This past weekend in the main event of UFC Vegas 58, we saw a pivotal matchup in the lightweight division. Former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (31-14) was trying to make it 3-0 since returning to 155 when he took on Rafael Fiziev (12-1).
Heading into this fight, I thought the cardio and championship experience would really play for RDA. I also thought his ability to mix in the grappling would really help him out. Admittedly, something I underestimated was Rafael Fiziev’s takedown defense.
Yes, his takedown defense was 95% heading into the fight, but he hadn’t really fought someone like RDA. All night long, Dos Anjos struggled to get Fiziev down. On the feet, the former UFC champion held his own, but Fiziev was landing the bigger shots.
The fight was decently close heading into the main event rounds. RDA made a statement in the fourth round with a huge takedown. Two judges had Fiziev up 3-1 and one judge had it tied entering the final frame. In all transparency, I had the UFC Vegas 58 headliner tied.
RDA had all the momentum entering the fifth, but Fiziev shut it down quickly. With a flurry in the first 20 seconds, Fiziev put RDA down. Two follow up shots later caused a stop in the action and Fiziev picked up the TKO win.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 58?
This is a tough loss for RDA as he was trying to make one more run up towards the title. Dos Anjos looked great, but the former UFC champion is getting up there in age and now he’s suffered a big setback in this climb up the mountain.
With this loss, who should we be looking at as potential opponents. In looking at the rankings, there’s one name that really stands out to me and that’s Tony Ferguson. RDA and Ferguson fought just after Dos Anjos lost the title to Eddie Alvarez.
Ferguson got the better of the first fight. However, the two former UFC champions are both getting up there in age and they are both coming off losses. Perhaps now is the perfect time to run it back.