Rafael dos Anjos’ move to welterweight is official as it has been announced that he will fight Tarec Saffiedine at UFC’s upcoming Fight Night event from Singapore according to Channel News Asia.
Dos Anjos makes the move less than a year after losing his UFC Lightweight Championship to Eddie Alvarez last July. He won the championship in March of 2015 with a decision win over Anthony Pettis and defended the title with a quick TKO of Donald Cerrone later that year.
Since losing the title, dos Anjos fought a tight, five-round decision with Tony Ferguson in November of 2016, but came out on the losing end. He made his intention to move up to welterweight known in January, citing the “hard” weight cut as his reason, while adding that he already reached the top of the 155-pound division.
Saffiedine is a former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion but has seen limited success since moving over to UFC. He’s lost two in a row, succumbing to Rick Story and Dong Hyun Kim, both by decision.
The bout will be a three-round affair, and not the evening’s main event, which has yet to be announced. The card from Kallang, Singapore will be a Fight Pass exclusive and also features Andrei Arlovski taking on Marcin Tybura in a heavyweight tilt. The event takes place on June 17 with tickets going on sale on April 13, with pre-sales beginning on April 11.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: The Rafael dos Anjos who fought Eddie Alvarez last summer looked very different from the dos Anjos who rolled over Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone in 2015. Whether that can be attributed to the weight cut or something else, I’m not sure, but I’m happy to see him move up if he found the weight cut difficult. Many fighters have found success in going up a weight class recently, so dos Anjos has a shot to join them. Tarec Saffiedine is a good first test at 170 as he’s solid, but not an invincible fighter who looks to be serving as a gatekeeper to the UFC top 15 rankings. The fight in June will be a good indicator of what the ceiling might be for dos Anjos at 170 pounds.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Brock Lesnar won WWE’s Universal Championship last night at their WrestleMania event. His on-air manager Paul Heyman recently told the Fight Society Podcast that he wouldn’t rule out another MMA return for Lesnar, despite his retirement and current commitment to WWE. “I think what’s next for Brock Lesnar besides what’s happening in WWE,” Heyman said. “Could it be UFC? Could it be another sport? I think it’s something he’s going to look at and say ‘I bet no one thinks I can do that, all right I’m going to conquer that’.”
-Gegard Mousasi expressed frustration with UFC’s booking of Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre telling MMA Junkie radio that “it doesn’t really make any sense.”
-An Association of Boxing Commission’s (ABC) doctor went on record with MMA Fighting to say that California’s 10-point plan to combat weight cutting in MMA is “pretty close to perfect.” The ABC will vote on the plan in July which would give all affiliated states the opportunity to adopt the proposed rules.
-The UFC 210 Countdown show has been released on YouTube: CLICK HERE
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP
-Dominic Mazzotta vs. A.J. McKee at Bellator 178 on April 21 from Uncasville, Connecticut.
-Naoki Inoue vs. Carls John de Tomas at UFC Fight Night Singapore on June 17.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/2: Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg at WrestleMania. Possible appearances by McGregor, Rousey (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)