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UFC Vegas 58 preview: ‘Dos Anjos vs Fiziev’ predictions

UFC Fight Night: Felder v Dos Anjos Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just one day away from its upcoming UFC Vegas 58: “Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev” mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which is set to go down tomorrow night (Sat., July 9, 2022) from inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. As the name suggests, UFC Vegas 58 is topped by a lightweight main event between former champion Rafael dos Anjos and surging contender Rafael Fiziev, a five-round headliner with serious title implications for late 2022 and beyond.

LIVE! Stream UFC San Diego On ESPN+

PIVOTAL BANTAMWEIGHT CLASH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to San Diego, Calif., on Sat., Aug. 13, 2022, for the first time since 2015 with a pivotal battle between top-ranked Bantamweight contenders that will see No. 5-ranked Marlon Vera take on former champion and No. 8-seeded Dominick Cruz. In San Diego’s co-main event, Nate Landwehr and David Onama will collide in a Featherweight showdown between dynamic 145-pound hopefuls.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the middleweight collision between Caio Borralho and Armen Petrosyan, check out Patrick Stumberg’s breakdowns for the UFC Vegas 58 preliminary card — which he wrote with whatever fingers didn’t get bitten off during a bizarre training accident with Joey Chestnut — by clicking here and here. In addition, seasoned MMA analyst Dan Hiergesell did most of the heavy lifting for the rest of the UFC Vegas 58 main card right here.

For the latest “Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends over at Draft Kings go here.

Let’s get to work.

155 lbs.: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev

Rafael dos Anjos

Record: 31-13 | Age: 37 | Betting line: +180
Wins: 5 KO/TKO, 10 SUB, 16 DEC | Losses: 3 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 10 DEC
Height: 5’8“ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.62 | Striking accuracy: 46%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.24 | Striking Defense: 61%
Takedown Average: 1.99 (37% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 58%
Current Ranking: No. 7 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Renato Carneiro

Rafael ‘Ataman’ Fiziev

Record: 11-1 | Age: 29 | Betting line: -210
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 3 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 5’8“ | Reach: 71” | Stance: Switch
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 5.35 | Striking accuracy: 52%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 5.57 | Striking Defense: 50%
Takedown Average: 0.48 (50% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 95%
Current Ranking: No. 10 | Last fight: Knockout win over Brad Riddell

Rafael dos Anjos and Rafael Fiziev will finally hook ‘em up after two previous bookings — and two previous cancelations. The pair was first expected to throw hands at UFC Vegas 48 but “Ataman” had visa issues, so the promotion moved them to UFC 272. That never came to pass because of COVID-19 but matchmakers wanted to preserve this important 155-pound showdown, so here we are just one day out from their contest finally coming to fruition. Fortunately for Dos Anjos, fellow Brazilian Renato Carneiro was able to step in at UFC 272 and “RDA” showed no signs of cage rust after nearly two years out of action. How much stock you put in that lopsided victory may depend on how you view Carneiro — a former featherweight — as a viable contender at 155 pounds. He’s a gutsy fighter, no question, but he’s also unranked and was knocked silly by Fiziev at UFC 256.

Regardless, the Carneiro victory marked the second straight “W” for Dos Anjos since abandoning the welterweight division. It was the right decision, even with the brutal weight cut that lies ahead, because “RDA” was taken down a staggering 34 times across his last five fights at 170 pounds, which resulted in a 1-4 record. I don’t want to diminish what the Brazilian has done across a very impressive lightweight career but he turns 38 in October and is already into double-digit losses. He’s also gone to a decision in eight of his last 10 fights and only seems to get a finish when it’s presented on a silver platter. His last knockout came over Donald Cerrone in late 2015 so I’m not sure we can build a case for Dos Anjos stopping a multi-time Muay Thai champion this weekend in ‘Sin City.”

