Jason High will receive quite an assignment in his first UFC lightweight test this weekend at Fight Night 42. “The Kansas City Bandit” will square off top-10 contender Rafael dos Anjos in Albuquerque, New Mexico. High will be looking to run his current win streak to three while RDA finds himself in bounce-back mode.
High couldn’t have asked for much tougher competition for his 155-pound debut, but is confident he can make an immediate impression in his new weight class. He’d pondered the move down from welterweight for some time before finally pulling the trigger. High hasn’t fought since a victory over Anthony Lapsley at UFC 167.
He had been slated to meet Beneil Dariush at Fight Night 35, but High was forced out of that contest because of appendicitis. He’s on an impressive roll with nine wins in his last 10 bouts, with that lone setback coming against Erick Silva. High has 11 finishes by knockout or submission and is 2-1 in his second Octagon tenure.
Dos Anjos elected to make a quick turnaround after seeing his hopes of a title shot dashed at UFC on FOX 11. The Brazilian’s five-fight win streak went up in smoke in April against Khabib Nurmagomedov in Orlando. “The Eagle’s” superior grappling skills were on full display as he controlled and dominated dos Anjos over three rounds to earn the unanimous decision.
At this stage of his career, the no. 6-ranked dos Anjos can’t afford another setback given the strong state of the lightweight division. If he wants to remain a major player, he needs to take care of High. Dos Anjos has compiled a 9-5 record inside the Octagon, with his most notable victory coming against Donald Cerrone.
This should be a solid matchup between two skilled fighters. The 32-year-old High is hoping that the weight drop will prove a beneficial move at this stage of his career. There’s no doubt an upset win over dos Anjos would be the biggest of his career, and would set him up for another major opportunity moving forward.
Meantime, dos Anjos will be out to prove that he remains a legitimate title threat in the 155-pound landscape. A strong performance in New Mexico would likely earn him a future date against a fellow title contender.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports