Former 155lb champion Rafael dos Anjos, who has been plying his trade as a welterweight in recent years, is set to return to the UFC’s lightweight division.
The Brazilian will meet Islam Makhachev in his return at UFC 254, which is expected to take place in October. Sources confirmed the booking to Cageside Press following an initial report from BJPenn.com.
dos Anjos (29-13) last competed in January, where he lost a unanimous decision to former lightweight Michael Chiesa. That was the second straight loss for the ex-champ, who has won just one of his last five bouts.
RDA’s level of competition of late, however, has consistently been at the highest level. His other losses have come to Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, and Leon Edwards — in other words, the champion, and two of the top contenders at 170lbs. His most recent win came over Kevin Lee at UFC Rochester last year.
Makhachev (18-1) has won six straight fights inside the octagon. A member of champ Khabib Nurmagomedov’s inner circle, the American Kickboxing Academy fighter will be facing his highest-profile opponent to date when he takes on dos Anjos.
UFC 254 is expected to take place on October 24, 2020 at a location yet to be announced. The card will be headlined by current lightweight champion Nurmagomedov taking on interim champion Justin Gaethje to unify the belts.