Rafael dos Anjos

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Rafael dos Anjos
Rafael dos Anjos.png
dos Anjos pictured with the UFC Lightweight Championship in 2016
Born (1984-10-26) October 26, 1984 (age 36)
Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil[1]
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)
DivisionLightweight (2004–2016, 2020–present)
Welterweight (2017–2020)
Reach70 in (178 cm)[3]
StyleBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fighting out ofHuntington Beach, California, United States
TeamEvolve MMA (2009–present)[4]
RDA Academy
RVCA Training Center
Kings MMA (2012–2016)[5][6]
Rank4th degree[7] black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Aldo "Caveirinha" Januário and Philipe della Monica[8][7]
Black prajied in Muay Thai under Rafael Cordeiro[9]
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout5
By submission10
By decision15
By knockout3
By decision10
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Medal record

Rafael Souza dos Anjos[10] (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁafaˈew duz ˈɐ̃ʒus]; born October 26, 1984) is a Brazilian-American professional mixed martial artist. He currently fights in the Lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is a former UFC Lightweight Champion. He has also competed at Welterweight. As of July 19, 2021, he is #7 in the UFC lightweight rankings.[11]

Early life[edit]

In a 2014 interview, dos Anjos stated that he was a troubled child, getting into fights in his hometown Niterói, Rio de Janeiro.[12] He originally started training Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Daniel Matheus at age of nine.[12] According to dos Anjos, he stopped fighting on the streets when he began training jiu jitsu.[12]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

The majority of dos Anjos' early career took place in his native country of Brazil. He would start off his career with a record of 2-2, with both losses coming by way of split decision. Dos Anjos would then rack up 9 straight victories, which included 6 submissions. His 11-2 record in regional circuits would be enough to get a call from the UFC.[13]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Dos Anjos made his UFC debut at UFC 91, losing to Jeremy Stephens. The fight was stopped in the third round after an uppercut knocked out dos Anjos.

For his second UFC fight, dos Anjos was next given Tyson Griffin at UFC Fight Night 18. The fight was a back-and-forth battle that showcased heart, skill, and technique from both fighters but ended in a unanimous decision loss for dos Anjos. The bout was awarded Fight of the Night honors.[14]

Dos Anjos was scheduled to fight Matt Wiman on September 19, 2009 at UFC 103, but due to a knee injury suffered by Wiman, he instead faced Rob Emerson.[15] Dos Anjos got a much-needed win by unanimous decision.

Dos Anjos then defeated Kyle Bradley via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 20.[16]

At UFC 112, dos Anjos defeated Terry Etim via second round armbar submission, earning him Submission of the Night honors.[17]

Dos Anjos faced Clay Guida on August 7, 2010 at UFC 117.[18] Guida appeared to injure the jaw of dos Anjos in the first round with a hook and would go on to defeat dos Anjos by submission (jaw injury) after dos Anjos tapped from the pressure being applied to his jaw while Guida had arm-and-head control.[19]

Dos Anjos next faced George Sotiropoulos on July 2, 2011, at UFC 132 after replacing an injured Evan Dunham.[20] Dos Anjos showcased his vastly improved striking skills, knocking out Sotiropoulos cold in the first round with a right hand.

Dos Anjos faced Gleison Tibau on November 19, 2011 at UFC 139.[21] He was defeated by split decision.

Dos Anjos faced Kamal Shalorus on May 15, 2012, at UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier.[22] After dropping Shalorus with a head kick, dos Anjos submitted him via rear-naked choke in the first round.

After taking virtually no damage in the fight against Shalorus, dos Anjos quickly returned to face Anthony Njokuani on July 11, 2012 at UFC on Fuel TV: Munoz vs. Weidman, replacing an injured Paul Taylor.[23] He won the fight via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 29–28), dominating Njokuani both in striking and grappling.

Dos Anjos faced Mark Bocek on November 17, 2012 at UFC 154.[24] He won the fight via unanimous decision, once again having the edge in both standup and ground fighting.

Dos Anjos next faced Evan Dunham on May 18, 2013 at UFC on FX 8.[25] He won the fight via unanimous decision. However, there was some controversy, as 10 out of 10 media outlets scored the bout in favor of Dunham.[26]

Dos Anjos faced Donald Cerrone on August 28, 2013 at UFC Fight Night 27.[27] Dos Anjos won via unanimous decision.

Dos Anjos was expected to face Rustam Khabilov on February 22, 2014 at UFC 170.[28] However, the bout was scrapped in the weeks leading up to the event. Dos Anjos instead faced Khabib Nurmagomedov on April 19, 2014 at UFC on Fox 11.[29] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.

