UFC Fight Night predictions – Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev: Fight card, start time, odds, live stream

UFC Fight Night will serve as the testing ground to determine which Rafael is ready to step into the lightweight elite. Former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos and three-time Kyrgyz Muay Thai champion Rafael Fiziev will headline UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 9.

Dos Anjos (31-13) looks refreshed since returning to lightweight and recover from 15 years of wear and tear. Decisive victories (disregarding judge Chris Lee’s bizarre scorecard) over Paul Felder and Renato Moicano were a step in the right direction. A victory over a hungry, rising and violent finisher like Fiziev would do wonders for the RDA title campaign. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more experienced fighter than dos Anjos. He fought fellow world champions Khabib Nurmagomedov, Kamaru Usman, Robbie Lawler, Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson. Take out the championship clause and you still have names like Nate Diaz, Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone (twice).

“My goal is to come here, make a big statement and put my name in contention for the title. My name should be in contention for the title,” dos Anjos told reporters during Wednesday’s media day. “I think I’ve never been so ready in my whole life. Moving to Brazil has refreshed my career. I’m in good spirits and in good shape too.

“I fought in the UFC for 14 years and never backed down from a fight. I agreed to fight the best guys and went the distance with them. Champions like Usman, Khabib , Colby. I didn’t make it but I went against them. If the fans think that I can also be considered the BMF, I’m okay with that.

Fiziev (11-1) is preparing for the biggest challenge of his life. Bettors believe he will succeed. Fiziev cashed in check after check after his UFC debut against Alex White. The creative and hard-hitting forward picked up performance bonuses against Brad Riddell – courtesy of a spinning wheel kick – and Moicano. Fight of the Night honors against Bobby Green and Marc Diakiese proved that Fiziev doesn’t need a spectacular finish to deliver a spectacular fight.

“I like the challenge. This guy is a great champion,” Fiziev said on Wednesday. “He’s a former champion and I’m trying my skills against a guy who has already tested himself.

“When you think he wants to get up, he starts to struggle. When you think he wants to fight, he starts to get up…He has good skills. That’s why I’m more than happy because it’s a big test for my skills and I’m excited to test my skills.”

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The undermap fills with four more main map fights. Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan are set to face off in the middleweight division. Said Nurmagomedov, cousin of Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov, takes on veteran Douglas Silva de Andrade in the bantamweight division. Veterans Jared Vanderaa and Chase Sherman battled heavyweight and knockout artists Jamie Mullarkey and Michael Johnson open the festivities at lightweight.

“Not everyone has that killer instinct, but I do,” Mullarkey told UFC.com earlier this week. “If you look at my record, almost all of my wins have come by stoppage. I’m always looking to get the other guy out of there. That’s how I am. It’s great to fight one of the OGs in the sport . [Johnson is] a very tough opponent. He’s explosive and also a seasoned veteran.”

The undercard also got a bit lighter on Saturday when news of a fight was dropped. Nina Nunes was scheduled to face Cynthia Calvillo at women’s flyweight, but Nunes fell ill early Saturday and was forced to pull out of the fight. She wrote on Instagram that the hope is to reschedule the fight to a later date. MMA Junkie Reported the target date for the fight is now August 13.

Here is the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.

UFC Fight Night card, odds

Raphael Fiziev -220

Raphael dos Anjos +180

Lightweight

Caio Borralho-220

Armen Petrosian +180

Average weight

Said Nurmagomedov -340

Douglas Silva de Andrade +270

Bantam-weight

Jarred Vanderaa -200

Chase Sherman +170

Heavy weights

Jamie Mullarkey-240

Michael Johnson +200

Lightweight

UFC Fight Night Display Information

Date: July 9 | Start time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: UFC Apex – Las Vegas, Nevada
Flow: ESPN+

Prediction

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev: Dos Anjos is no slouch, but he can’t afford to stay with Fiziev for 25 minutes. RDA will benefit the most from his experience and roundness, clinch and shooting for takedowns to make the Muay Thai specialist guess. Dos Anjos is more of a volume striker. He has fewer knockouts than Fiziev despite nearly four times as many pro fights. If RDA can use their experience and durability on the feet to set up takedowns, they can rely on their grappling and submission offensive threat to lead this fight. The danger pendulum swings heavily in Fiziev’s favor on the feet. His game plan should be simple: avoid takedowns and get pressed against the fence. Knocking out dos Anjos has traditionally been a tall order. While it’s always possible, the most likely scenario that would benefit Fiziev would be three to five rounds to separate the former champion from the lineup. I’m going to go against the grain and say that RDA’s roundness will provide him with the tools to get ahead of his much less experienced MMA foe. Dos Anjos via UD

Who wins Dos Anjos versus Fiziev? And what other choices do you have to make? Visit SportsLine now for detailed top picks for UFC Fight Nightall from the insider who has earned over $10,000 on MMA picks in the past two years, and find out.

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