Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight titleholder, Rafael dos Anjos, was hoping to add his name to the short list of mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters able to capture championship belts in two separate weight classes, after jumping up to the welterweight division and winning three straight fights.
Including last December’s victory over “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, himself no stranger to gold.
The first step in accomplishing that goal was turning away top welterweight contender Colby Covington, who was looking to steal the Brazilian’s shine in the UFC 225 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event last night (Sat., June 9, 2018) inside United Center in Chicago, Illinois. After five hard-fought rounds, Covington walked away with the unanimous decision win, as well as the interim welterweight title, which puts him in line for reigning 170-pound titleholder Tyron Woodley later this year.
Covington came barreling out of the gate to open the first round and did what he does best, throwing heavy leather and sending his opponent into a retreat, where he could then trap him against the cage and work for the takedown. Dos Anjos did a good job of staying on his feet and did unload his fair share of strikes, but was fighting defensively for the most part as “Chaos” walked him down and spammed takedown attempts.
The second stanza offered more of the same. The Brazilian found success in the clinch but didn’t spend enough time there to do any real damage, partly because he gave up so much size to his 170-pound counterpart. Nevertheless, fighting off his back foot left him at a disadvantage and we all know the judges love wrestling and forward movement.
Covington once again charged forward to start the third frame and UFC color commentator Joe Rogan likened it to the Nick/Nate Diaz style of suffocation, where opponents are unable to get their offense going because they are stuck in defense mode and constantly under attack. Dos Anjos got a break midway through the round when Covington landed a foot to the pills. After they restarted, Covington went back to pushing him around. The crowd started turning on him roughly 30 seconds before the bell.
By the time round four got underway, Dos Anjos look dejected and probably knew he was down on points, but managed to get some respect back by landing a huge left hand, followed by a takedown of his own. Covington was too big to keep grounded and quickly got back to his feet, so the Brazilian took him right back down again. “Chaos” muscled his way up but then had to deal with pressure against the fence. They reset in the center of the cage and Dos Anjos dove for another takedown only to get denied. With the significant strikes dead even, Covington shot for a takedown and dragged his foe to the floor just before time expired.
Fifth and final round got underway and it could have been anyone’s fight, so the remaining five minutes were the most important of the night. Covington opened with a takedown and after some struggling got Dos Anjos to the ground, but not for long. They returned to the center of the Octagon to trade blows and whatever urgency Dos Anjos had in round four seemed to have dissipated. He was flat and on the retreat as Covington bullied him from one side of the cage to the other. They had a nice flurry close to the bell but this round was all “Chaos.”
In the end it was a unanimous decision victory, as well as a shout-out to U.S. President Donald Trump.
"I'm coming for you @TWooodley." @ColbyCovMMA #UFC225 pic.twitter.com/MeKN7GfSDF— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018
Botton line? Covington talks a ton of shit, but he backs it up inside the cage. Now he has an interim title to go with his shenanigans and it’s only a matter of time before he collides with “The Chosen One” in an attempt to unify the welterweight titles.
See you in November?
Turn sound on. Grab some popcorn. You're welcome. pic.twitter.com/8q2QxCvXxL— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) June 10, 2018
For much more on UFC 225, including live results, play-by-play updates, video highlights, reactions, breaking news and so much more, head over to our comprehensive UFC 225 real-time story archive by clicking here.