Las Vegas, NV – Another main event slot for former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos who takes on Rafael Fiziev at UFC Vegas 58 on Saturday night.
“Here I am, I think it’s my 11th main event, and just feel blessed for it,” dos Anjos told Cageside Press among other media on Thursday.
After defeating Paul Felder in Nov 2020 dos Anjos dealt with a 16-month layoff which he snapped when he beat Renato Carneiro at UFC 272. Staying busy is important to the former champion in his quest to regain the title.
“I had a 16-month layoff which was very unusual to me specially coming off two bad injuries. I just want to stay active, fighting more often, providing for my family, move down to Brazil, move back to Rio, and just got to stay busy and produce more,” said dos Anjos.
Fiziev (11-1) brings a different style matchup than what dos Anjos has faced before.
“It’s always a challenge. He’s a tough guy tough fighter. We didn’t get to see much of his ground game and his wrestling skills, but I’m sure he’s got some. Guys from east Europe they’re always tough. Mentally tough and physically tough, stronger,” dos Anjos said.
“I think I’ve never been so ready in my whole life since I moved to Brazil. It’s been a new air, breathing new air there, and refresh my career a little bit. I feel in great spirits and great shape too.”
Dos Anjos is know to have high-level striking and has showcased that since back in his days as champion, but he’s got very high-level grappling as well. Fiziev is known for his striking, and dos Anjos looks to test that when they fight Saturday.
“The fight starts standing. It’s on me I like to fight standing I don’t care. It is an MMA fight. I’m going to test his skills I’m going to test his will. I know he’s going to come strong in the first and second round, but I know what I have to do to beat him,” the former champion said.
Dos Anjos remains a fan favorite with his style and the names that he’s beaten. The BMF belt may officially reside in Miami with welterweight Jorge Masvidal, but there are fans who say dos Anjos should be mentioned in the same sentence as the BMF title.
“It’s hard to talk about myself, but that’s what the fans said. That I fought everybody in two divisions. I’ve been in the UFC for 14-years, and I’ve never backed out from a fight. I always sign and agree to fight against the best guys, and I went the distance with them. Champions like (Kamaru) Usman, Khabib (Nurmagomedov, Colby (Covington). I fell short, but I went the distance with all these big guys. Here I am,” dos Anjos said.
“I’ll be 37 in October. I feel in great shape, but it’s hard to talk about myself. If the fans think I can be considered a BMF too I’m ok with that.”
Ultimately the goal is to return to the top, fight for and win the belt. Dos Anjos is very aware of the title picture at 155-pounds with a vacant belt and a #7 ranking.
“That’s my goal. Come here, make a big statement, and throw my name out there on the title contention. All the guys that are ahead of me they come from a loss or they have a loss to the champion already, besides Islam (Makhachev). He’s never beat a top-10 guy. He’s supposed to fight Beneil (Dariush) like Dana said, but maybe things going to change,” dos Anjos said.
“I want my name to be on the title contention.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 58 media day appearance by Rafael dos Anjos above. The event takes place this Saturday, July 9, 2022 at the Apex in Las Vegas.