Rafael dos Anjos beat up Renato Moicano for the best part of five rounds tonight at UFC 272, but never broke the brave and bloodied Brazilian, who had taken the fight on short notice and battled on until the final bell.
Jab for Moicano. He feels out with it again and lands a solid body kick. Now a clinch situation from him and looks for a takedown. He gets to his back and seems to be getting him down, but RDA rights himself.
They break away from the cage for a moment, but then Moicano goes right back into the clinch against the fence again.
RDA able to get away this time. Now it’s RDA who goes in on a well-timed takedown attempt in the middle of the cage and lands it. Moicano able to get back up quickly though.
Head kick attempt from RDA now. He lands a knee to the body. Moicano with punches. Dos Anjos slickly lands another takedown close to the cage this time. Dos Anjos in side control, but Moicano gets him to half-guard.
RDA looking for some ground and pound strikes. Moicano puts him in full guard. RDA postures up and drops down with a heavy punch.
Half-guard for dos Anjos again now and is continuing to maul him with ground and pound. He lands a knee to the upper-body too.
Solid punches to the head. Moicano gets him back into his closed guard. Short elbow for RDA is the final action of a dominant first round for him.
Body kick for RDA. Left hook for Moicano lands nicely. Inside leg kick from dos Anjos. RDA thinks about a takedown, but then settles for a punch upstairs instead.
Moicano trying for an uppercut and knee. RDA ducks under a punch and tries for a single-leg, but Moicano breaks free.
Inside leg kick from Moicano. RDA tries for a single-leg again, but abandons it quickly. Solid punch snaps Moicano’s head back. Moicano then lands a crisp punch of his own though.
RDA now works for a takedown against the cage. He’s working around to his back and tries to drag him down, but it doesn’t pay off.
Back to striking range and RDA lands a left hook. He targets the body too. Another body punch from dos Anjos and Moicano looks for an uppercut.
Moicano a little labored on a one-two and RDA ducks under and lands another good takedown. Now he works from half-guard parallel to the cage.
Moicano gets him back to full guard, but he’s not been able to find a way back to his feet so far. RDA with a nice connection and then passes to half-guard again. He’s now trying to make further progress, but the round is almost over and he lands a couple of elbow strikes instead.
Jab lands for Moicano. Now one for RDA and Moicano grazes with an uppercut. Body kick from RDA. Jab again for Moicano.
RDA misses with a loaded up uppercut. He does connect with a hard body kick though. Moicano attempts a takedown and RDA stumbles backwards for a moment, but remains upright and goes back to striking.
Jab and an uppercut for Moicano. Kick from RDA. Moicano waves him on. Jabs from Moicano. Now a few jabs for RDA and a leg kick too.
Elbow strike and a punch behind it for RDA. Suddenly a head kick lands for dos Anjos and drops Moicano. Before he can recover RDA goes down and starts blasting him with punches. Moicano not willing to quit though and rolls onto his back.
RDA continues to work ground-and-pound and one punch bounces his head off the canvas. Still Moicano battles to stay in the fight and manages to get his opponent back into his full guard.
RDA passes to half-guard and looks to pass to side control, but before he can settle into it Moicano brings him back to his guard.
Dos Anjos straight back to half-guard though. Now he lands a heavy elbow to the head and draws some blood. Moicano survives to the end of the round, but looks a little wobbly as he returns to his stool and has significant swelling to his left eye.
One-way traffic so far though and it’s unfortunate that this is a five-rounder since Moicano came in on such short notice and has already taken a lot of punishment.
Body kick from RDA. Jab from Moicano. Now a one-two lands for him as he digs deep. RDA with the jab, but then Moicano rattles his head back with a nice serious of left and right hands.
RDA wisely goes or takedown and lands it in half-guard. RDA postures up and then is back down in full-guard.
Dos Anos continually passing to half-guard and then getting put to full guard, landing a little ground and pound along the way. RDA in half-guard again and thinks about a choke, but soon lets go.
RDA drops down a hard elbow to the head. He gets the leverage to land more hard elbows and Moicano’s early cut to the eye is bleeding heavier now.
More punches from dos Anjos, but that allows Moicano to stand back up. RDA looking for strikes as the round ends and Moicano almost staggers into the cage on his way back to the corner.
The referee and doctor having a close look at Moicano, but though there is a strong case for this one to be waved off he is allowed to continue, albeit with Mark Goddard warning him that he’s got 30 seconds to turn things around.
RDA with a body punch. He lands punches upstairs and Moicano returns fire with a punch of his own. RDA able to land a takedown off some punches.
Nice butterfly guard work from Moicano to get space to stand back up. Now it’s Moicano who looks to get busy offensively landing a nice uppercut and more punches alongside it.
The action threatens to go back to the mat, but they stay upright. Moicano still caked in blood from multiple cuts, but he’s still battling.
Moicano with a couple of nice punches. RDA with jabs and a right hand. Moicano with a punch of his own. Now Moicano with a hard hook.
They both start trading hard punches now, and Moicano is actually landing some solid blows here. They trade again and again Moicano gets the better of it with hooks as he tries to stage an against-the-odds comeback.
RDA sensibly tries for a takedown to calm things down a bit in the final seconds of the fight, but doesn’t get him down before the final horn sounds.
No doubt about the winner here, with dos Anjos dominating on the mat for long periods, cutting up his opponent in the process, but despite that beating Moicano deserves a lot of credit for never giving up and doing his best to fight back. RDA wins by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 49-44).