Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos will aim to continue his dominant ways as a welterweight when he takes on former UFC champion Robbie Lawler later tonight (Sat., Dec. 16, 2017) at UFC on FOX 26 from inside Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Canada.
Since making the jump up to 170 pounds earlier this year, dos Anjos has looked rejuvenated. Not only did the 33-year-old pressure former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine into a one-sided decision loss, but RDA is coming off a sensational submission victory over divisional staple Neil Magny back at UFC 215. Needless to say, dos Anjos has regained nearly all of the promotional momentum he lost after dropping back-to-back lightweight contests opposite Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson.
But despite all of his recent success at the welterweight level, RDA is entering the lion’s den this weekend in Winnipeg when he tries to derail Lawler’s return to prominence. Dos Anjos has encountered some stiff competition throughout his nine-year UFC career, but never anyone quite like “Ruthless.” That doesn’t mean RDA doesn’t possesses the ferocious offense and elite motor to outpace Lawler over the course of five rounds. It simply means that dos Anjos will put himself in more danger than ever before against a bona fide knockout artist like Lawler.
On paper, this is a No. 1 contender’s bout in the UFC’s welterweight class. The winner should certainly get the next shot at current champion Tyron Woodley, but things change and the promotion sometimes throws a curve ball at even the most deserving of contenders. That said, RDA must take this opportunity by the horns, do everything in his power to overthrow “Ruthless” in fashion, and prove that his new success at 170 pounds can be sustained far into 2018.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 26 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 5 p.m. ET, before the FOX main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.