In his third outing in the welterweight division, Michael Chiesa continued to impress, this time dispatching a former champ and welterweight title challenger in Rafael dos Anjo.
At one time, Michael Chiesa vs. Rafael dos Anjos would have been a compelling fight in the lightweight division. As the UFC Raleigh co-main event, it was an equally compelling welterweight contest.
Both men had made the move up the welterweight in recent years, former champ RDA transitioning first. Chiesa finally pulled the trigger in 2019, and won his first two bouts in the weight class, against Diego Sanchez and Carlos Condit. RDA represented his third outing at 170lbs.
RDA took center and Chiesa circled outside to start out Saturday night. RDA stuck with him and the two briefly exchanged, with Chiesa still circling outside before RDA landed. Chiesa rushed forward and ate a few shots but he drove RDA into the cage, eventually taking his back and getting a hook in. Chiesa dragged RDA to the mat while he secured the second hook and started to flatten the former lightweight champ out. Chiesa locked in the body triangle and worked from RDA’s back for the choke. RDA looked to spin out but Chiesa ended up on top and when RDA looked to explode up Chiesa stuck on him and kept side control. Then quickly looked to move to RDA’s back again. RDA exploded and got back to his feet, found separation and looked to engage again. RDA threw a left that Chiesa ducked under. “Maverick” then landed the take down but RDA popped back to his feet, however Chiesa had his back as the round ended.
In the second, Chiesa landed a pair of jabs before he went for the body lock. Chiesa went for the take down but RDA defended. Chiesa got the clinch again and worked from inside but RDA spun it around and looked to get his own take down. Chiesa escaped and RDA fired off a leg kick that just missed. Chiesa fired off a pair of kicks and RDA fired back with straight right. Chiesa shot the take down and brought RDA to the mat, but he was quick to work back to a knee. Chiesa stuck with him and looked to take his back, but RDA defended and spun to his back, only for Chiesa to reverse the position again to take his back as the horn sounded to end the action.
Chiesa opened up with the jab in the third, then moved in for the clinch and worked for the trip. Chiesa landed the trip and worked from half guard. RDA looked to sweep then he briefly looked for a leg submission but Chiesa saw it and defended. Chiesa worked a Kimura from top but RDA slipped free then looked for a heel hook. Chiesa worked to escape the danger and two men remained locked together. Chiesa got free and dove back on top of RDA, this time he worked from full guard where he landed punches to the body and head. RDA shot back with elbows from the bottom then exploded as he looked for another leg lock, but Chiesa saw it and defended, he remained on top and worked the body. The round came to a close, and the winner was clear. Another strong 170lb performance from Michael Chiesa.
Post-fight Chiesa cut his interview short, calling out Colby Covington. “I’ll see you in July!” he said before making his exit.
Official Result: Michael Chiesa def. Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)