On Thursday, July 7, UFC Lightweight World Champion Rafael Dos Anjos defends his title for the second time against former two-time Bellator Lightweight World Champion Eddie Alvarez at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena for UFC Fight Night 90.
Currently on a 5 fight winning streak, Dos Anjos hopes to keep the momentum going with this bout. His spectacular performance against Donald Cerrone last December solidified his name as one of the best lightweights in the history of the UFC. In just 1:06 minutes into the first round, the referee put a stop to the fight due to the devastating striking clinic Dos Anjos put on Cerrone.
As a fighter with an impressive 25-7 record, Dos Anjos has drastically improved his striking and wrestling skills in the past few years. Training Muay Thai with the World Champions from the Evolve MMA Fight Team, striking with former Chuteboxe coach Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA, and wrestling with the Church Boyz at Cavalry Chapel, has certainly expanded Dos Anjos’ arsenal of weapons.
Today, Evolve Daily reveals the world-class techniques that have helped Dos Anjos take his MMA skills to the next level. Here are UFC Lightweight World Champion Rafael Dos Anjos’ Winning Moves:
1) Takedowns to Ground And Pound
In his fight against Anthony Pettis, Dos Anjos was able to take down the former Lightweight Champion 9 times, despite being the underdog of the fight. Throughout his bout with Pettis, Dos Anjos maintained constant pressure, making it difficult for Pettis to stand up and recover. Before facing Pettis, Dos Anjos had to get through Nate Diaz. Although Dos Anjos won the fight via decision, he was the clear winner — landing severe leg kicks and scoring two takedowns where he managed to lay some massive damage with his ground and pound.
2) Superman punch with flying knee
In his fight with former UFC Lightweight World Champion Benson Anderson, Dos Anjos was once again the underdog. The much larger Henderson was favored to win, coming out of a submission victory against Rustam Khabilov. Henderson’s deadly leg kicks were supposed to be Dos Anjos’ demise, but Dos Anjos managed to pull through. Once Dos Anjos had Anderson on the fence, he attacked him with a beautiful jumping knee, followed by a left hook that ended the fight.
3) Muay Thai striking combination
Rafael Dos Anjos’ first fight against Donald Cerrone was very close, with Dos Anjos winning by a small margin. The second time the two fighters met in the cage, Cerrone was confident that he would be able to dethrone the Lightweight Champion based on their last fight. Unfortunately for Cerrone, the moment he touched gloves with Dos Anjos, Dos Anjos immediately advanced forward and wasted no time in displaying his deadly striking. In just 1:06 of the first round, he was able to knockout Cerrone with a flurry of punches.
4) Armlock to armbar
Although Dos Anjos has gained recognition for his striking, we musn’t forget that Dos Anjos was once a BJJ Mundials World Champion. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Dos Anjos used his grappling skills against Terry Etim in UFC 112: Invincible, finishing Etim with an armbar. In this video, Dos Anjos shows a transition from the keylock to an armbar, the very same submission chain he used against Etim.
5) Elbow KO Setup
Dos Anjos came into his fight with Pettis as the underdog. Many people were rooting for Pettis, who, at the time, was on a 5 fight winning streak. Fans were impressed with Pettis’ striking, especially his kicks. In fact, Pettis had knocked out both Cerrone and and Joe Lauzon with his deadly kicks. However, that night, Dos Anjos set out to prove himself. Dos Anjos dominated the fight, on both the ground and on his feet. Although he wasn’t able to knock Pettis out, he certainly proved that he deserved the Lightweight belt.
In this video, Dos Anjos shows how to set up an elbow strike from a closed guard pass. After one of 9 successful takedown attempts, Pettis pulls closed guard to regain control. Unfortunately for Pettis, Dos Anjos uses his closed guard to set up a pass into a vicious, close range elbow to the face. As Pettis sits up to prevent the guard break, Dos Anjos closes the distance and uses momentum to deliver a deadly elbow.
Although Alvarez has been brushing up on his striking skills with Frankie Edgar’s striking coach Mark Henry, he has yet to prove that he is on par with Dos Anjos. Coming off two split decision wins both via points from takedowns, it seems that it will take more than a new striking coach for Alvarez to become the first Bellator champion to win a UFC title. Come Thursday, there’s no doubt that Dos Anjos will continue to prove why the title should rightfully remain in his possession.