UFC Fight Night Orlando Co-Main Event Prediction: Former Lightweight Champion Welcomes Octagon Slugger

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Rafael Dos Anjos (top) of Brazil grapples with Rafael Fiziev of Kazakhstan in their lightweight fight during UFC 272. David Becker/Getty Images/AFP

The UFC returns with a fight card holding multiple contests worthy of pay-per-view status. Our co-main event picks are primed and ready to cash as we countdown the days until UFC on ESPN this Saturday.

This UFC’s former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos will take another stab in the welterweight division and face a formidable opponent in Bryan Barberena.

Read on for our complete betting guide taking a first look at this weekend’s co-main event clash between Dos Anjos and Barberena, including the updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC on ESPN: Thompson vs. Holland betting picks, predictions and analysis.


Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Bryan Barberena

UFC on ESPN Welterweight Co-Main Event Bout

Saturday, December 3, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Amway Center

Rafael Dos Anjos

  • Pro MMA Record: (31-14-0) (5 KOs, 10 submissions, 16 decisions)
  • UFC Record (20-12, 4 KO, 4 submissions, 12 decisions)
  • Age: 38
  • Height: 5'8"
  • Reach: 70.0"
  • Training Out Of: Evolve MMA/Team RDA
  • Origin Fighting Style: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Many top-level Brazilians have walked into the octagon and represented the UFC banner since the promotion's birth in the 1990s. Still, few can claim the longevity and loyalty that Rafael Dos Anjos has presented during his professional MMA career.

As the former UFC lightweight champion, RDA has already reached the pinnacle of the sport and accomplished the dream that 90% of fighters can never achieve. But more notably, the Brazilian star has a competitive resume that has proved his willingness to fight anytime, anyone, and anywhere.

Rafael Dos Anjos: A True UFC Veteran

Fourteen years and 32 UFC bouts later, RDA has amassed the second-most total fight time in UFC history (7 hours, 53 minutes, and 29 seconds). This makes him the second-most experienced UFC fighter ever, and despite being 38 years old, his veteran skillset is still one of the most trustworthy when it comes to fighting a lower level of competition.

Cerrone, Felder, Chiesa, Edwards, Usman, Covington, Khabib, Lawler, Ferguson, Diaz, Alvarez – Dos Anjos has fought the best of the best. And considering the championship caliber of opposition he’s faced, he’s wearing his father time very well and displaying elite skills without hesitance 14 years following his debut.

Rafael Dos Anjos Best Available Odds: -450 at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)


Bryan Barberena

  • Pro MMA Record: (18-8-0) (8 KOs, 4 submissions, 5 decisions)
  • UFC Record: (9-6-0) (4 KOs, 1 submission, 4 decisions)
  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6'0"
  • Reach: 72.0"
  • Training Out Of: MMA Lab
  • Origin Fighting Style: MMA

As a lifetime team member of the MMA Lab in Arizona, Bryan Barberena is no stranger to a fight himself. While he doesn’t own the same extensive experience as his weekend opponent, he’s undoubtedly been through the wringer of elite opponents since joining the company in 2014.

Barberena is now entering the prime fighting years of his career and is notably riding the first three-fight win streak of his UFC tenure. With success over Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler in his previous two bouts, he’ll look to knock off another legend and former champion in RDA.

He isn’t the most technical fighter; he doesn’t boast a pretty skillset nor presents any championship accolades. However, Barberena has earned MMA critics' respect for being a fighter who leaves it all in the octagon.

Bryan Barberena Best Available Odds: +385 at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)


UFC on ESPN: Dos Anjos vs. Barberena Breakdown & Analysis

Dos Anjos Fight Style & How Can Dos Anjos Beat Barberena?

In fourteen years of competing in the UFC, just two men have been able to stop Dos Anjos via KO/TKO. Can Barberena be the third? Let us ask if Barberena’s hand survives the titanium-infused metal in RDA’s jaw, which the Brazilian has claimed to have broken the hands of his past opponents – the term ‘steel jaw’ is literal for the former champ.

Satirical analogy’s aside; Dos Anjos avoids dangerous strikers with a high fight IQ and defensive awareness in the octagon. Styles make fights, and it usually takes a technical mastermind – such as Rafael Fiziev – to overcome the aging Brazilian.

RDA can strike, grapple, clinch, and utilize his BJJ black belt. He owns an elite skillset. Despite aging, he hasn’t shown too many signs of slowing down.

Barberena Fight Style & How Can Barberena Beat Dos Anjos?

Barberena will be forced to turn this bout into a dog fight, a place in the octagon where he strives. As previously mentioned, he isn’t the most technical of fighters, but he’s delivered decisions, and KO/TKO wins through a willingness to fight behind a gas tank that doesn’t seem to slow down very often.

Make RDA fight like it's in a bar, and Barberena can win this bout. However, a technical exchange on the feet or a grappling contest will favor the former 155lb titleholder.


The Betting Pick

The available odds at the sportsbooks slightly favor Dos Anjos, but a -450 betting line is absurd. With that said, I understand the juice because RDA hasn’t lost to an unranked fighter since 2009.

It’s difficult to wager 4.5 units and expect this approach to assist our long-term bankroll. This is MMA, and betting these prices will backfire eventually. Although I expect RDA to dominate, the moneyline odds are unapproachable, so we must look toward the total.

Barberena has enough jiu-jitsu defense and overall durability to avoid being stopped via KO/TKO or submission. And when we consider the numerous times each fighter has gone the distance in the past, the over 2.5 rounds at -185 is a much more decent price compared to the moneyline odds.

UFC Pick: Over 2.5 Rounds (-185) [1.85u to win 1u] at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Over 2.5 Rounds (-185)
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UFC on ESPN Main Card & Odds

UFC on ESPN Preliminary Card & Odds

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.