If Rafael dos Anjos (15-6 MMA, 4-4 UFC) were a superstitious fellow, he might wonder what else could go wrong when he fights tonight at UFC on FUEL TV 3.
In the past three years, the veteran lightweight is 4-2.
But were it not for a jaw injury and a close split decision that didn’t go his way, the 27-year-old could easily be 6-0.
The Brazilian looks to buck the fight gods tonight when he meets Kamal Shalorus (7-2-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) at UFC on FUEL TV 3, which takes place at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. Their bout streams on Facebook prior to the FUEL TV-televised main card.
It’s dos Anjos’ first fight since a close split-decision defeat to Gleison Tibau at UFC 139. Prior to the narrow loss, he was on a 4-1 run that included a stunning 59-second knockout of George Sotiropoulos at UFC 132.
The lone defeat during the streak came to perennial contender Clay Guida, and it would have been a signature victory for dos Anjos. But after winning the first two rounds, a first-round jaw injury eventually became too much to overcome, and dos Anjos couldn’t continue midway through the final frame. He was just a few minutes away from the win.
But that was then, and this is now. And dos Anjos doesn’t believe past results are indicative of any future ones.
“I feel great,” dos Anjos today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I’m ready for this fight. I lost the weight [easily], and I’ve recovered all my weight.
“I looked at his eyes (during weigh-ins). I don’t know about him, but I know about me, and I feel 100 percent.”
Prior to tonight’s fight, dos Anjos said he worked on two things: his English and his wrestling. The former helps with interviews like today’s, but the latter is crucial in preparing for Shalorus, a decorated amateur wrestler and grappler. So dos Anjos been training with the likes of UFC middleweight contender Mark Munoz at Reign Training Center in California.
“I trained a lot on my wrestling,” he said. I trained with all the best guys … and I improved a lot.”
Shalorus, though, isn’t a one-dimensional wrestler. In his first five MMA wins, he picked up four knockouts.
But whether standing or grappling, dos Anjos isn’t concerned.
“Nobody knows what happens in a fight, but if he wants to strike (with) me, that’s great,” dos Anjos said. “If he wants to take me down, I’m a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, and I’m ready for him.”