Rio is getting another title fight! Not only will UFC 224 have their champion Amanda Nunes defending her belt, but it will also host an Interim title tilt featuring another Brazilian star. Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Brazilian public enemy #1, Colby Covington.

In his last fight, which was also in Brazil, Covington brutalized Damien Maia for 3 rounds for a decision win. The post-fight speech however, is what shook the MMA world. “Brazil, you’re a dump. All you filthy animals suck.” Those words from Colby have made him an enemy of the state, as far as Brazilian MMA fans and Brazilian fighters are concerned.

Currently ranked the #3 welterweight in the world, Colby Covington’s rise through the ranks has come as a surprise. He has only fought two ranked fighters, both in his last two fights – A decision win against Dong Hyun Kim who was ranked #7 at the time and after was the destruction of #3 Damian Maia. Covington’s relentless pressure and wrestling ability makes fighters second guess themselves. His striking is only getting better, which we saw in the Maia fight, where he battered Maia over and over with punches. Colby currently has a 5 fight win streak heading into this fight with Dos Anjos, who Covington asked for.

Colby’s opponent Rafael Dos Anjos is a total savage. Having climbed the ladder at lightweight and capturing the title in an impressive five round beatdown of Anthony Pettis. He defended his belt once by first round TKO over Donald Cerrone, only to lose the championship to Eddie Alvarez and then a follow up decision loss to Tony Ferguson, which prompted Dos Anjos to move up in weight.

Dos Anjos started his welterweight journey against Tarec Saffiedine, who was ranked #11. In that fight we really got to see how Rafael would adjust to the weight. Although the win wasn’t impressive, it showed he had what it takes to win at Welterweight. His next fight was a 3:43 destruction of #6 Neil Magny. Rafael Dos Anjos dropped Magny with a keg kick. He got on top and smothered him before eventually securing an Arm-Triangle for the submission win. In his most recent bout, Dos Anjos met his toughest test to date, a five round war against former welterweight king Robbie Lawler. Dos Anjos made it clear that night he’s a  contender, showing superior movement and cardio, amd got laid waste to everything Robbie Lawler tried, setting Rafael up for this interim title fight.

In this fight I believe Dos Anjos is the more well rounded fighter. I’ve never seen Colby pushed to his limits and tested like Rafael has been. For that reason I have to believe that Dos Anjos wins. I see it playing out with the early rounds going to Covington, before Dos Anjos picks up the tempo in the latter rounds. Using his pressure, I see a late 4th round submission win for Dos Anjos, making him the 5th man in UFC history to hold belts in two different weight divisions.

-Taylor Loder

Images credit: bloodyelbow.com

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