Dos Anjos faced Jason High on June 7, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 42.[30] He won the fight via TKO due to punches in the second round.

Dos Anjos headlined UFC Fight Night 49 against Benson Henderson on August 23, 2014.[31] He won the fight via knockout in the first round after dropping Henderson with a flying knee and rendering him unconscious with a follow-up left hook.[32][33] The win also earned him his first Performance of the Night bonus award and made him the only man to stop Henderson by strikes.[34]

Dos Anjos faced Nate Diaz on December 13, 2014 at UFC on Fox 13.[35] He won the fight by unanimous decision (30–26, 30–26, and 30–27). He dominated the first two rounds with superior striking and vicious leg kicks with the third round being controlled by dos Anjos on the mat.

UFC Lightweight Championship[edit]

Dos Anjos faced Anthony Pettis for the UFC Lightweight Championship on March 14, 2015 at UFC 185.[36] Dos Anjos won the bout via unanimous decision in a dominant fashion, earning him the UFC Lightweight Championship. After the fight, dos Anjos revealed that he had torn his MCL only a few weeks before the bout.[37] The win once again earned him a Performance of the Night bonus award.[38]

For his first title defense, dos Anjos faced Donald Cerrone in the main event at UFC on Fox 17 on December 19, 2015.[39] He won the fight via TKO at just 66 seconds into the first round, resulting in the fastest finish in UFC Lightweight title history.[40] The win also earned dos Anjos his third Performance of the Night bonus award.[41]

Dos Anjos was expected to face Conor McGregor on March 5, 2016 at UFC 196 for his second title defense of the lightweight belt.[42] However, it was announced on February 23 that dos Anjos had been forced out of the fight after breaking his foot during training.[43]

In his second title defense, dos Anjos faced Eddie Alvarez on July 7, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 90.[44] Despite closing as a three-to-one favorite to win the fight, he lost the bout via TKO in the first round.[45] Reports arose after the Alvarez fight that dos Anjos had passed out for three minutes moments before going out to fight, and that this was due to the effects of the gruelling weight cut.[46][47]

Post championship[edit]

Dos Anjos next faced Tony Ferguson on November 5, 2016 at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale.[48] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[49] Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night for their performance.[50]

Move to Welterweight[edit]

Dos Anjos faced Tarec Saffiedine, former Strikeforce title holder, in a welterweight bout on June 17, 2017 at UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correia.[51] He won the fight via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 29–28).[52]

Dos Anjos faced Neil Magny on September 9, 2017 at UFC 215.[53] He won the fight via arm-triangle choke submission in the first round.[54] This win also earned dos Anjos his fourth Performance of the Night bonus award.[55]

In a title eliminator, Dos Anjos faced Robbie Lawler on December 16, 2017 in the main event at UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. dos Anjos.[56][57] Dos Anjos' fight plan relied heavily on low leg kicks and constant combos consisting of body shots and leg kicks. He won the fight by unanimous decision.[58]

Dos Anjos fought Colby Covington on June 9, 2018 at UFC 225 for the UFC interim Welterweight Championship.[59] He lost the fight by unanimous decision.[60]

Dos Anjos faced Kamaru Usman on November 30, 2018 at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale.[61] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[62]

Dos Anjos faced Kevin Lee in Lee's welterweight debut at UFC Fight Night 152 on May 18, 2019.[63] He won the fight via an arm triangle submission in the fourth round.[64]

Dos Anjos faced Leon Edwards on July 20, 2019 at UFC on ESPN 4.[65] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[66]

Dos Anjos faced Michael Chiesa on January 25, 2020 at UFC Fight Night 166.[67] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[68]

Return to Lightweight[edit]

dos Anjos was expected to face Islam Makhachev on October 24, 2020 in dos Anjos' return to the lightweight division at UFC 254.[69] However, on October 8, 2020 it was reported that dos Anjos tested positive for COVID-19 and he was removed from the bout.[70] The pairing was left intact and rescheduled for November 14, 2020 at UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. dos Anjos.[71] However, on November 8, it was reported that Makhachev was forced to pull from the event due to injuries.[72] On a quick turnaround, it was announced Paul Felder stepped up to replace Makhachev on five days notice.[73] dos Anjos went on to defeat Felder via split decision.[74] This fight earned him the Fight of the Night awards.[75] The out with Makhachev was rescheduled and wasexpected to take place on October 30, 2021 at UFC 267.[76] However, yet again, do Anjos was forced to pulled from the event, citing injury. If is unclear if a replacement would be sought for dos Anjos by the UFC officials.[77]

