The co-main event was put together at the last second but don’t expect that to be an excuse for a lackluster fight. This will be a battle between two fighters with a lot to prove and the desire to climb the lightweight rankings. On just 4 days’ notice, Renato Moicano(16-4-1) agreed to replace Rafael Fiziev and face his fellow countryman Rafael Dos Anjos(30-13).
This isn’t the first time Moicano has entered the cage without much preparation as he beat Tom Niinimaki at the end of 2014 with just 10 days to prepare. Having won 3 of his last 4 bouts, Moicano is on a 2 fight win streak, which includes his most recent win less than a month ago where he tapped out Alexander Hernandez. He has simplified his technique and relied on his ground game to do the work, with 9 of his 16 wins coming via a rear-naked choke. Moicano has taken each of his 7 decisions but has never won via KO/TKO. He has never gone more than 3 rounds with this being only his 2nd opportunity at a 5 round contest. The 32 year old will look to impress and enter the conversation of the top 15 lightweight rankings.
RAFAEL DOS ANJOS
Dos Anjos has had to adjust his technique and strategy going into the PPV but his near 2 decades as a pro will serve him well in doing so. He has not fought since his return to the lightweight division in November 2020 when he took a split-decision win against Paul Felder who had 5 days’ notice. It was just his 2nd win in his last 6 fights and his first split decision victory in the UFC. He has never been submitted and has won via KO/TKO 5 times in his career. The 6th ranked lightweight will look to use his superb striking ability and aggressive takedowns that he has relied on in past competitions. He is comfortable going the distance with an average fight time of nearly 15 minutes. The 37 year old has gone to decision in 25 of 43 bouts including going 5 full rounds 7 times.
Moicano was just visiting family in Brazil but now has to cut weight and cram a whole camp into just 4 days. Meaning, the longer this fight goes on, the more it favours Dos Anjos who has had a full camp to prepare for 5 rounds and is favoured at -165. Dos Anjos’ game plan should be to stick to the basics by being aggressive with his striking and tiring out Moicano. List at +135 to win, Moicano has unpredictability on his side and won’t have to worry about any sort of ring rust having just competed on February 12th. This bout is expected to be contested at a 160-pound catchweight and will serve as a five-round co-main event.