Their bout was once booked before at UFC 254, but that got cancelled as Rafael dos Anjos tested positive for COVID-19. The second time the fight was set, Islam Makhachev had to withdraw because of an infection.
Paul Felder stepped in to save the day, but Islam Makhachev is not done with RDA.
Islam Makhachev sends a message to RDA
Rafael dos Anjos stepped inside the Octagon to face Paul Felder for his return to lightweight. Felder impressively cut down from 170 pounds to make weight for the bout in just five days. However, Dos Anjos won the five-round fight via split decision.
After the fight, Dos Anjos' original opponent Islam Makhachev sent him a tweet, saying they should finish their business sometime in the future. He congratulated RDA on the win as well.
Does Islam Makhachev vs. RDA make sense anymore?
Given Paul Felder was the #7-ranked lightweight, it is likely that the win over him would help Rafael dos Anjos crack into the top ten when UFC updates the rankings later this week.
Islam Makhachev is currently ranked at #12, so it definitely makes sense for the original fight to be booked again. The winner of said bout will climb the rungs of the lightweight division.
Dos Anjos has been a Lightweight Champion before, but Islam Makhachev has not. A successful booking at the third time of asking could very well pave the way for a second title for RDA or a first-time championship for Makhachev.
The last time Dos Anjos fought at lightweight was in 2016 against Tony Ferguson. He has been fighting in the welterweight division ever since. With this win, RDA bounced back from back-to-back losses to Leon Edwards and Michael Chiesa.
Makhachev, on the other hand, is on a six-fight winning streak since 2016. He has lost jut once in his career so far, which came in his second UFC outing against Adriano Martins.
Islam Makhachev vs. Rafael dos Anjos would surely be a great contest for the division, as well as the fans. Makhachev deserves to have the fight that he missed twice, that too against someone like RDA.
However, RDA might want to face someone from the top 10 or even top five next, such as Tony Ferguson or Justin Gaethje, if they are willing and available.Published 15 Nov 2020, 22:11 IST