Rafael dos Anjos
MMA Record: 28-9
UFC Record: 17-7
Notable Wins: Anthony Pettis, Robbie Lawler, Neil Magny, Tarec Saffiedine, Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz, Benson Henderson
Notable Losses: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Eddie Alvarez, Tony Ferguson, Jeremy Stephens, Clay Guida
Last Fight: Decision win over Robbie Lawler
Fighter Profile: The former UFC lightweight champion, dos Anjos has put together an amazing UFC career that saw him turn from journeyman into lightweight champion and now into welterweight contender. RDA is an exceptionally well-rounded fighter with really good striking and grappling and he has all the skills necessary to be a champion in this sport. RDA is a tremendous fighter who grew too big for the lightweight division and now he’s proven you don’t have to cut a ton of weight in this sport to be successful as he’s looked amazing since moving up to welterweight, and a win over Covington will earn him his second UFC title in a second divison.
MMA Record: 13-1
UFC Record: 8-1
Notable Wins: Demian Maia, Dong Hyun Kim, Max Griffin, Mike Pyle
Notable Losses: Warlley Alves
Last Fight: Decision win over Demian Maia
Fighter Profile: A standout wrestler, Covington has risen up to the top of the welterweight ranks in part due to his winning streak and in part due to his mouth, as he’s taken the Chael Sonnen approach to the UFC and it’s paid off for him handsomely with an interim welterweight title shot. Covington has shown amazing wrestling so far in the UFC and his striking has been improving as well. We still have yet to see him truly tested, but we will this weekend when he takes on dos Anjos for the chance to be the interim champion.
Fight Breakdown: Another amazing fight on a card full of them, RDA vs. Covington should be an amazing fight that crowns the new interim UFC welterweight champion. RDA has looked amazing since moving up to welterweight and is looking to build on his legacy by winning a second UFC title in a second weight class while Covington has been terrific in the UFC himself with eight wins and just one loss in a fight he was injured in. This isn’t an easy fight to call. RDA is the more well-rounded fighter but Covington has the wrestling advantage in this fight and should also be the bigger fighter here. That being said, the striking advantage is going to be in RDA’s favor in this fight. In my opinion, this fight will ultimately come down to whether or not RDA can stop Covington’s takedowns. So far, RDA has shown great takedown defense at 170lbs and he should be able to stop Covington’s takedowns, especially in a 25-minute fight. Covington hasn’t shown that much finishing ability so unless he gets RDA out of there early I can’t see him holding up over five rounds. RDA has all sorts of championship experience and I think he outlasts Covington to win a decision to win the title.
Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos via decision