I know the detractors like to point to Fiziev’s UFC St. Petersburg loss to Magomed Mustafaev as evidence that “Ataman” is not the fearsome kickboxer he’s billed to be, which is silly because some of the most dangerous strikers in MMA have been stopped at one point or another. Jiri Prochazka getting KTFO by “King Mo” under the RIZIN banner comes to mind, as does Stephen Thompson going ice cold opposite “Showtime” Pettis. Those are the dice you roll when you play the stand-up game and that’s one of many reasons this sport is so unpredictable (and so exciting). That said, if your big argument for Dos Anjos winning is the Mustafaev loss; brother, you are going to have a long five rounds. A more likely scenario is Dos Anjos, who is an effective offensive wrestler against non-wrestlers (he dragged Anthony Pettis to the floor nine times in their 2015 affair), will look to implement his ground game by closing the distance and diving for the legs.

That may prove to be a fool’s errand. In six fights for UFC, opponents are 1-for-22 in takedown attempts against the Kyrgyzstanian bruiser. Dos Anjos is a good offensive wrestler but it’s not like he was a Division-1 All American or some kind of Greco-Roman phenom with a wall full of medals. He also doesn’t possess one-punch knockout power, so that rules out the flash finish. To his credit, the Brazilian is an established veteran who is good in some areas and great in others. I just don’t know if “RDA” will be able to cause enough damage or be able to get the fight to the floor against an opponent who is superior on the feet and more importantly, more than eight years his junior. I don’t expect a blowout, but I do expect Fiziev to cruise to a sweep on the judges’ scorecards after controlling the pace for most of their 25 minutes.

Prediction: Fiziev def. Dos Anjos by unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Caio Borralho vs. Armen Petrosyan

Caio ‘The Natural’ Borralho

Record: 11-1, 1 NC | Age: 29 | Betting line: -205
Wins: 4 KO/TKO, 3 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 5’10“ | Reach: 75” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.66 | Striking accuracy: 64%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 1.70 | Striking Defense: 65%
Takedown Average: 1.96 (80% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 75%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Technical decision win over Gadzhi Omargadzhiev

Armen ‘Superman’ Petrosyan

Record: 7-1 | Age: 31 | Betting line: +175
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 6’3“ | Reach: 71” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 7.55 | Striking accuracy: 55%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.39 | Striking Defense: 54%
Takedown Average: 0.00 (0% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 37%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Split decision win over Gregory Rodrigues

Caio Borralho started calling himself “The Natural” because it’s 2022 and branding is more important than ever, though a nickname like that suggests the Brazilian is inherently talented and the rest he’ll figure out and polish along the way. I know he caused havoc on the international circuit, I just don’t know if I’m ready to start handing out gold plaques and 1st place ribbons for submission victories over 40-something tomato cans like Luiz Carlos Alves, who won’t be collecting any hall-of-fame ballots for his 4-17 record. In fact, of his first 10 opponents, only three of them held a winning record at the time of their contest. Not exactly the stuff of legend and Borralho also needed two fights on Dana White’s “Contender Series” to earn his spot in the promotion. Upon his Octagon debut, “The Natural” battled to a technical decision victory over fellow “Contender Series” graduate Gadzhi Omargadzhiev. I guess the bookies were more impressed than I was, handing out a -200 favorite line for the 29 year-old Brazilian.

Or perhaps they were just unimpressed with anything on record from Armen Petrosyan (not to be confused with Giorgio’s brother of the same name), who like his fight night foe, has a nickname that comes with certain expectations. If the 31 year-old striker wants to be billed as “Superman” then he has to put forth super performances. I’m not sure a split decision win over Gregory Rodrigues fits the bill, but you can argue he’s done enough in Muay Thai — to the tune multiple world titles — to have earned his place among the combat sports elite. In a lot of ways, this co-main event mirrors the welterweight headliner in that a striking phenom will have to prove his standup skills will carry over to the cage (and can do enough damage) against a more well-rounded fighter. Again, we don’t have a lot of data to work with and Petrosyan’s overseas competition is not much better than what Borralho had to face. I think this fight is going to tell us a lot about the future of both combatants and when push comes to shove, I’m leaning toward Petrosyan by way of busier hands.

Prediction: Petrosyan def. Borralho by unanimous decision

Remember, the rest of the UFC Vegas 58 main card predictions are RIGHT HERE.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 58 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 58 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archives here and here. For the updated and finalized “Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev” fight card and ESPN/ESPN+ lineup click here.