Rafael dos Anjos hasn’t dipped his toes cautiously into welterweight waters, he has dived right into the depths.
Following back to back defeats to Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson, as well as some harrowing weight-cutting experiences, the former 155-pound king of the UFC announced in January of this year that he would be moving up to 170lbs.
In April, the UFC revealed that Dos Anjos would kick off his welterweight campaign by taking on former Strikeforce champion and the UFC’s tenth-ranked 170-pounder, Tarec Saffiedine, at UFC Fight Night 111 in June. Though Saffiedine had lost three of his previous four fights, he had been fighting at a high-level and he was very unlucky not to receive the nod over Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 207 in December of 2016. He would also be eager to make a statement and turn things around against Dos Anjos, so this had all the markings of a tough test for the Brazilian.
‘RDA’ entered a solid performance, however, claiming a fairly comfortable unanimous decision after three rounds in Singapore.
In his second outing at the weight, Dos Anjos faces another high-ranking opponent. On Tuesday, the UFC announced that the 32-year-old veteran will battle Neil Magny at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on September 9th. Also added to the card was a lightweight bout between Canada’s own Mitch Clarke and Alex White.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) July 26, 2017
Magny, who currently sits at number six in the UFC’s official welterweight rankings, has won four of his last five bouts and eleven of his last thirteen, accounting for the likes of Johnny Hendricks and Kevin Gastelum along the way.
You have to admire Dos Anjos, who usurped the number 10 spot in the rankings when he beat Saffiedine, for the way in which he is approaching this welterweight odyssey. No baby-steps for ‘RDA’.