No.7 Rafael Dos Anjos vs No.10 Rafael Fiziev at UFC Vegas 58 Fight Night is a big moment for both fighters’ careers. Could a title shot be soon?
Since Charles Oliveria stepped on the scale over the weight limit at his title defense this spring, the UFC lightweight division has been without a champion. Though Oliveira is the top-ranked contender to the belt, another bout between top-five fighters could crown someone else in the meantime, a shift that could have a lingering impact. In this time of uncertainty, it is extremely important to be in one of those five spots.
Throughout this weekend’s card, there is a lot of name familiarity, some by relation, and some not. Nina Nunes on the main card is the spouse of women’s featherweight champion Amanda Nunes, looking to get back into the win column after a pair of losses across the last three years. Though he is of no relation to the UFC Hall of Fame-er Khabib Nurmagomedov, Said Nurmagomedov will still perk up some ears. He’s strung together back-to-back first-round wins in the Octagon, including a submission of Cody Stamann at UFC 270 in January.
Antonina Shevchenko’s name pops on the preliminary card. She is the older sister of Valentina Shevchenko, the top women’s pound-for-pound fighter, and is set to give her bout against Cortney Casey another try after suffering an injury in April that caused them to reschedule. Of course, then you have others on the card who are making names for themselves in the UFC, like Caio Borralho, Michael Johnson, Jamie Mullarkey, and Cody Brundage.
Main Event Preview
Saturday’s main event is a rescheduling of the UFC Vegas 48 headliner from February that was canceled due to Fiziev (11-1-0) testing positive for COVID. Riding a five-fight winning streak, Fiziev has been on a tear through the lightweight since losing his UFC debut in 2019. He’s earned KO/TKO victories in two of his last three contests, including a first-round finish of Renato Moicano at UFC 256. He now faces a tough test in the veteran Dos Anjos (31-13-0) who has shared the Octagon with some of the division’s greatest.
Dos Anjos’ resume reads like a Hall of Fame ballot, featuring Khabib Nurmagomedov, Robbie Lawler, Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz, and Tony Ferguson, just to name a few. Now, at 37 years old, he is in a position to make at least one last push for UFC gold. Physically, he matches up well will Fiziev, but age is certainly a factor, with an eight-year difference between the two fighters.
Stylistically, it is an interesting bout, as Dos Anjos is better on the ground, which could counter the power of Fiziev. Fight fans saw a similar kind of matchup in June at UFC 275 when Jiri Prochaska and Glover Teixeira battled for the light heavyweight title. With seconds left, Prochaska got the victory at that one. Will youth once again prevail?
Fight Card & Odds
#7 Rafael Dos Anjos (+180) vs #10 Rafael Fiziev (-210) – Lightweight
Caio Borralho (-225) vs Armen Petrosyan (+190) – Middleweight
Douglas Silva de Andrade (+275) vs Said Nurmagomedov (-330) – Bantamweight
Jared Vanderaa (-195) vs Chase Sherman (+165) – Heavyweight