The main event of UFC Fight Night 98 was a matchup between lightweight contenders Rafael dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson. It was RDA's first fight since losing his UFC title to Eddie Alvarez, while Ferguson was seeking his 9th win in a row, and a firm case for getting the next title shot. Fans in Mexico City expected fireworks, and the fight definitely delivered.
Early right hand by Ferguson partially blocked by RDA, who landed a powerful kick to Ferguson's lead leg, and then another one that spun him around. Caught kick by RDA but he didn't take "El Cucuy" down. Two quick rights by dos Anjos but Ferguson answered back. Beautiful counter left by dos Anjos snapped Ferguson's head. Quick right hand by RDA again. Ferguson with his standing elbow. Leg kick and body kicks by Ferguson but RDA countered with a stiff left hand. Nifty leg sweep by dos Anjos sent Ferguson down and the Brazilian had top position. Ferguson got popped as he used his limbs to create the space to get back up. Leg kicks for dos Anjos were instrumental in the opening round, but Ferguson was throwing and landing his own. A very active round for both men but RDA looked to have the early advantage.
Ferguson opened round 2 with two punches and a body kick. Tony found his range and began tagging RDA pretty hard in the face. RDA complained of a finger in the eye and Herb Dean didn't see it. Then as RDA's discomfort was noticeable, Dean called timeout. Replays showed a clear eye poke. The fight resumed and Ferguson upped his aggression. RDA pumped out the jab and a hard body kick. Nice inside elbow by Ferguson, who was frequently switching stances. Jab by Ferguson from southpaw. Good head kick by RDA. Ferguson's jab was landing at a decent clip in the 2nd. Two-punch combination staggered dos Anjos and it was sharp. RDA ate a superman punch off the cage. More jabs and uppercuts by Ferguson while RDA fired off a body kick. Uppercut and a straight right by Ferguson to end the round.
Ferguson swarmed forward and tagged RDA with several punches that backed the Brazilian up. RDA with the takedown attempt but Ferguson instantly rolled him off and got back to his feet. Quality combination by RDA pushed Ferguson back. Spinning backfist missed but a spinning elbow landed for Ferguson. Big exchanges by both men as RDA landed a head kick but Ferguson retaliated with more crisp shots. RDA was bleeding on the right side of his face. Big counter left hook by dos Anjos and then another one to the top of the head by RDA. Brutal leg kick by RDA, too. Body shot by RDA with the right. Ferguson threw two leg kicks. RDA dug into the body with another clean kick to the midsection. Ferguson had his own body work on RDA and went upstairs afterward with a combination. RDA with a much better finish to the 3rd round as opposed to the 2nd, and he got off a spinning backfist to close the round. Terrific fight.
A big knee by Ferguson a minute into the 4th momentarily stunned the former champion. It was one of the best strikes landed in the fight. Rolling thunder time for Ferguson but RDA shut it down. Good uppercut by Ferguson but RDA had his own uppercut score. Hard body shot and another slew of punches by El Cucuy. RDA changed levels for a takedown but Ferguson never gave him a chance to get in deep. Body shot and a right hand by Ferguson. RDA with a strong left hook but Ferguson took it well. Leg kick by Ferguson. Massive left by Ferguson caught RDA's attention. Takedown attempt by Ferguson may have been a decoy to set up strikes on the way up, and he backed RDA up and jarred him with a couple more punches.
Ferguson continued to push the pace, even at high altitude in a grueling fight, and attacked from all angles. Left hook to the body and then upstairs by Ferguson. RDA's output was not up to Tony's level in the first half of the final round. He did connect with his umpteenth body kick of the fight. They both traded punches on the inside but RDA was bleeding more from that right eye. Heavy leather exchanged once again with both men landing brutal punches, but they both have dynamite chins. Buckling leg kick by RDA in the final minute of the 5th round of a phenomenal fight. Nice right hand by Ferguson with 20 seconds left. Ferguson clowned around a little bit in the final seconds before the horn sounded, but it didn't matter. A great win and a career-defining performance by El Cucuy.
Official result: Tony Ferguson def. Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision (48-47 x3)