ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Heading into UFC on ESPN+ 10, it had been a long time since Rafael dos Anjos’ last win, 17 months almost to the day. So, what’s 25 more minutes, if necessary?
The way dos Anjos saw it, Kevin Lee was coming up to welterweight for the first time, and carrying 15 extra pounds wouldn’t be easy. Dos Anjos was willing to take Lee into deep waters, and that’s exactly what he did.
Dos Anjos withstood the furious early pace and had Lee right where he wanted him by Round 4, when Lee finally seemed to fade, allowing dos Anjos to finish things off with an arm-triangle choke at the 3:47 mark.
“I think in a five-round fight I knew there would be an advantage for me,” said dos Anjos, who snapped a two-fight losing streak. “And I just kept calm, kept following the strategy, using my experience, and I was able to get it done.”
Indeed, dos Anjos said that even when Lee seemed to be in good positions against the cage, he made sure to hit the “The Motown Phenom” with little shots. It was all part of a game plan to wear him down slowly. By Round 4, coach Jason Parillo told dos Anjos to use his jab and combos more.
“I started doing that, and it opened up a lot,” dos Anjos.
Still, even though the fight went according to plan, it wasn’t easy for dos Anjos, with three rounds of action between the two fighters that went all over the place. He gave credit to Lee for his strong performance and believes his future at 170 pounds could be bright.
“Yeah, he’s tough,” dos Anjos said. “I think he can beat a lot of guys in there. But it takes a little time to make those little adjustments. He’s a tough guy. He’s strong, came strong in the first. He has welterweight strength.”
As for dos Anjos’ future, the 34-year-old former lightweight champion only knows that he’d like to fight “one or two more times” this year. When and where? Sept. 7 for UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi sounds good. Against whom? That’s a tough one.
No matter how things unfold, dos Anjos won’t be lacking for motivation with an 8-month-old son at home.
“I got two kids at home. … That’s my motivation,” dos Anjos said. “I never done anything else in life but training, but fight. God blessed me with this talent, and he gave me the opportunity to do this in my life to support my family, and I’m just grateful for everything he has done for me. That’s my motivation.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: With Kevin Lee's help, Rafael dos Anjos executes gameplan at UFC on ESPN+ 10