The UFC returns to our screens for another talent-stacked fight card from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Top-ranked lightweight contenders Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev will meet in the center of the octagon for next weekend’s main event.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev
UFC Lightweight Main Event Bout
Saturday, July 09, 2022 – 09:00 PM EDT at UFC Apex
Rafael dos Anjos: Fighter Analysis
- Record: 31-13-0
The former UFC lightweight champion and current No.8 ranked 155lb mixed martial artist on the planet returns to the octagon next week to further etch his legacy in the UFC history books. Brazil’s Rafael dos Anjos was initially scheduled to face Rafael Fiziev on two occasions earlier this year and has since added another victory to the resume over a late replacement in Renato Moicano.
Prior to dominating the UFC opposition for fourteen years, Dos Anjos was grinding as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, boasting a 4th-degree black belt in the sport. Following his transition to MMA in 2004, he’s consistently evolved to become one of the UFC’s most recognizable athletes with a well-rounded skillset.
Behind 18 years of professional MMA experience, a UFC lightweight title, and 31 UFC bouts on his record, Dos Anjos has already entered a Hall of Fame status as he continues to display his capabilities into the latter stage of his career.
Rafael dos Anjos MMA Accomplishments
- UFC Lightweight Champion (one time, one defense)
- UFC Performance of the Night (four times)
- UFC Fight of the Night (three times)
- UFC Submission of the Night (one time)
- Most unanimous decision wins in UFC history (11)
Rafael dos Anjos Best Available Odds: +170 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)
Rafael Fiziev: Fighter Analysis
- Record: 11-1-0
Compared to his Fight Night Vegas 58 opponent, Fiziev’s experience and time in the sport are minuscule. However, since turning professional in 2015, his former muay thai/kickboxing background that boasts 47 pro bouts has evidently assisted his MMA success. The Kazakhstan native has compiled a 5-1 record since joining the UFC in 2019 that has fast-tracked his status to the top of the division.
Fiziev stems from a martial arts background that includes combat sambo, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and several other combat sports. To say he possesses a diverse skill set is an understatement, and although a 12-fight pro-MMA record doesn’t seem threatening, you can’t neglect his 47 professional muay thai/kickboxing bouts.
Aged 29 years old, it could be argued that Fiziev has yet to enter his prime fighting years, and this should be a worry for fellow lightweight contenders.
Rafael Fiziev MMA Accomplishments
- UFC Fight of the Night (two times)
- UFC Performance of the Night (two times)
- Kyrgyzstan Muay Thai Champion (2007, 2008, and 2009)
Rafael Fiziev Best Available Odds: -200 at BetOnline
UFC Vegas 58: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev Breakdown
Dos Anjos Style and How Can He Defeat Fiziev?
Vicious leg kicks, sniper-like jabs, and bone-crunching body kicks stemming from RDA’s southpaw stance were once feared amongst UFC lightweights. However, age is undoubtedly catching up with the former champ, and his game plan to deter the youth and speed of Fiziev should fall back on his grappling chops.
With that said, older age isn’t always a negative, as the experience and fight knowledge RDA has collected over the years can not be taught. And we know this approach is viable, as witnessed in the Brazilian’s previous two wins over Moicano and Paul Felder.
RDA’s most significant path to success versus Fiziev will be to make use of his grappling and jiu-jitsu offenses, strictly because he doesn’t possess the striking tempo he used to own once upon a time. Whether he can easily ground Fiziev or not, however, is another question entirely.
Fiziev Fight Style and How Can He Defeat Dos Anjos?
While I believe RDA needs to utilize his grappling prowess, you should already know how Fiziev will give himself the best chance of victory, and that’s by primarily focussing on his lethal striking output.
A striking prowess that’s assisted him in obtaining countless muay thai championships has been the story of his UFC tenure thus far, and we shouldn’t expect anything different.
The speed and velocity of Fiziev’s striking output will be too much for RDA to overcome on the judges’ scorecards, and the potential of a knockout in a 5-round bout is significantly raised.
Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev: Betting Odds and Prediction
The best sportsbooks and betting sites at Bookmakers Review favor the younger, more impressive striker in Fiziev. However, because we’ve yet to see Fiziev tackle a skilled grappler outside of Renato Moicano, I’m struggling to put 100% belief in his ability to avoid the takedown attempts of Dos Anjos.
For the reasons above, the Over 2 ½ rounds is an appealing position. Unfortunately, the betting odds haven’t been set at the time of writing, but I predict the odds will sit around the -200 mark.
To further support the Over, Dos Anjos has been stopped inside the distance on a mere two occasions throughout the 44 professional bouts he’s participated in. If Fiziev finds the finish, I expect it to occur in the championship rounds.
UFC Pick: Over 2 ½ Rounds [Odds TBD]
*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.