34-year-old Florida resident had not been finished since his last fight with Oliveira in 2015.
Oliveira dominates Lentz in 2nd round
Charles Oliveira handles Nik Lentz in the 2nd round of their lightweight battle. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Other than a few trying moments in the third round, this fight belonged to Ramos from start to finish. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout controlled the action on the feet, and when he took Hubbard down to the ground, it was Ramos' world. He nearly finished in the first round with a choke and eventually took the unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Ramos (10-2) has now won four in a row and six of seven. The 32-year-old seems ready for a bigger challenge in the UFC's lightweight division. Hubbard (10-3), a 27-year-old UFC newcomer, had won three straight coming in.
Afterward, Ramos called out UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
"The only fight I want to fight now is Khabib," Ramos said. "I've wanted to fight against him for a long time. ... I'm coming. He's the only guy I want to fight."
Ramos stuns Hubbard with punches
Davi Ramos connects with power punches on Austin Hubbard in the 3rd. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
In a wild, back-and-forth battle, Ladd pulled out a unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-28) win over Eubanks. The second round was a huge one for Ladd, who won it 10-8 on two of the cards. Ladd, 24, was able to dominate Eubanks, 34, on the ground, which was surprising given that Eubanks is a high-level, Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Meanwhile, Eubanks nearly finished with a flurry of punches, a takedown and ground and pound at the end of the first round. The final round ended with both women swinging on each other until the bell. It was an exciting bout from bell to bell and a big win for Ladd, a top prospect.
Ladd (8-0) remains undefeated and has finished every single opponent aside from Eubanks, whom she also beat by decision in January 2017 under the Invicta FC banner. The California native, still just 24 years old, is now tied for third among active winning streaks in the women's bantamweight division (3) with Irene Aldana and Germaine de Randamie.
Eubanks (4-3) had her two-fight winning streak snapped. This was the Massachusetts native's debut at 135 pounds in the UFC.
Ladd and Eubanks trade blows in final round
Aspen Ladd and Sijara Eubanks trade punches in final seconds of their fight with Ladd winning by decision. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
In front of a wild hometown crowd chanting his name, Green pulled off a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) victory over the UFC newcomer. The Rochester native controlled the fight from the jump and clinched it in the third round with several big takedowns. In the first, Green was at his most effective, landing well on the feet and giving Jourdain fits with his wrestling and grappling.
"Coming into this fight, he studied him well," Green said afterward. "He was 9-1 with nine finishes. His only loss came to a wrestler. I'd be a fool if I didn't try to expose that, being I'm a wrestler."
Green (23-8) has won two in a row and three of his past four, making a move in the UFC's lightweight division. The 29-year-old "Predator" has gone to decision in nine of his past 10 bouts. Jourdain (9-2) stepped in on short notice in a weight class higher than he normally would fight in. The 23-year-old Canadian had won four straight coming in.
Green lands strong body shots in the 1st
Desmond Green connects with body shots on Charles Jourdain in the 1st. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Pereira came into the UFC known for a viral video in which he was doing backflips off the cage during a bout in South Korea. As it turns out, the Brazilian is really damn good at fighting, too.
The exciting Pereira knocked out Roberts at 1:47 of the first round with a ridiculous jumping knee as Roberts came in, followed by a missile of a right hand. Debuts don't get much better than that.
Pereira (23-9) has won his past three fights, all by knockout. The 25-year-old "Demolidor" has won 10 times by knockout overall. Roberts (16-5), a 31-year-old Englishman, has dropped two straight.
Pereira causes Roberts to stumble with huge punch
Michel Pereira handles Danny Roberts in the 1st round of their welterweight battle. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
In a battle of prospects, Dawson came through in an exciting scrap. The Nebraska native took Trizano down in the second, got mount, then took his back leading to a rear-naked choke finish at 2:27 of the round.
Dawson (13-1), a highly thought of featherweight up-and-comer, has won his first two UFC bouts and is on a five-fight winning streak overall. Dawson, 25, took home his 10th career submission victory with the win. Trizano (8-1) was undefeated coming in, including The Ultimate Fighter 27 crown. The 27-year-old New Jersey native had his moments in the bout, opening up a cut around Dawson's right eye with a stiff jab.
Dawson sweeps Trizano's leg for takedown
Grant Dawson takes out Michael Trizano's leg for a takedown in the 1st. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Cummins was driving forward after apparently rocking Herman. But on the separation from a clinch, Herman landed a big glancing knee to the side of Cummins' head that stunned the former Penn State wrestler. Herman pounced, Cummins turtled and ground-and-pound ended it at 3:39 of the third round. It was Herman's first knockout of any kind since 2011.
Herman (24-14, 1 NC), a 38-year-old Washington native, snapped a three-fight losing skid with the win. Cummins (10-7), a 38-year-old California resident, has lost three straight.
Zak Cummings likely needed a finish heading into the third round. He got it.
The Texas native dropped Giles with a big left hand and then jumped on a guillotine in a scramble. Giles tapped out and just like that, Cummings had a comeback submission win at 4:01 of the third. Earlier in the fight, Giles had opened up a nasty cut over Cummings' right eye, which was the most significant damage until the end.
At 34 years old, Cummings (23-6) has won two in a row and four of his past five in the UFC middleweight division. He has won five times total via choke. Giles (11-1), a hard-hitting, 26-year-old prospect from Texas, had won both of his UFC fights coming in via knockout.
Cummings rebounds in final round
Zak Cummings battles back in the 3rd round to win over Trevin Giles in the middleweight match. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Arce landed a left head kick several times throughout the course of his fight with Erosa. Most of them didn't have much mustard on them. Until the final one.
Arce knocked Erosa out cold at 1:49 of the third round with one of those slick left head kicks. Erosa was wading in, trying to push the action after likely losing the first two rounds. Arce (16-3) made him pay, winning his eighth fight in nine tries. The 29-year-old New York native was coming off a bloody, split decision loss to Sheymon Moraes at UFC 230 in November. Erosa (22-8), a 29-year-old Washington native, has lost three straight.
Arce handles Erosa in 3rd round
Julio Arce takes care of Julian Erosa in the third round of their featherweight match. For more UFC action, sign up for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.