After visa and COVID delays, fans will finally see Rafael Fiziev take on former Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos. Both fighters are coming off wins, Fiziev with a knockout of Brad Riddell and dos Anjos in a one-sided decision over Renato Moicano.
We must begin by acknowledging Rafael dos Anjos has arguably the toughest strength of schedule in his UFC tenure. Between his time at Lightweight and Welterweight he has fought names like Khabib, Nate Diaz, Pettis, Lawler, Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman to name a few.
Dos Anjos has a pressure style of fighting with powerful kicks and dominant grappling. He uses his striking volume to perfectly time his takedowns. His strength and forward pressure enable him to get his opponents against the fence allowing him to bring them to the mat. From there he proceeds to control his opponents and land vicious ground and pound.
Fiziev employs excellent Muay Thai striking that he’s adapted to MMA. He has both fought and now coaches at Tiger Muay Thai, a premier camp in Thailand, also training with Sanford MMA. He has some of the hardest kicks at Lightweight which he delivers to the legs and body. His strength and explosiveness make him difficult to counter or takedown. His athleticism allows him to employ spinning attacks and good head movement.
Both are pressure fighters that keep their opponents on the back foot. Dos Anjos has great striking but the stand-up advantage is Fiziev’s. In his five UFC wins Fiziev has shown that he is on another level in the striking department. The grappling advantage is dos Anjos’ who is a 4th degree BJJ black belt. The difficulty will be getting Fiziev to the mat. Fiziev has shown effective takedown defense and physical strength. Dos Anjos is also known for physical strength, but we will see if age is a factor with Fiziev eight years younger. Fiziev’s path to victory will be to stay standing while dos Anjos should look to bring his opponent to the mat.
This weekend’s main event will be an exciting bout that pits experience against athleticism. Fiziev may be the betting favorite, but dos Anjos is always dangerous and can drag a fight into deep waters. This main event will be worth the wait after the previous delays. The preliminary card begins Saturday 6pm EST on ESPN2/ESPN+, with the main card at 9pm EST on ESPN/ESPN+.