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‘He won fair and square’ - RDA doesn’t feel ref stopped Fiziev fight early at UFC Vegas 58

The former lightweight champion was on the wrong end of a flash KO in his main event bout against Rafael Fiziev at UFC Vegas 58.

Rafael Fiziev lines up Rafael dos Anjos for the knockout blow at UFC Vegas 58.
Rafael Fiziev lines up Rafael dos Anjos for the knockout blow at UFC Vegas 58.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Rafael dos Anjos put in 20 minutes of grueling, rock solid fighting work against Rafael Fiziev in their main event bout at UFC Vegas 58 last Saturday—only to have it all end in an instant. After losing the fourth round, Fiziev came out in the fifth with guns blazing. Eighteen seconds later and it was all over and ‘Ataman’ had the 8th KO victory of his MMA career.

There were some fans, however, who felt that referee Mark Smith was a little quick on the trigger in awarding Fiziev with the stoppage win. There’s no doubt that dos Anjos went down hard from a left hook, but with just one followup strike on the ground, the stoppage came quicker than most in a sport often marked by prolonged, punishing TKOs.

For his part, however, it doesn’t sound like RDA has any interest in entertaining controversy. Speaking to media after his loss, the Brazilian brushed aside any thoughts that the bout was stopped too soon.

“I don’t think so,” dos Anjos said, when asked if he felt the stoppage was early (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I’ve got to re-watch the tape, but I don’t think so. He won fair and square.

“I’ve got to re-watch it, and I was kind of still dizzy, but yeah it was a tough fight. Rafael was a tough opponent. I trained very hard for that fight ,and I was really feeling I had my momentum, but that’s the game.”

“I think I was going to the fifth, I was like, ‘I have to put the pressure,’ like my style,” dos Anjos added. “I thought he was tired, but he’s dangerous. He’s got heavy hands, and I should have more careful at the beginning of the round.”

That loss marks just the 3rd time in his 45 fight career that the 37-year-old had been finished via strikes. It also broke a two fight winning streak for the Nova Uniao fighter and marked his first defeat since returning to the lightweight division back in 2020.

No word yet on what may be next for RDA. But for the immediate future, at least, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be rushing right back into competition.

“Now, it’s time to go back home and enjoy my family a little bit and see what the future holds.”