Dos Anjos and Ferguson

This Saturday the UFC returned to Mexico City for UFC Fight Night 98. In the card’s main event, Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson defeated former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos for a potential number one contender spot. The fight began with dos Anjos finding early success on his feet. He used his trademark pressure style to push Ferguson to the fence and land hard body shots. Dos Anjos also utilized brutal leg kicks in round one to hinder Ferguson’s attempts at entering with a combination. In round two, however, Ferguson made the necessary adjustments and began utilizing his reach to keep Rafael at a distance.

Rafael dos Anjos is at his best while pressuring his opponent, but when he is being backed up and put on the defensive, holes begin to show. This is exactly what Ferguson was able to do. “El Cucuy” would change stances, vary the direction at which he entered with his strikes, and would use high/low combinations where he would go to the body, then to the head, or vice versa. Rafael answered with strong body shots of his own in the third round, but Ferguson was able to adjust once again in rounds 4 and 5 in order to win a unanimous 48-47 decision on the judge’s scorecards.

This bout proved to be critical in the lightweight standings as Ferguson’s win may have put him at the top of a long list for the next title shot in the lightweight division where champion Eddie Alvarez takes on Conor McGregor at UFC 205.

UFC Undercard

Elsewhere on the card, Diego Sanchez defeated and out-grappled UFC newcomer Marcin Held, and Ricardo Lamas picked up a submission stoppage via guillotine choke against Charles Oliveira. Another UFC newcomer in Alexa Grasso put a brutal beating on Heather Jo Clark to add another intriguing prospect to the growing women’s strawweight division, and in one of my favorite fights of the night, the unheralded Joe Soto transitioned beautifully into a heel-hook to submit Marco Beltran.

All in all, UFC Fight Night 98 proved to be another solid card with its share of brutal scraps and smooth grappling.

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