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UFC Vegas 58: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev Preview and Prediction

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After a successful International Fight Week over the Independence Day holiday weekend, MMA‘s top promotion, the UFC, returns to the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas once again this Saturday night for another UFC Fight Night and the UFC Vegas 58 main event.

Live coverage of this week’s card begins on ESPN and ESPN+ with the undercard at 6 pm ET/ 3 pm PT, followed by main card action at 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT.

UFC Vegas 58 will be the last UFC Fight Night held at the UFC Apex for the next several weeks as the promotion returns to the road beginning a week from Saturday with UFC on ABC 3. The UFC will return to the Apex on Saturday, Aug. 6 with UFC Vegas 59, highlighted by a light heavyweight fixture between Thiago Santos and Jamahal Hill.

Barring anything unforeseen between now and Saturday night, UFC Vegas 58 will feature a 12-fight card, culminating in a lightweight contest in the UFC Vegas 58 main event.

Top-10 Showdown at Lightweight in UFC Vegas 58 Main Event on Saturday

No. 7 contender Rafael dos Anjos (31-13 MMA, 20-11 UFC) will meet No. 10 contender Rafael Fiziev (11-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) on Saturday night in the UFC Vegas 58 main event.

As with all UFC headliners, Saturday’s main event will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the evening’s activities at the UFC Apex.

UFC Vegas 58 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the main event on Saturday, both men stand level in height at 5-foot-8.

Fiziev, however, gains some separation in the reach categories, as he owns a 1 1/2 inch advantage (71 1/2 inches to 70 inches even) in reach and a two-inch advantage (40 inches to 38 inches) in leg reach over Dos Anjos going into the fight.

Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev Fizzled Out Twice So Far in 2022

Prior to the booking on Saturday night, Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev had been scheduled to fight twice earlier this calendar year, with both previous pairings between the two falling apart before fight night for various reasons.

Initially, Dos Anjos and Fiziev were slated to meet in the famous UFC Octagon on Feb. 19 during UFC Vegas 48 before the promotion was forced to rebook the pairing for a couple of weeks later on March 5 during UFC 272 amid Fiziev being unable to secure a visa into the United States.

The fight was postponed a second time ahead of the March 5 pay-per-view event upon Fiziev returning a positive test for COVID-19.

So, four months after both scheduled bookings fizzled out ahead of the fights, dos Anjos and Fiziev will finally settle things this weekend in the UFC Vegas 58 main event.

Rafael dos Anjos Seeks to Make UFC Vegas 58 Main Event Test of Stamina For Fiziev

Rafael dos Anjos enters this weekend’s main event having gone 3-2 in his last five MMA appearances and is currently on a two-fight winning streak, having bested Renato Moicano by unanimous decision on March 5 during the aforementioned UFC 272 in a contracted catchweight fight at 190 lbs.

The UFC Vegas 58 main event is Rafael Fiziev’s first headlining bout since joining the promotion in 2019, and dos Anjos hopes to make the fight taxing for his opponent, as he told Ag Fight last month.

“You can expect a fight with a lot of action,” Dos Anjos said, translated from Portuguese. “I want to test his skills in a five-round fight, since it’s the first time he has a fight like that. My plan is to pressure him right from the start. I know he’s quick and I won’t be as fast as him, but I believe the pressure that I’m able to put on will make a difference.”

Can Dos Anjos successfully apply pressure against Fiziev as the 37-year-old prepares for one last ride in MMA? Tune in and find out.

Rafael Fiziev Looks to Ride Momentum of Five-Fight Winning Streak Into UFC Vegas 58 Main Event

In the other corner, Rafael Fiziev has gone 5-0 in his last five UFC appearances and has only lost once since joining Dana White‘s promotion, in his 2019 debut against Magomed Mustafaev via first-round knockout.

Most recently, Fiziev scored a third-round knockout (wheel kick) on Dec. 4 during UFC Vegas 44‘s co-headlining bout.

A few weeks ago, Fiziev spoke to James Lynch, during which he said that no other opposition was offered for this main event and that the call to fight dos Anjos came during Ramadan, enabling him to complete a full training camp. Subsequent to that, he broke down his opponent’s offensive tactics for the fight.

“His gameplan is like 80 percent wrestling and 20 percent stand-up,” he began. “This is his game plan. This is the best game plan for him, and I need to stay ready for this. I’ve trained all my life, and I get ready. I’m ready for everything.”

Fiziev is only 29 years of age going into the UFC Vegas 58 main event on Saturday and won’t turn 30 until next March, but will age prevail over experience this coming weekend?

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Dos Anjos Can Score the Knockout Quickly

Stylistically, the UFC Vegas 58 main event looks to favor Rafael dos Anjos, a 4th-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a black Prajied in Muay-Thai, compared to Fiziev’s blue belt in BJJ.

One aspect of Rafael dos Anjos’ fight game that’s popped up on video is his ability to end the bout quickly and viciously by way of knockout.

While it hasn’t happened all too often in dos Anjos’ MMA career, it’s something that the recently-retired Donald Cerrone found out firsthand back in December of 2015 during the UFC on FOX 17 main event in Orlando for the UFC Lightweight Championship.

Although the fight was scheduled for five rounds, he needed less than one to put “Cowboy” away that night. Dos Anjos opened up by scoring with a straight left-handed punch before Cerrone connected on a leg kick.

From there, Dos Anjos returned fire with knees to Cerrone’s body, wobbling and hurting his opponent, before finally unloading with a barrage of punches to the head, including a flurry of ground and pound shots, to end the fight and defend the championship.

If Dos Anjos can land a kick to the body in order to wobble Fiziev, it could be the opening he needs to win the fight.

Fiziev Has Dangerous Hands

In the other corner, Rafael Fiziev can also unload with his hands, as he did in December of 2020 against Renato Moicano.

During the first round of a scheduled three, Fiziev repeatedly pieced Moicano up with a relentless variety of punches and kicks, landing numerous low kicks on him.

Although Moicano did land a jab about a minute into the round, it came at a price, as Fiziev landed another low kick.

Moicano couldn’t even begin to try to keep up with the more proficient Fiziev on that late fall night, as he finished him off with a few more punches to the head to sit him down and out in a little over four minutes.

If Rafael Fiziev is able to mix up his strikes and keep Rafael dos Anjos guessing in the UFC Vegas 58 main event, the fight will be his.

Final Thoughts

This looks like it’ll be an entertaining fight on Saturday. Whichever of these two men is able to land the first big punch this weekend could very well be the man who has the better shot at winning the UFC Vegas 58 main event.

Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos by Unanimous Decision.

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