MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC Vegas 58, a five-round lightweight bout between Rafael Fiziev and Rafael dos Anjos. The event takes place on Saturday, July 9 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Rafael Fiziev (-200)
Fiziev (11-1) is the No. 10 ranked lightweight in the UFC. The 29-year-old Kyrgyzstan native is 5-1 overall in the UFC and he has won his last five fights, with knockouts over Brad Riddell and Renato Moicano among those wins. Fiziev is one of the best strikers at 155lbs and he is also a very strong grappler as well. There is a lot to like about him and it feels like he has all of the tools necessary to become of the best lightweights in the world. If he is able to get past dos Anjos in this matchup, then there is a good chance that he could be fast-tracked into the upper echelon of the 155lbs division.
Rafael dos Anjos (+170)
Dos Anjos (31-13) is the No. 7 ranked lightweight in the UFC. The 37-year-old Brazilian is the former UFC lightweight champion and he has been in the UFC for 15 years, fighting and defeating many of the best fighters in the sport throughout the years. He is currently riding a two-fight win streak over Paul Felder and Renato Moicano, showing that he is still at the top of his game. Dos Anjos is a very well-rounded fighter who is dangerous both on the feet and on the ground and he is still one of the best in the world even being one of the oldest fighters in the division. If he is able to get by Fiziev, there would certainly be a very good chance that dos Anjos could get a top-five opponent next.
Fight Breakdown: This should be a great fight between two of the best lightweights in the sport today. Dos Anjos is a former champion and has shown incredible skills in every facet of the game throughout his long UFC career. As for Fiziev, he has shown to be a phenomenal striker who also has surprisingly good wrestling skills as well. Like many of the main events as of late in the UFC, I expect a competitive fight between two well-rounded fighters. However, I am leaning towards Fiziev to get his hand raised. He is the younger fighter by a whopping nine years, and that means he simply hasn’t taken as much damage throughout his MMA career as dos Anjos has. I think for dos Anjos to win, he will have to take this fight to the ground, but I think that will be easier said than done. On the feet, Fiziev is the superior striker with more power as far as I’m concerned. Dos Anjos is tough so he might be able to go the distance, but Fiziev should be able to get his hand raised. He should be the more effective striker throughout the fight and that should guide him to a big victory.
Prediction: Rafael Fiziev