Fighting style[edit]

Dos Anjos is known for his aggressive, high-volume striking, physical strength, and strong takedown capabilities.[78][79] He will often come out aggressively in a Muay Thai stance, then use feints and kicks to back his opponent against the cage while swarming them with flurries of punches as well as takedowns. He is particularly noted for his left kick to the body and right hook to the head; he uses these strikes to limit his opponent's lateral movement as they attempt to get their backs away from the fence. Under trainer Jason Parillo, dos Anjos developed a refined boxing game in 2017. On the ground, he is noted for his powerful ground-and-pound, which includes punches and sharp elbow strikes.[78] In addition to his striking, Dos Anjos is a high-level black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.[8]

Dos Anjos trains out of Evolve MMA in Singapore and at Team RDA in California; he formerly trained at Kings MMA but left after losing to Eddie Alvarez.[80][81][82] He is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Aldo "Caveirinha" Januário.[8]

Personal life[edit]

After receiving a broken jaw in the Guida fight, dos Anjos now has a titanium-fused jaw that he claims has broken some hands of later opponents.[83] Dr. Johnny Benjamin has disagreed with dos Anjos, pointing out that the titanium plate in his jaw is measured in millimeters.[84]

Dos Anjos is a Christian.[85] Dos Anjos has three children with his wife, Cris.[86] On December 20, 2019, dos Anjos revealed on social media that he and his family have become naturalized U.S. citizens.[2]

Championships and achievements[edit]

Submission grappling[edit]

