Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back at it again last night (Sat., Jan. 25, 2020) as UFC Fight Night 166 went down from inside PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. In the headlining act, Curtis Blaydes defeated Junior dos Santos via technical knockout in the second round to help him make a case for a shot at the title (watch highlights). In the co-headlining act, Michael Chiesa scored a unanimous decision win over Rafael dos Anjos to give him his third straight win.
Biggest Winner: Curtis Blaydes
“Razor” picked up a huge win, knocking out the former division champion with devastating strikes in less than two rounds, giving him three wins in a row. And that’s huge in the 265-pound division because it doesn’t take more than three or four straight wins to stake a claim for a shot at the strap. When you look at Blaydes’ record, his only two losses came against Francis Ngannou, who is currently the front-runner for a shot at the strap. That is, of course, assuming he gets through Jairzinho Rozenstruick next month at UFC on ESPN 8. Should “The Predator” come up short, Blaydes should be the one to face the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier, though it means he will likely have to wait a while for that opportunity. Nevertheless, Blaydes is sitting pretty at the moment, and all he has to do is sit back to see how the division unfolds in the next couple of months.
Runner Up: Michael Chiesa
In 2018, Chiesa missed weight for his bout against Anthony Pettis, prompting him to proclaim on the scale that he was done at 155 pounds and that a move up to Welterweight was inevitable. It’s the best decision he’s made in a long time. Since making the jump up, “Maverick” has looked like a new man, winning three straight over Diego Sanchez, Carlos Condit and now former Lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos. That’s a far cry from the back-to-back losses at 155 pounds he suffered at the hands of the aforementioned Anthony Pettis and Kevin Lee. Chiesa just looks more comfortable, healthier at 170 pounds, which means there is a new player in what is without a doubt UFC’s most stacked weight class. Everything is coming up roses for “Maverick,” who is finally getting the shine he deserves.
Biggest Loser: Rafael dos Anjos
What in the world is going on with “RDA?” After winning his first three fights at 170 pounds, the Brazilian bomber has now lost four of his last five, including two in a row. Sure, losing to the likes of Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Leon Edwards is nothing to hang one’s head low over, but dos Anjos hasn’t looked good in a long time. He is 1-5 since 2017, leaving him at a crossroads in his career. He can continue to fight at 170 pounds, but as stacked as that weight class is, his current woes won’t help gain any traction toward the title. He can always move back down to 155 pounds, but there is no telling if he wants to go through that weight cut again. I do think dos Anjos can still be a legit threat in any division, he just needs to figure out what’s not working for him as of late and tweak some things before the wheels fall completely off.
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