Islam Makhachev vs Rafael Dos Anjos Re-Booked as Headliner For UFC Fight Night

Published 11/01/2020, 8:23 AM EST

Islam Makhachev will finally get to fight Rafael dos Anjos, as the pair have been booked to be the headliners for the November 14 card. They were originally supposed to fight at UFC 254, but RDA tested positive for COVID-19. The UFC tried to find Islam a fight, but they failed. After that happened, it seemed obvious that the UFC will rebook this match.

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Makhachev is 7-1 in his UFC career, last losing in 2015. He has won six straight fights, and Dos Anjos is easily his biggest test yet. The former Lightweight champion has been on a skid for the last few years. RDA has won only one of his last five fights, falling on hard times against the division’s elite. He last fought Michael Chiesa and lost via unanimous decision in January 2020.

Islam is touted for big things in the division, with his manager even asking Tony Ferguson to fight him. That would be a big step up from his last opponent, Davi Ramos, whom he beat on UFC 242 via unanimous decision.

Islam Makhachev on an upward trajectory

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This is a very typical match-up. A rising contender meets a falling former champion in a big fight. Either the contender proves his worth by beating the veteran, or the veteran bounces back with a big win to arrest his fall. Donald Cerrone has literally made a career out of having moments like that.

RDA is one loss away from dropping out of the rankings. If he sees a future in this division, he needs to get the better of Makhachev. He has more experience and is way more battle-tested. But Makhachev has the supreme ability to go along with his motor, which makes even fighters like RDA sweat.

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However, as an unranked fighter, Makhachev must be careful about how he approaches this fight. It is good that he trains with Khabib Nurmagomedov, a man who beat Dos Anjos in 2014. But RDA got to the title before Khabib did.

Makhachev will be the presumed favorite in this encounter and will be expected to further build on his momentum at the expense of the aging and declining Dos Anjos.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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