UFC Superstar Rafael Dos Anjos from the Evolve Fight Team is going for a historic second world title in as many weight classes, when he takes on the highly-controversial Colby “Chaos” Covington at UFC 225 this Saturday, June 9 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The fight will be for the UFC interim welterweight world championship.
The 33-year-old veteran enjoyed a career resurgence after having moved up to welterweight last June, railing off three impressive victories in a row over top caliber opposition.
After spending his whole UFC career competing in the lightweight division, Dos Anjos took some time off last year to reevaluate his career and then reemerged at welterweight against Tarec Saffiedine, winning by unanimous decision. To prove his move up in weight wasn’t a fluke, Dos Anjos defeated the highly-regarded Neil Magny, and then former UFC welterweight champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler last December — his biggest most significant victory yet.
This time, Dos Anjos is going for gold against Covington, and he’s looking mighty ready and confident to make history.
Before he steps back into the octagon to compete for the welterweight belt, let’s take a look at the three performances that brought Dos Anjos to this point.
1) Dos Anjos beats Tarec Saffiedine
In his first fight in his new division, Dos Anjos showcased a newfound energy and bounce to his step when he took on former top welterweight contender Tarec Saffiedine in June 2017.
Although Saffiedine put up a tremendous effort, Dos Anjos was laser-focused on getting the victory and sending a message to the rest of the division.
After citing incredible difficulty making the lightweight limit, Dos Anjos made a surprising move to welterweight that no one saw coming. While it certainly felt like the right move for him, most critics were worried that Dos Anjos would be too small a welterweight to compete against the division’s top contenders. With his performance over Saffiedine however, Dos Anjos proved he could do more than just compete.
Dos Anjos was relentless with his attacks, moving forward for three whole rounds while never letting Saffiedine get into a rhythm. All three judges awarded Dos Anjos and his intense work rate in the end, as the Brazilian walked away with a near shutout unanimous decision for his efforts.
2) Dos Anjos submits Neil Magny with a first-round Arm Triangle Choke
Taking on a dangerous opponent and one of the top welterweight talents in the UFC, Dos Anjos was expected to meet his match against Neil Magny, who many experts predicted would prove Dos Anjos just doesn’t belong in the division. Instead, Dos Anjos absolutely steamrolled through Magny, finishing the 30-year-old off via first-round Arm Triangle Choke.
Magny would, as predicted, start out very quickly in hopes of rattling the former lightweight. But Dos Anjos would unload a vicious low leg kick that swept Magny off the floor, and the Brazilian would swiftly secure top position. As Magny tried to scramble to escape, Dos Anjos would step over from side control into mount, trapping Magny’s left arm in the process. The Brazilian dynamo gladly followed through on the arm-triangle shortly after.
It was Dos Anjos’ second straight victory at welterweight, and people were starting to take notice. Those who watched closely could see glimpses of Dos Anjos’ brilliance in the division, and it would certainly show in his next bout.
3) Dos Anjos dominates former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler
In a performance that earned him a shot at the UFC interim welterweight title, Dos Anjos took on former champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler last December, and went to absolute war with the tough American veteran.
It was a superb showing from Dos Anjos, who utilized a tremendous amount of leg kicks to stifle Lawler for five whole rounds. Thunderous body shots also landed clean and often, as Dos Anjos traded shot for shot with Lawler from start to finish. Although Lawler remained dangerous with his power all throughout, Dos Anjos largely avoided many of his opponent’s big punches.
Furthermore, Dos Anjos’ insane cardio was more than enough to keep a frenetic and deliberate pace against Lawler, who just couldn’t keep up.
In the end, all three judges saw the bout in favor of Dos Anjos to win by unanimous decision.
This weekend, Dos Anjos takes on Colby Covington for the interim title. The winner will eventually go on to unify the titles against reigning UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley.