Shortly after former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos dropped the belt in 2016, he moved up to welterweight, where he had an up-and-down run against the iron of the 170-pound division. He won three in a row to earn a shot at an interim championship, but a loss in that fight started him on a 1-4 skid.
In 2020, dos Anjos returned to his old weight class. And since then, the 37-year-old has won two straight bouts back at lightweight.
On Saturday, dos Anjos (31-13) faces a test in the form of rising contender Rafael Fiziev (11-1), who since losing his UFC debut in 2019 has won five fights in a row. Fiziev’s most recent win, a knockout of Brad Riddell in December, came via spectacular spinning wheel kick.
Dos Anjos is No. 7 in the ESPN lightweight rankings and Fiziev is right behind at No. 8.
The bout will serve as the main event of UFC Fight Night at the Apex in Las Vegas. The fights are on ESPN and ESPN+, with the main card starting at 9 p.m. ET and prelims at 6 p.m.
How to watch the fights
Stream all of the fights on ESPN+: Download the ESPN App
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There’s also FightCenter, which offers live updates for every UFC card.
Saturday’s UFC fight card
ESPN/ESPN+, 9 p.m. ET
Lightweight: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev
Middleweight: Caio Borralho vs. Armen Petrosyan
Men’s bantamweight: Said Nurmagomedov vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
Heavyweight: Jared Vanderaa vs. Chase Sherman
Lightweight: Michael Johnson vs. Jamie Mullarkey
ESPN/ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET
Women’s flyweight: Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes
Men’s bantamweight: Aiemann Zahabi vs. Ricky Turcios
Women’s flyweight: Antonina Shevchenko vs. Cortney Casey
Middleweight: Cody Brundage vs. Tresean Gore
Light heavyweight: Karl Roberson vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu
Men’s bantamweight: Ronnie Lawrence vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov
Reed Kuhn’s betting tip
“It’s possible that Fiziev will be a contender at a lightweight, but dos Anjos isn’t an easy out for anyone, as shown by the 10 rounds he spent going toe-to-toe with the best of the welterweight division. Now back in the lightweight division, at least he won’t give up much size. Fighting on the feet has been Fiziev’s specialty. He’s an impressively accurate striker with arguably sloppy defense. Dos Anjos just pairs well against him, having a more successful ground game and having avoided taking much damage from larger, more dangerous strikers.”
For Kuhn’s suggested bet on the main event and his advice on other fights on Saturday’s card, check out the ESPN+ expert picks and best bets article (link below). It also features analysis by UFC welterweight Michael Chiesa and ESPN’s other betting expert, Ian Parker.