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Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev Off Due to COVID Protocols

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The much-anticipated bout between former UFC lightweight champion and 170lb title challenger Rafael dos Anjos (30-13-0, 19-11-0 UFC), and rising phenom Rafael Fiziev (11-1-0, 5-1-0 UFC) has been called off again after Fiziev tested positive for COVID-19, as reported by Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

The fight, which was originally scheduled for February 19, but pulled earlier that week after Fiziev had U.S. visa issues, was scheduled for five rounds as the co-main event of UFC 272. That event will be headlined by Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington and Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal at the T-Mobile Arena in the Fight Capital of the World on March 5th.

Chaos at 155 Pounds

It remains unclear whether the UFC will aim to find RDA a late replacement fight, although dos Anjos said immediately after news broke that he’s “down” to fight Dagestani native and prize pupil of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev who is fresh of a dominant first-round TKO through mounted ground and pound over last-minute replacement Bobby ‘King’ Green on Saturday night.

Kevin Holland has also offered to fight RDA at 170lbs, about an hour after his already scheduled fight ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira, per his Twitter. Arman Tsarukyan is also allegedly in talks to step in on short notice. Renato Moicano is the latest to put his hat in the ring to replace Fiziev, coming off an impressive second-round rear-naked choke win over Alexander Hernandez at UFC 271.

A lot has been said recently on RDA’s activity in the Octagon over the last two years, fighting only once since January 2020, especially given RDA’s age. The odds-makers have RDA opening at +195 ML. Fiziev, on the other hand, has been unstoppable, winning four fights in the last two years, earning either a FOTN or a POTN bonus.

Paul Felder is also back on the stationary bike, asking “How many days this time?” on Twitter, hinting that he would come out of retirement to fight RDA on short-notice. Felder previously filled in for Islam in November 2020 on six days notice.

For many, there is no other choice than Islam Makhachev. What better way to secure his spot as the #1 contender to the winner of Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje than stepping in to fight one of the baddest men in the division on five days’ notice?

A wise man once said, “Fear the old man in the sport where men die young,” and one can’t help but think that it would be the perfect mindset for RDA vs Makhachev. That being said, Islam has the skills to answer this big test.

Which way will it go this weekend?


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Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images

Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images

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