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Dos Anjos: Fighters get ‘desperate’ against Charles Oliveira, but I’d ‘punish him’ on the ground

Rafael dos Anjos likes his chances against fellow ex-champion Charles Oliveira.

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Since 2018, Charles Oliveira has been able to handle and even dominate the top contenders thrown his way. “Do Bronx” faced the likes of Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and most recently, Justin Gaethje, all of whom he either finished or outclassed.

But for fellow ex-champion Rafael dos Anjos, the problem isn’t so much on what Oliveira brings to the table. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, RDA says he has what it takes to dole out punishment if he gets the chance.

“I think guys knock him down, and they run away from his guard,” he said. “I’m going to take the opportunity to be in his guard and punish him from the top. I think that would make a huge difference. These guys, they knock him down, but they don’t capitalize on it.

“If you see when he took [Dustin] Poirier down, [Poirier] just grabbed him and tried to eat the time,” dos Anjos explained. “It looked like he was desperate while he was on bottom.

“I play well on the bottom. I’m a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, and I know how to control the wrist and how to be calm on the bottom. With [Justin] Gaethje, he gave the back right away, and once you get in the scrambles and these guys give their back right away, that’s how Charles is good.”

Dos Anjos also gave props to Oliveira’s threat from the back, but ultimately isn’t too worried by it.

“He’s very good to take the back and submit people from the back. I fought great guys that take backs very well, and they never took my back. I fought Michael Chiesa, Kevin Lee, even [Renato] Moicano, [and] they got close, but I know how to defend myself,” he said.

“These guys, they kind of get desperate and they give their back right away and that’s when you get choked.”

The 37-year-old dos Anjos, who’s fresh off a win over Renato Moicano at UFC 272, will headline UFC Vegas 58 against Rafael Fiziev this weekend. His main goal is to prove that he is worthy of another crack at 155-pound gold.

“He can do [the flashy moves] with other guys, but I’ll show him otherwise on July 9,” dos Anjos said of Fiziev. “I’m not here to play around. I refuse to lose. I can’t lose. I’m going to bring everything I’ve got. I will finish him. I’m going to bring everything I’ve got. But a highlight-reel performance will put me in a better position for my call-out.

“I’m in the position where I refuse to lose. I refuse to lose. I was having a comfortable life in California but I wasn’t happy so I moved back to Brazil. I’m going to Nova Uniao. I’m going to the favela to train. I brought my family to Brazil, my kids, so I’m not playing around.