Two talented lightweights will be putting significant win streaks on the line when they tangle this weekend at UFC on FOX 11. Both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Rafael dos Anjos have their sights set on a future title opportunity, and the fighter who emerges victorious in Orlando will no doubt be elevated into that conversation.
The Brazilian dos Anjos has been on a major roll with five consecutive victories. His most recent effort was a solid unanimous decision victory over Donald Cerrone at Fight Night 27. It was the most significant win of his Octagon tenure and vaulted him up the ladder to his current no. 5 ranking.
Dos Anjos had been slated to face Rustam Khabilov at UFC 170, but that fight was scrapped due to an injury to his opponent. RDA is known for his solid ground game, with eight of his 20 career wins having come by way of submission. While dos Anjos only has two career knockouts to his credit, there have been improvements to his striking game as was showcased during the Cerrone fight. A sixth straight victory against a dangerous and unbeaten opponent in Nurmagomedov would definitely make a strong case for a future title shot.
Nurmagomedov has been an absolute beast since joining the UFC. He’s a perfect 5-for-5 inside the Octagon, including a dominant decision win his last time out at UFC 165 against seasoned veteran Pat Healy. He’s also looked impressive in victories against Kamal Shalorus, Gleison Tibau, Thiago Tavares and the dangerous Abel Trujillo.
The decorated Combat Sambo specialist has been victorious in all 21 career fights and has earned a reputation according to UFC President Dana White as being the man no one wants to fight. “The Eagle” has produced 14 finishes by knockout or submission, and a victory against the surging Brazilian would make his case for a title shot even stronger.
The Russian fighter has shown himself to be the complete package as he possesses solid striking skills along with superior grappling and wrestling abilities. The no. 7 ranked Nurmagomedov is a formidable test for anyone in the lightweight division.
This is a tremendous matchup with plenty at stake for both competitors. While dos Anjos and Nurmagomedov don’t have the high profiles of some of the other top contenders, it’s clear that the winner of this compelling matchup will play a prominent role in the title picture.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports