What a whirlwind of a few weeks it has been for UFC 272 co-headliner Rafael dos Anjos.
Originally scheduled to face Rafael Fiziev in the main event of the UFC’s February 19 Fight Night card, visa troubles for Fiziev pushed the bout back. Next, a bout with COVID-19 forced Fiziev from what had become the UFC 272 co-main event entirely.
That led to talk of the long-awaited pairing between RDA and Islam Makhachev finally happening. But with that also falling through, it was Renato Moicano stepping up Saturday to help salvage a card that would apparently succeed or fail based entirely on the interest of the Covington-Masvidal grudge match.
From the very beginning Dos Anjos put it on Moicano with lightning-quick striking and technical takedowns leading to an immense amount of damage. Moicano very bravely continue to stay in the fight but every round was the same with Dos Anjos getting the best of him on the feet then taking him down.
Round 2 was again more of the same with Moicano showing his ability to survive taking big shots, getting dropped and beat up. The takedowns came easy for Dos Anjos who stayed so aggressive in top position that the commentary team and frankly most of the media began to wonder aloud if the fight should be stopped.
In between Rounds 3-4 Moicano’s left eye swelled so badly that ref Marc Goddard asked multiple times for the doctor to take a look. The doctor tested Moicano and was satisfied with the results allowing him to continue. However that did not stop Dos Anjos from continuing to punish his fellow Brazilian with an unstoppable barrage of body kicks, combinations and then takedowns leading to merciless elbows.
In between rounds 4-5 Marc Goddard again asked the doctor to look at Moicano’s eye. The doctor told Goddard that it would be reasonable to stop the fight right then and there, but that Moicano could see. Goddard listened, pondered for a second, then told Moicano that he had 30 seconds to show he still had something left.
Moicano stepped up and delivered in the first 30 seconds of the round and showed an immense amount of heart. Dos Anjos to his credit clearly let off the gas and turned it into a sparring session choosing to just touch Moicano instead of trying to finish him. Moicano survived to make it to the score cards that clearly went Dos Anjos’ way.
For many this was an unnecessary extension of an absolute beating, but for Renato Moicano it was an example of courage and heart in the face of incredible odds. Dos Anjos won the fight, but Moicano won the night, a true Brazilian Rocky movie.
Official Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Renato Moicano by Unanimous Decision (49-45, 49-44, 50-44)