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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Rafael dos Anjos after loss at UFC Vegas 78?

UFC Vegas 78 went down this past weekend (Sat., Aug., 12, 2023) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Chris Daukaus, who suffered his fourth straight knockout loss after running into Khalil Rountree in his Light Heavyweight debut (see it again here).

And Polyana Viana, who was choked out by Iasmin Lucindo in the second round of their women’s Strawweight showdown. But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the event?

Rafael dos Anjos.

Coming into his headlining bout against Vicente Luque, “RDA” was eying his first back-to-back win streak in more than two years. But, it had been more than eight months since he had last stepped foot inside the Octagon, defeating Bryan Barberena in Dec. 2022.

His opponent, however was coming off an even longer layoff because Luque hadn’t competed in over a year. That’s because “The Silent Assassin” was on the mend after suffering a brain bleed during his knockout loss at the hands of Geoff Neal in Aug. 2022 (watch highlights).

Prior to the action beginning, most expected a standup war given the two combatants history, but what fight fans witnessed was a grappling match that no one expected. And Luque got the best of his older opponent, dominating the grappling exchanges to earn a unanimous decision win.

And that was likely a change that came after Luque’s health scare, which, in all actuality, could have been life threatening. In fact. “The Silent Assassin” was taken to the hospital after his win for precautionary reasons.

And as of this writing, all seems to be well.

As for dos Anjos, the 38-year old veteran falls to 1-2 in his last three outings and his loss slows his roll and hopes of inching closer to a Top 15 ranking at Welterweight (he’s ranked No. 9 at Lightweight). And at this stage of his career, it is going to take a lot of work, a lot of wins and a lot of time to break in.

Nevertheless, “RDA” isn’t necessarily on the decline. He still has a lot left in the tank, he can still contend and he will be a tough out for anyone standing in front of him. But, dropping back down to Lightweight shouldn’t cross the former 155-pound champion’s mind.

As far as who he should face next, a bout against Santiago Ponzinibbio sounds about right. “The Argentine Dagger” has also been struggling as of late, and is coming off a knockout loss at the hands of Kevin Holland (watch it), which went down at UFC 287 this past April. Overall, Ponzinibbio is 1-3 in his last four fights.

Both men need a big win to prevent further down the pecking order, and this battle of long-time veterans will be a fresh matchup — if you can believe that — since they have yet to face each other.

For complete UFC Vegas 78: “Dos Anjos vs. Luque” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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