This Saturday night (June 7, 2014,) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Rafael dos Anjos and Jason High will square off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 42, airing live at 10 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 1 from Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
No. 5-ranked dos Anjos was recently seen, dropping a decision to surging challenger Khabib Nurmagomedov at April's UFC on FOX 11. The pivotal loss snapped a five-fight win streak for the Brazilian, so he'll make a quick turnaround to battle High in Albuquerque.
High has been out of action since his UFC 167 decision victory over Anthony Lapsley. He was supposed to fight Adlan Amagov at UFC Fight Night 35 in January, but a bout with appendicitis delayed his return to the Octagon.
He's won nine out of his past 10 mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts, but he'll be faced with an incredibly motivated opponent at UFC Fight Night 42. Let's take a look at the keys to victory for dos Anjos vs. High:
Rafael dos Anjos
Record: 20-7 overall, 9-5 UFC
Key Wins: Donald Cerrone (UFC Fight Night 27), Evan Dunham (UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold), Mark Bocek (UFC 154)
Key Losses: Khabib Nurmagomedov (UFC on FOX 11), Jeremy Stephens (UFC 91), Clay Guida (UFC 117)
Record: 18-4 overall, 2-2 UFC
Key Wins: Anthony Lapsley (UFC 167), James Head (UFC Fight Night 27), Jordan Mein (Rumble in the Cage 40)
Key Losses: Erick Silva (UFC on Fuel TV 10), Charlie Brenneman (UFC Fight Night 21), Jay Hieron (Affliction: Day of Reckoning)
Dos Anjos is a grinder who makes his foes win tough bouts, evident by his 10 decision victories. His striking looked top-notch in his UFC Fight Night 27 victory over Cerrone, but Nurmagomedov proved that stifling grapplers have a chance at shutting him down.
To get back into the win column in Albuquerque, dos Anjos has to stick to his striking. High has been knocked out twice in four total losses, and he's also a highly regarded wrestler. While dos Anjos isn't known for having thunderous knockout power, he should be able to beat High to the punch and outclass him on the feet. If and when he gets taken down, dos Anjos has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that has earned him eight submission wins.
Having wrestled at the University of Nebraska's prestigious Division I program, High is a bear to deal with on the mat. "The Kansas City Bandit" should be looking for the takedown early and often, as his stand-up game still needs a decent amount of polishing. If he can slam dos Anjos to the canvas and control the fight from there, he'll open up an opportunity to look for a submission.
It won't be easy to finish, however, as dos Anjos has only tapped out once in his entire career. Overall, High is tasked with one of the toughest fighters he's ever faced this weekend, so he's going to have to put forth a wholly impressive performance to get the job done. Avoiding dos Anjos point-centered striking style will help get him there.
After failing to ascend to the top level of the UFC lightweight division, Rafael dos Anjos received a step down in competition against Jason High. Is there any way ‘The Kansas City Bandit' pulls off the big upset, or has he been booked in a bad spot?