Former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is returning to his old stomping grounds to face Islam Makhachev in a matchup expected for UFC 254 on Oct. 24.
Makhachev (18-1) is a rising star in the lightweight division. Making his UFC debut in 2015, the 28-year-old is 7-1 with the promotion. On a six-fight win streak and ranked number eleven in the UFC’s lightweight rankings, the Russian most recently dispatched Davi Ramos and Arman Tsarukyan in 2019 but he hasn’t fought yet in 2020.
Makhachev was originally scheduled to face Alexander Hernandez at UFC 249 in April, but the card was eventually moved to May due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to travel restrictions, Makhachev was unable to get into the United States and he was forced to wait for a later date to return to action.
It appears Makhachev will now face off with a former champion in dos Anjos as part of the same card with a lightweight title unification bout as Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Justin Gaethje.
Makhachev vs Dos Anjos : Prodigy vs Veteran
Meanwhile, A former UFC Lightweight Champion is looking to head back to a division, he once controlled. Dos Anjos (29-13) made his professional debut in 2004. The 35-year-old made his UFC debut in 2008. Dos Anjos is known for his aggressive, high-volume striking, physical strength and strong takedown capabilities. He is particularly noted for his left kick to the body and right hook to the head; he uses these strikes to limit his opponent’s lateral movement as they attempt to get their backs away from the fence.
Following multiple fights against a Murders’ Row of fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Benson Henderson, and Nate Diaz, dos Anjos beat Anthony Pettis in 2015 for the UFC Lightweight Title. He lost it the next year to Eddie Alvarez.For dos Anjos, this will be his first fight back at lightweight since 2016 when he faced Tony Ferguson before making his move up to 170 pounds. Since that time, dos Anjos has amassed a 4-4 record including high profile wins over Robbie Lawler, Neil Magny and Kevin Lee.
Since then, dos Anjos has fought for the welterweight division. He is 4-4 in the division, fighting for the interim Welterweight Title once. On a two-fight losing streak, dos Anjos’ last bout was against Michael Chiesa back in January.
UFC 254 will either be taking place in Las Vegas or “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi. The scheduled main event will be a UFC Lightweight Title fight between Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje.
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