Brazilian jiu-jitsu[87]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
43 matches 30 wins 13 losses
By knockout 5 2
By submission 10 1
By decision 15 10
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 30–13 Paul Felder Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. dos Anjos November 14, 2020 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Return to Lightweight. Fight of the Night.
Loss 29–13 Michael Chiesa Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. dos Santos January 25, 2020 3 5:00 Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Loss 29–12 Leon Edwards Decision (unanimous) UFC on ESPN: dos Anjos vs. Edwards July 20, 2019 5 5:00 San Antonio, Texas, United States
Win 29–11 Kevin Lee Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC Fight Night: dos Anjos vs. Lee May 18, 2019 4 3:47 Rochester, New York, United States
Loss 28–11 Kamaru Usman Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter: Heavy Hitters Finale November 30, 2018 5 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 28–10 Colby Covington Decision (unanimous) UFC 225 June 9, 2018 5 5:00 Chicago, Illinois, United States For the interim UFC Welterweight Championship.
Win 28–9 Robbie Lawler Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. dos Anjos December 16, 2017 5 5:00 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Win 27–9 Neil Magny Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC 215 September 9, 2017 1 3:43 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Performance of the Night.
Win 26–9 Tarec Saffiedine Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correia June 17, 2017 3 5:00 Kallang, Singapore Welterweight debut.
Loss 25–9 Tony Ferguson Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale: dos Anjos vs. Ferguson November 5, 2016 5 5:00 Mexico City, Mexico Fight of the Night.
Loss 25–8 Eddie Alvarez TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: dos Anjos vs. Alvarez July 7, 2016 1 3:49 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Lost the UFC Lightweight Championship.
Win 25–7 Donald Cerrone TKO (punches) UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs. Cerrone 2 December 19, 2015 1 1:06 Orlando, Florida, United States Defended the UFC Lightweight Championship. Performance of the Night.
Win 24–7 Anthony Pettis Decision (unanimous) UFC 185 March 14, 2015 5 5:00 Dallas, Texas, United States Won the UFC Lightweight Championship. Performance of the Night.
Win 23–7 Nate Diaz Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: dos Santos vs. Miocic December 13, 2014 3 5:00 Phoenix, Arizona, United States Catchweight (160.6 lb) bout; Diaz missed weight.
Win 22–7 Benson Henderson KO (punch) UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. dos Anjos August 23, 2014 1 2:32 Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 21–7 Jason High TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov June 7, 2014 2 3:36 Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Loss 20–7 Khabib Nurmagomedov Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Werdum vs. Browne April 19, 2014 3 5:00 Orlando, Florida, United States
Win 20–6 Donald Cerrone Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann 2 August 28, 2013 3 5:00 Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 19–6 Evan Dunham Decision (unanimous) UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Rockhold May 18, 2013 3 5:00 Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil
Win 18–6 Mark Bocek Decision (unanimous) UFC 154 November 17, 2012 3 5:00 Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Win 17–6 Anthony Njokuani Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fuel TV: Muñoz vs. Weidman July 11, 2012 3 5:00 San Jose, California, United States
Win 16–6 Kamal Shalorus Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier May 15, 2012 1 1:40 Fairfax, Virginia, United States
Loss 15–6 Gleison Tibau Decision (split) UFC 139 November 19, 2011 3 5:00 San Jose, California, United States
Win 15–5 George Sotiropoulos KO (punch) UFC 132 July 2, 2011 1 0:59 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 14–5 Clay Guida Submission (jaw injury) UFC 117 August 7, 2010 3 1:51 Oakland, California, United States
Win 14–4 Terry Etim Submission (armbar) UFC 112 April 10, 2010 2 4:30 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Submission of the Night.
Win 13–4 Kyle Bradley Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Maynard vs. Diaz January 11, 2010 3 5:00 Fairfax, Virginia, United States
Win 12–4 Rob Emerson Decision (unanimous) UFC 103 September 19, 2009 3 5:00 Dallas, Texas, United States
Loss 11–4 Tyson Griffin Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann April 1, 2009 3 5:00 Nashville, Tennessee, United States Fight of the Night.
Loss 11–3 Jeremy Stephens KO (punches) UFC 91 November 15, 2008 3 0:39 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 11–2 Takafumi Otsuka Decision (split) Fury FC 6: High Voltage July 12, 2008 3 5:00 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Win 10–2 Takaichi Hirayama Submission (armbar) Pancrase: Shining 5 June 1, 2008 1 1:25 Tokyo, Japan
Win 9–2 Gabriel Veiga Decision (unanimous) Fury FC 5: Final Conflict December 6, 2007 3 5:00 São Paulo, Brazil
Win 8–2 Danilo Cherman Submission (kimura) Fury FC 4: High Voltage August 4, 2007 2 3:38 Teresópolis, Brazil
Win 7–2 Maurício Souza Submission (rear-naked choke) XFC Brazil April 29, 2007 1 6:24 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Win 6–2 Thiago Minu Submission (rear-naked choke) 1 7:28
Win 5–2 Johil de Oliveira Submission (rear-naked choke) Juiz de Fora Fight 4 April 7, 2007 1 2:50 Juiz de Fora, Brazil
Win 4–2 Mateus Trindade Decision (unanimous) Shooto Brazil 11 March 24, 2007 3 5:00 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Win 3–2 Diogo Oliveira Submission (armbar) Top Fighter MMA 2 October 25, 2006 2 N/A Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Loss 2–2 Jorge Britto Decision (split) Arena BH Combat June 4, 2005 3 5:00 Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Win 2–1 Felipe Arinelli TKO (doctor stoppage) Juiz de Fora Fight 2 April 26, 2005 2 N/A Juiz de Fora, Brazil
Win 1–1 João Paulo Almeida Decision (unanimous) Arena BH October 9, 2004 3 5:00 Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Loss 0–1 Adriano Abu Decision (split) Juiz de Fora Fight 1 September 25, 2004 3 5:00 Juiz de Fora, Brazil


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ralphy dos Nachos' profile". Tapology.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "One more goal accomplished in our life, today we've became US citizens. I came to this country 8 years ago with my family to give my kids opportunities I didn't have in life, thank you @wilneroreilly for making this whole process smooth and flawless as always. Brazilian roots🇧🇷 American growth🇺🇸 #newUSCitizen". December 20, 2019.
  3. ^ "Rafael dos Anjos". UFC.com. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  4. ^ "Rafael Dos Anjos – Evolve MMA Singapore". evolve-mma.com. 24 November 2015. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  5. ^ Kevin Wilson (June 8, 2018). "The Film Room: Rafael Dos Anjos". sherdog.com.
  6. ^ Lucas Rezende (October 31, 2016). "RDA parts ways with Kings MMA, wishes to start his own gym". bloodyelbow.com.
  7. ^ a b @rdosanjosmma (August 21, 2020). "Got promoted today 4th degree on my black belt by my Jiu Jitsu coach and brother @philipefurao @graciebarra_hq <><><> Fui promovido 4th grau na minha faixa preta hoje pelo meu grande amigo e professor @philipefurao muitos anos de amizade. Obrigado por tudo lek 👊🏼💥#Jesus #Jesusfirst". Retrieved November 17, 2020 – via Instagram.
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  9. ^ "Rafael dos Anjos". Facebook. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Anthony Pettis
7th UFC Lightweight Champion
March 14, 2015 – July 7, 2016
Succeeded by
Eddie Alvarez