UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone square off for a second time in a bout with bigger implications and a much different outlook.
The first fight played second fiddle to Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann a little over two years ago. Cerrone was a perennial contender looking to win his first world title, while dos Anjos was simply aiming to snag a significant win to thrust his name into the elite category.
The search for acceptance ended on that day for dos Anjos, who put Cowboy out to pasture and went on to collect UFC gold from Anthony Pettis. Meanwhile, life in the lightweight division has been like a scene out of Groundhog’s Day for Cerrone, who is still a perennial contender vying for his first taste of MMA gold.
The 32-year-old veteran hopes to finally break the cycle when he steps into the cage with dos Anjos on Saturday night.
“I can’t wait man. ‘And new’ is going to be what they’re saying. That’s all I got to say—and new,” Cerrone told UFC commentator Joe Rogan at the official weigh-ins on Friday.
Dos Anjos has come a long way since his fledgling contender days. His completely revamped striking coupled with a world-class ground game led him to a dominant decision win over Pettis earlier this year. A win over Cerrone would solidify his status as the baddest man at 155 pounds.
“I’m just happy to be here—no injuries—my body feels 100 percent. I can’t wait to show the world that I’m the best. I came to stay,” said dos Anjos.
The co-headliner features the long-awaited heavyweight fight between former UFC champion Junior dos Santos and former-everything Alistair Overeem.
This gargantuan tussle has been years in the making, and it is only fitting that it comes to fruition in the final fight on Overeem’s UFC contract. Saturday night could very well mark the last time we see Overeem compete under the UFC banner. The longtime heavyweight star has decided to let his contract expire and test the free agent market, and his performance against dos Santos will have a profound impact on his value.
There is no question that Overeem’s UFC run has been a tad underwhelming at best. In nearly four years with the promotion, he has put together a 4-3 campaign with no title fight appearances, and all three of his losses have come by knockout. Dos Santos remains one of the most feared heavyweights on the planet. Overeem would have some serious bargaining leverage if he’s able to pull off the upset.
As for dos Santos, who is already coming off a tough decision win over Stipe Miocic, he could rebuild his case as the top heavyweight contender with a win over Overeem and another Cain Velasquez loss to Fabricio Werdum.
The full results and video from the weigh-ins are posted below:
Main Card (FOX at 8 p.m. ET)
Rafael dos Anjos (154.5) vs. Donald Cerrone (154.5)
Junior Dos Santos (239) vs. Alistair Overeem (243)
Nate Diaz (156) vs. Michael Johnson (155.5)
Karolina Kowalkiewicz (114.5) vs. Randa Markos (116)
Preliminary Card (FOX Sports 1 at 5 p.m. ET)
Myles Jury (146) vs. Charles Oliveira (150.5)
C.B. Dollaway (185.5) vs. Nate Marquardt (186)
Sarah Kaufman (136) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (134)
Tamdan McCrory (185) vs. Josh Samman (186)
Danny Castillo (158) vs. Nik Lentz (156)
Jim Alers (145) vs. Cole Miller (146)
Undercard (UFC Fight Pass at 3:30 p.m. ET)
Leon Edwards (171) vs. Kamaru Usman (171)
Hayder Hassan (170) vs. Vicente Luque (171)
Luiz Henrique (248) vs. Francis Ngannou (254)