Rafael dos Anjos is experiencing the most beautiful sunset of his career. The fighter is rushing into the title race to finally become the UFC champion again, but the matchmakers turned him into a gatekeeper with no chance of returning to the top 5 of the lightweight division. His opponent, Rafael Fiziev, on the other hand, is taking the lightweight ratings by storm. In case of victory over the Brazilian, he will rise to the 7th line of the rating. Here are our predictions for the main event of UFC Vegas 58.
UFC Vegas 58: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev – Predictions, Best Odds, Analysis
Rafael Dos Anjos Preview
Rafael is a 37-year-old fighter from Brazil. He has been with the UFC since 2008. In 2015, Rafael became the promotion's lightweight champion, defeating Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision. After winning the title, he made 1 successful defense, knocking out Donald Cerrone in the 1st round.
In July 2016, Rafael lost his belt against Eddie Alvarez when he was knocked out. In November of the same year, the Brazilian lost by unanimous decision to Tony Ferguson, realizing that he had finally dropped out of the title race and moved up to welterweight. Rafael went on to fight for the interim title in the new division against Colby Covington, who won by unanimous decision.
Rafael didn’t get more title chances, because after the fight with Colby he had 7 fights: 3 won, 4 lost. Dos Anjos last fought in March 2022. His opponent was Renato Caneiro. Dos Anjos won by unanimous decision.
Raphael is a versatile fighter. On his feet, he relies on boxing skills, punching simple but effective combinations. Behind the jab, Dos Anjos hides his takedowns, behind which are his true strengths: control and BJJ. If the Brazilian is sure that he is in an advantageous position, then he tries to finish the opponent with a submission.
Rafael is already 38 years old and will face his 45th fight in his career. His body is exhausted. The Brazilian no longer always reacts to the blows of his opponents in time and begins to sag in cardio in the championship segments.
Rafael Fiziev Preview
Rafael is a 29-year-old fighter from Kyrgyzstan. He made his UFC debut in April 2019 against Magomed Mustafaev and he lost by knockout in the 1st round.
Fiziev closed the defeat received in the debut with a vigorous series of 5 victories in a row:
• Alex White – victory by unanimous decision;
• Mark Diakiese – win by unanimous decision;
• Renato Moicano – victory by knockout in the 1st round;
• Bobby Green – win by unanimous decision;
• Brad Riddell – 3rd round knockout.
Fiziev's background is in Muay Thai. He throws out inventive combinations, connecting all parts of the body. Rafael actively uses his elbows and knees in his attacks, which increases the destructive power of his combinations. For a lightweight, the fighter hits too hard. 7 out of 11 victories he won by knockouts.
Rafael has yet to face an opponent with dos Anjos's level of wrestling. Yes, he defends well against transfers, but what will he do when he gets under the Brazilian? There is a possibility that the RDA can crush him with passive control.
Dos Anjos vs Fiziev Prediction
Fiziev is a massive favorite in this fight and it is not hard to guess why but it is difficult to predict the outcome of this fight. Rafael Fiziev will have his first 5-round fight in his career against a good wrestler with a black belt in BJJ. Therefore, the huge difference in odds is unjustified.
It will be interesting to see what Fiziev will do if the fight goes into the championship segments, and RDA will, out of habit, dry the fight through clinches and stalls. Considering that Fiziev has already shown drawdowns in cardio in the 3rd round, it is likely that he will be very tired in the final part of the fight.
On the other hand, Rafael dos Anjos can break under pressure in the standing position, and when the opponent gets tired, the Brazilian will run into his good defense against takedowns. The fight will likely remain on the feet, where the former champion is inferior to the opponent in speed and technique.
We assume that the Brazilian will still bet on wrestling and the clinch. But, most likely, he will be able to implement this game plan already in the 2nd half of the fight, because, at the start of the fight, Fiziev will significantly interrupt him.
RDA is a strong and spirited fighter, and his opponent will try to distribute his strength correctly and will not invest in every blow. Therefore, when the Brazilian survives the opponent's initial onslaught, he will be able to gain some control and the fight could even reach the scorecards.
You can find our in-depth analysis and predictions for the entire fight card of the UFC Vegas 58: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev by following this link.