Rafael dos Anjos eats a punch from Renato Moicano during their UFC 272 co-headliner fight. | Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
Rafael dos Anjos gives a candid assessment of his UFC 272 performance, as well as some issues he has with the sport.
Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos put on a dominant performance in his catchweight bout with Renato Moicano on Saturday at UFC 272. RDA was consistent in his attacks in the first four rounds, but he noticeably slowed down a bit in the fifth and final round.
Dos Anjos appeared on The MMA Hour on Monday to discuss his performance. He did admit to relenting in his onslaught, resulting in him absorbing some damage.
“In that 30 seconds of the fight, I got caught on my eye,” dos Anjos told Ariel Helwani. “I got caught right inside my eyeball and it really hurt. That was the only punch that I really felt.
“I managed to finish the fight well, but I just took my foot off the gas a little bit, knowing that I had the fight, but I got caught on the eye and he came with everything he got on the fifth.
“I’m not gonna say I took it easy on him in the fifth. I went, but I took my foot off the gas because I knew I was four rounds ahead and he’s a hard guy to finish, so my coach said don’t take any risks, just go there, eat some time, walk around, but that’s when I got caught.
“I think by taking my foot off the gas, he kind of recovered a little bit and felt more confident, that’s why he came forward and threw those shots.”
Dos Anjos also revealed some conversations he had with his coaches upon seeing Moicano badly beaten up.
“I was [surprised the fight wasn’t stopped],’” he said. “I told my corner after the doctor stepped in from the third to the fourth and the fourth to the fifth, they didn’t stop it in the third and I said, ‘They’re gonna stop it for sure.’ But they didn’t. My coaches told me, ‘Just walk around, eat some time, don’t need to take any risks right now.
“He’s probably gonna try to do some crazy stuff right now. You’re winning the fight already, don’t take any risks.’ But that’s something that I need to work on, because every time I try to not fight my fight, my style, which is going forward and throwing, I don’t fight well.”
As we all saw, the fight went the distance, which dos Anjos didn’t agree with. For him, seeing a lack of corner stoppages in MMA is very frustrating. And he has his own theory as to why that is.
“It drives me nuts because I see guys in boxing, all the time people throw the towel, stop the fight, and we don’t see that in MMA,” he said.
“I think because of the small gloves, coaches think, ‘He’s gonna get a lucky punch and finish the fight,’ but I think we should see that more. I think coaches should be more aware, to know their fighters.
“They’re not reacting, they’re not connecting anything that really hurts the other guy, so let’s stop it because you’re killing your fighter. I think that’s something that the coaches in MMA should be more aware of.”
With the win over Moicano, the 37-year-old dos Anjos improves to a record of 31-13. He’s now angling for a fight against Conor McGregor.