The surging Rafael Fiziev appears to be getting his wish – to face a former UFC champion that just so happens to have the same first name.
Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting that agreements are in place for a matchup between Fiziev and Rafael dos Anjos to compete in the main event of the UFC’s Feb. 19 event, which is expected to take place at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Contracts have not been signed for the bout.
Instagram account Full Violence first reported the matchup as a “done deal,” though sources told MMA Fighting that terminology is inaccurate at this time.
Dos Anjos hasn’t competed since defeating Paul Felder in the main event of UFC Vegas 14 in November 2020. The 37-year-old returned to lightweight following an eight-fight run at welterweight in which he went 4-4, including wins over Neil Magny, Robbie Lawler, and Kevin Lee, while also earning an interim title fight against Colby Covington at UFC 225. “RDA” was scheduled to face Islam Makhachev at UFC 267 in October, but was forced to withdraw due to an injury.
Fiziev has become one of the promotion’s up-and-coming fighters and is currently riding a five-fight winning streak. “Ataman” picked up a pair of big wins in 2021, a unanimous decision over Bobby Green at UFC 265 in August, and a third-round wheel kick stoppage of Brad Riddell at UFC Vegas 44.
MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin contributed to this report.