Martial arts is full of great underdog stories. Nothing inspires more than a martial artist who has defied all odds and risen to glory through sheer heart and willpower. Last night, Rafael Dos Anjos seemed to walk straight out of a Rocky movie, proving that anything is possible if you believe in yourself enough.
Evolve Fight Team member and UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos was never meant to make it this far. Forever being looked over and dismissed, all Dos Anjos wanted to do was to bring glory to the Evolve MMA name and prove that he could become a champion. Dos Anjos was a 4 to 1 underdog by the oddsmakers by the day of the fight. The odds were in Anthony “Showtime” Pettis’s favor – he was the current champion and known for knocking out his opponents with a single leg kick. In fact, in the post-fight conference, Dos Anjos admitted that he fought with a knee injury that he had acquired three weeks before the fight. Injured, and the underdog, all Dos Anjos had was 100% heart and courage, and most of all, belief that he could achieve anything he wanted.
Throughout the week, social media was abuzz about how Pettis was going to dominate as usual. “He’s just never fought someone like me,” Pettis said in an interview. “I feel like Dos Anjos is a good fighter, and there’s a lot of good fighters in the lightweight division, but I’m a great fighter, and that’s the difference between us two.”
After watching what happened in UFC 185, it became clear who the better fighter was. All throughout the five rounds, Dos Anjos dominated Pettis – constantly landing beautiful strikes, knees and elbows. He also managed to execute 9 out of 10 takedown attempts. Dos Anjos followed the game plan to a T, maintaining constant pressure from the moment the bell sounded.
Although Pettis survived all five rounds and managed to land a few strikes and kicks, there’s no doubt that he was completely outclassed by Dos Anjos in this fight. With the judges’ decision, Dos Anjos is now the first Brazilian Lightweight Champion in the history of the UFC, making Evolve MMA the first fight team in Asia to produce a UFC champion.
His tremendous belief in himself and his abilities shows. In an interview before his fight, Dos Anjos commented, “I am very excited to be the first lightweight champion from Brazil. The belt has a date to be mine and that will be Saturday. It’s in God’s hands. It does not bother me to be an underdog. I am an underdog in most of my fights. Maybe it is a good thing for me, he has all the pressure.”
What Rafael Dos Anjos did in the cage last night is a shining example of what makes martial arts, especially mixed martial arts, a true test of one’s spirit. Anyone is capable of pulling an upset. You just have to believe in yourself enough to do it.
Evolve Daily would like to extend our sincerest congratulations to Rafael Dos Anjos on his amazing win last Saturday — he is truly an inspiration to us all!