Last night (Sat., June 7, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Rafael dos Anjos and Jason High faced off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 42 from Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
After winning five mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts in a row, Brazilian dos Anjos suffered a disappointing loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FOX 11. He made a quick turnaround to face former University of Nebraska wrestler High.
Coming in off a UFC 167 decision win over Anthony Lapsley, High missed out on a UFC Fight Night 35 bout with Adlan Amagov when both fighters got injured. "Kansas City Bandit" was looking to corral a very tough competitor in the No. 5-ranked dos Anjos.
In the end, dos Anjos got back on track with a decisive victory in New Mexico.
The fight began with dos Anjos missing a front kick before landing a counter and two decent kicks. High sought a single leg and pressed the action up against the cage to score a big double leg. Dos Anjos got up and was slammed again, missing on a choke attempt. High smothered dos Anjos in half guard.
The Brazilian went for a kimura that High immediately powered out of. Dos Anjos got back to his feet, but ate a knee and an elbow in the process. Dos Anjos snapped some good body shots and followed with a combination that led into a double leg of his own. He looked for a shoulder lock as the back-and-forth first round came to a close.
High looked gassed to start the second. He threw a kick and dos Anjos wobbled him before an eye poke put a stop to the action. The fighters traded on the restart. Dos Anjos went to the body repeatedly, but High got a takedown. Dos Anjos got up again, landing a solid low kick.
A big shot followed, and dos Anjos secured another takedown to go for a guillotine. High reversed to take dos Anjos' back and a striking exchange ensued on the feet. Dos Anjos wobbled High with a big punch and swarmed on the ground to earn the stoppage.
High cried that it was an early stoppage, but he was taking tons of damage and not doing much in response. Dos Anjos has now won five out of his last six bouts. Even though his wrestling wasn't perfect, he was able to take down an NCAA Division I wrestler more than once. His submission game looked solid, as did his conditioning at a very high altitude.
With his striking matching his grappling, dos Anjos is headed for another big fight. That may include a rematch with Donald Cerrone if "Cowboy" gets past Jim Miller on July 19. Dos Anjos won a decision over Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 27 in August 2013.
High looked out of shape in Albuquerque. His cut down to lightweight may not have gone very well, and he showed some poor decision making when he shoved the referee after what he felt was a bad stoppage.
That may or may cost him his employment with UFC, but even if he fights on in the Octagon, he has a lot of work to do. Dos Anjos hung with him in his best skillset of wrestling and thoroughly outclassed him in the striking by sapping his gas tank with repeated body shots.
Rafael dos Anjos showed a great all-around game and kept his lofty ranking with a solid finish of Jason High. After debating the stoppage and losing his cool, will High ever fight in the Octagon again?