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Rafael dos Anjos vs. Renato Moicano full fight preview | UFC 272

UFC Fight Night: Felder v Dos Anjos Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight veterans Rafael dos Anjos and Renato Moicano will collide in a catchweight bout this weekend (Sat., March 5, 2022) at UFC 272 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

2022 really seems to be the year of the short-notice replacement. Fights are coming apart left and right, and there’s always someone willing to take a chance and score an extra paycheck. As Bobby Green can explain, being will to take the risk is far from a guarantee that it will payoff. Moicano, meanwhile, is the latest to put it all on the line, accepting a five-round fight vs. “RDA” on four day’s notice. Dos Anjos deserves credit, too — he’s no longer facing an elite kickboxer, but a fellow well-rounded veteran (and he’s doesn’t have quite as much to gain from victory).

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

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YEAR-END PPV BLOWOUT! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) closes out its final pay-per-view (PPV) of the year on Sat., Dec. 10, 2022, with a battle for the vacant Light Heavyweight crown between former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Jan Blachowicz, looking to stop the momentum of No. 3-seeded Magomed Ankalaev. In the co-main event of UFC 282, which will take place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, breakout star, Paddy Pimblett, intends to keep his momentum going at the expense of gritty veteran, Jared Gordon.

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Rafael dos Anjos

Record: 30-13
Key Wins: Robbie Lawler (UFC on FOX 26), Kevin Lee (UFC Fight Night 152), Neil Magny (UFC 215), Anthony Pettis (UFC 185), Ben Henderson (UFC Fight Night 49), Donald Cerrone (UFC on FOX 17, UFC Fight Night 27)
Key Losses: Kamaru Usman (TUF 28 Finale), Colby Covington (UFC 225), Leon Edwards (UFC on ESPN 4), Eddie Alvarez (UFC Fight Night 90), Tony Ferguson (UFC Fight Night 98), Khabib Nurmagomedov (UFC on FOX 11)

Keys to Victory: Dos Anjos is one of the most well-rounded fighters to ever compete, as he’s developed a nasty Muay Thai game, formidable wrestling, and excellent jiu-jitsu. “RDA” isn’t the outright best at any of those, but he’s a complete package, and he pairs those skills with an endless gas tank.

Similar to his short-notice match up vs. Paul Felder, grinding Moicano makes a whole lot of sense here. It’s bold of Moicano to accept all five rounds of this match up, but it’s unlikely to pay off if dos Anjos wrestles. “RDA” has surely been working his wrestling ahead of the planned Fiziev match up, and he’s now facing an opponent less prepared to hustle in grappling exchanges for 25 minutes.

It’s just a lot easier to kickboxer for an extended period of time than sprint for positions in the clinch and on the mat. Dos Anjos needs to strike with Moicano only long enough to raise his guard, at which point chain wrestling on the fence is an ideal way to make Moicano tired and miserable.


Renato Moicano

Record: 16-4-1
Key Wins: Alexander Hernandez (UFC 271), Jeremy Stephens (UFC on FOX 24), Cub Swanson (UFC 227), Calvin Kattar (UFC 223), Zubair Tukhugov (UFC 198)
Key Losses: Rafael Fiziev (UFC 256), Chan Sung Jung (UFC Fight Night 154), Jose Aldo (UFC Fight Night 144), Brian Ortega (UFC 214)
Keys to Victory: Moicano kind of fits the Rafael dos Anjos mold. He came into the UFC with a jiu-jitsu background, but he’s quickly proven that the rest of his game is quite good as well, proving himself capable in all areas.

Given the short-notice nature of this booking, Moicano probably wants a kickboxing match. Fortunately, he has the height, reach, and skill to pursue such a battle with dos Anjos. Opposite the shorter man, establishing the jab will be key in preventing dos Anjos from bullying him and wrestling.

“RDA” is a Southpaw, however, which complicates things a bit. The open stance engagement means that Moicano will have to spend more time hand fighting with dos Anjos’ lead hand to clear a path for the jab. While the jab itself will be a bit more obstructed, from that position Moicano can look to pitch crosses down the center, fire front kicks, and look to stuff dos Anjos’ attempts to close distance.


Bottom Line

Intended fight or not, it’s a good Lightweight scrap.

Since returning to Lightweight, dos Anjos has made it clear that his eyes are on recapturing the strap. Unfortunately, a win here doesn’t do all that much for the No. 6-ranked contender. Perhaps victory will allow dos Anjos to look up the rankings next, but for whatever reason, it seems more likely that the Fiziev fight is rebooked.

Unless “RDA” loses, in which case he’ll spiral down the rankings.

Meanwhile, Moicano can rocket into the Top 10 with a win here. At Featherweight, Moicano managed to climb into such a position and get close to a title shot, but he has yet to score that kind of momentum at 155 pounds. Taking out dos Anjos on such short-notice is a surefire way to do just that, and confirm that Moicano is in the mix at the heavier weight class.

At UFC 272, Rafael dos Anjos and Renato Moicano will throw down in the co-main event. Which man will have his hand raised?


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 272 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 272: “Covington vs. Masvidal” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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