Highlights - Gaethje vs FizievMar 22
Three reasons to watch UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev on BT Sport
There’s some killer lightweight action coming your way in the main event on Saturday night as Rafael dos Anjos takes on Rafael Fiziev exclusively live on BT Sport. Here’s why you can’t miss it.
It’s third time lucky this Saturday night as Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev finally get their hands on one another after two previous postponements of this fascinating lightweight clash.
They’ll be supported by a stellar cast on the main card including two Dana White Contender Series alumni in Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan.
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Borralho has been touted as one to watch following an eye-catching run on the Contender Series which he then backed up with a victory on his full promotional debut back in April.
Plus talented bantamweight Said Nurmagomedov looks to make it a hat-trick of quick wins since his arrival in the UFC – but he faces his toughest test yet in the form of powerful veteran Douglas Silva de Andrade.
With all that and more coming your way this Saturday evening, here are three reasons you don’t want to miss UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev exclusively live on BT Sport.
Third time’s a charm!
Rafael dos Anjos vs Rafael Fiziev looked destined to become the latest entry in the UFC’s history of cursed match-ups having twice fallen through prior to Saturday night’s scheduled showdown.
Slated to face one another initially in February, the bout was moved to March’s UFC 272 card after Azerbaijan’s Fiziev encountered visa troubles that prevented him from entering the USA as planned.
But further misfortune struck just a week out from UFC 272 when Fiziev came down with Covid-19, forcing his withdrawal from the card for a second time.
Instead, Dos Anjos ended his 18-month hiatus by stepping into a late notice catchweight scrap against Renato Moicano which the 37-year-old won comfortably over five rounds.
Fiziev is going to realize I’m the best Rafael ever in UFC
- Rafael dos Anjos
It was time in the Octagon that the former lightweight champion probably needed after one of the longest layoffs of his career and Dos Anjos should be firing on all cylinders when he finally meets rising 155lb star Fiziev this weekend.
Speaking to reporters at this week’s media day, the popular Brazilian reaffirmed his mission to challenge for the belt he last held six years ago with a victory against Fiziev that he believes could see him become a contender early next year.
“Fiziev is going to realize I’m the best Rafael ever in UFC,” Dos Anjos said.
“A win will be three in a row, and that will put me in the title picture.”
Dismissing suggestions he would chase down an elusive shot against long-time rival Conor McGregor over UFC gold, he added: “I would like that payday, but it’s not what I am chasing right now.
“If it happens one day, it happens. Right now, I’m not sure a win against Conor helps me get the belt. And I am chasing the championship.
“My focus is finishing Fiziev. I want to put him away in the first round.”
This guy is a big challenge
- Rafael Fiziev
That kind of fighting talk will be music to 29-year-old Fiziev’s ears, who comes into the bout with a burgeoning reputation as a striker who could make a lot of noise at the top of the division.
Five straight wins and four performance bonuses since defeat on his UFC debut have seen Fiziev become appointment viewing in one of the promotion’s most talent-rich weight classes.
“I like the challenges and this guy is a big challenge,” Fiziev, who counts Petr Yan and Khamzat Chimaev among his team-mates, said.
“That’s why I’m more happy because he’s a former champion and I [want to] try my skills on a guy who already [had] gold on his body.
Fiziev’s last outing was a stunning wheel kick knockout of City Kickboxing charge Brad Riddell, for which Fiziev pocketed a well-deserved $50k back in December.
A similar showing on Saturday night would truly confirm his championship credentials against one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division.
Can the crafty veteran see off the hungry young contender?
Big billing for Borralho
Caio Borralho will look to take advantage of his backing from the UFC by producing a statement performance in the co-main event against Armen Petrosyan on Saturday night.
The Brazilian middleweight has only fought once for the promotion since coming out of Dana White’s Contender Series but its clear that UFC matchmakers have seen enough to thrust Borralho into the spotlight with an eye-catching spot in the running order.
Some have already likened the 29-year-old to fellow countryman Anderson Silva – although Borralho is quick to distance himself from comparisons to the man many believe to be the GOAT.
“I really love the comparisons, but I’m myself and he’s himself. But being compared to Anderson Silva is a big honor for me,” he said.
“I don’t like to emulate Anderson Silva.
“I think one of the guys that I saw the most was Conor McGregor. I think he’s one of the guys who did a lot of things for this sport – what he did was undeniable. I look to him with my style. I became southpaw because of him – I was orthodox.”
However, Borralho, whose ability to speak English has already helped build his profile among a new audience this week, faces a tough assignment in Petrosyan.
The Armenian striker, who also came out of the Contender Series, won on his promotional debut last time out against Gregory Rodrigues – a victory that has aged well since Rodrigues’ stunning knockout of Julian Marquez last month.
“I know I can stand and trade punches with anyone in the entire world,” Borralho continued.
“I’m going to strike with him, make him confident to come forward to me, and then find my takedowns – find my ground game. It’s more intelligent to go where the opponent doesn’t want to go. So I’m not stupid or full of ego.”
The Dagestani takeover continues
Another proud export of the Dagestani region looks to continue making his mark in the UFC’s bantamweight division this weekend as Said Nurmagomedov returns to action looking to pick up a third straight victory.
The 30-year-old, who is no relation to former undisputed lightweight monster Khabib, will be eyeing the chance to move into the rankings after two consecutive first round finishes heading into this bout.
Now on a hot streak of four wins from five, Nurmagomedov will need to be on top of his game against the in-form Douglas Silva de Andrade of Brazil. Andrade has walked away from his last two fights with a pair of bonus cheques to boot and is surely one of the hardest hitters across the 135lb landscape.
Now 37, Andrade’s power has shown no sign of dissipating with 20 of his 28 wins coming via KO – including the first-round demolition of Gaetano Pirrello in October last year.
Andrade does have four losses on his record since joining the UFC but he has only come up short against high level opposition in the likes of Lerone Murphy, Petr Yan, Rob Font and Zubaira Tukhagov.
Can Nurmagomedov add his name to that list – or will the destructive veteran derail the Dagestani hype train?