Dos Anjos entered the fight ranked No. 7 and coming off back-to-back wins since returning to the 155-pound division in 2020. Fiziev brought with him a five-fight winning streak.
Both fighters utilized kicks in the early going of the opening round. Dos Anjos closed the distance and pressed Fiziev against the cage. He delivered knees to the legs and looked to get the fight to the ground. Fiziev circled free. Moments later, Dos Anjos changed levels and worked for a takedown late in the frame but Fiziev defended the attempt. Fiziev connected with a combination in the closing seconds that briefly wobbled the former titleholder.
Dos Anjos landed a kick to the body to start the second frame. A minute into the round, Fiziev accidentally eye poked dos Anjos. He was giving time to recover the fight was restarted 30 seconds later.
When the fight resumed, Fiziev landed a left hook. Dos Anjos aggressively tried to get the fight to the ground, but Fiziev’s takedown defense held up again. Fiziev’s strikes appeared to pack more power than dos Anjos’. Dos Anjos again tried to get Fiziev to the canvas but Fiziev remained on his feet. They worked for position in the clinch before separating. A left hook found a home for Fiziev as the pace picked up in the final 30 seconds.
Dos Anjos worked for a takedown early in the third round and scored his first takedown of the fight. Fiziev quickly rose to his feet. He freed himself from the Brazilian’s grasps and the two exchange in the center of the cage. The final minute plays out at distance with both fighters landing.
For the first time in his career, Fiziev entered the fourth round. Dos Anjos clinched but Fiziev quickly circled away. They clinched again and Fiziev pressed dos Anjos against the cage. Fiziev disengaged and dos Anjos leaped in with a flying knee. Fiziev tied dos Anjos up but separated. Dos Anjos closed the distance and slammed Fiziev to the canvas with just over a minute remaining in the round. Fiziev worked his way back to his feet but ate an elbow as the round ended.
Round 5 began with each fighter pressing the action. Fiziev moved in the pocket with a knee and landed with a left hand that dropped dos Anjos. He followed up with a clean right hand and the referee stepped in to stop the fight. Fiziev stopped dos Anjos early in the final round. The official time of the stoppage was 0:18 of the 5th round.
“Now we know who’s the best Rafael in the UFC,” Fiziev said following the knockout win. “Now we know!”
With the win, Fiziev extended his winning streak to six fights. He’ll at least be ranked in the Top 7 in the rankings. For his next bout, the 29-year old wants an opponent ranked in the Top 5.
“Give me someone in the Top 5. I’m ready,” Fiziev said.