Rafael dos Anjos returns to 170, meets Bryan Barberena


Granted, he’s done chasing after UFC titles, Rafael dos Anjos is also forgoing drastic weight cuts.

Former UFC lightweight champion dos Anjos (32-14 MMA, 20-12 UFC) will return from his brief return to the division where he once held gold and move up to welterweight for a clash with Bryan Barberena (18-8 MMA, 9-6 UFC) at UFC Fight Night on Dec. 3.

MMA Junkie confirmed to several people familiar with the matter that it was agreed that the match would take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Brazilian outlet Combate was the first to report the pairing.

Dos Anjos, 37, won the lightweight title at UFC 185 in 2015 when he defeated Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision. At UFC on FOX 17, he recorded his only title defense by quickly finishing Donald Cerrone in 66 seconds.

In the years since, dos Anjos’ journey has been a series of ups and downs against the best fighters available in the lightweight and welterweight divisions.

Returning from a 15-month layoff in March, dos Anjos beat Renato Moicano to earn back-to-back wins after a split wink over Paul Felder in November 2020. However, on his second outing of the year calendar, Rafael Fiziev finished the former champion early in the fifth round of their main contest.

He will struggle to come back to 170lbs as Barberena, 33, is riding high. ‘Bam Bam’ has won four of his last five but recently scored a hit against legends of the game when he scored a second-round TKO of Robbie Lawler at UFC 276 in July after edging out Matt Brown by split decision at the UFC on ESPN 33 in March. .

The latest UFC Orlando lineup includes:

  • Stephen Thompson vs. Kevin Holland
  • Derek Brunson vs Jack Hermansson
  • Tracy Cortez vs. Amanda Ribas
  • Darren Elkins vs. Jonathan Pearce
  • Matheus Nicolau vs. Matt Schnell
  • Eryk Anders vs. Kyle Daukaus
  • Marc Diakiese vs. Michael Johnson
  • Clay Guida vs. Scott Holtzman
  • Emily Ducote vs. Angela Hill
  • Bryan Barberena vs. Rafael dos Anjos
  • Yazmin Jauregui vs Istela Nunes

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