ORLANDO, FLORIDA---848 days ago, UFC Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and tonight's challenger Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone faced off in a showdown inside Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse. On that night, the two went the distance (3 rounds) in a fight that dos Anjos won by unanimous decision (29-28).
Tonight, the rematch, which held MUCH higher stakes than the first, lasted MUCH shorter in comparison.
Coming out as the aggressor, the champion swiftly landed a solid knee to Cerrone's body. No significant damage done.
A few moments later, dos Anjos again brought the fight to his opponent with a straight left hand that was countered with a one-two. Again, no damage done. But what transpired next, would lead to no recovery and a quick finish.
It began with an RDA power kick to the body, which led to a left straight that knocked Cerrone against the side of the octagon. Next, dos Anjos offered and landed a flurry of punches to further stun the "Cowboy."
Even though the challenger was able to escape, dos Anjos quickly recorded the takedown, mounted the back, and started throwing hammer fists at his opponent's head. It was over! Rafael dos Anjos had successfully defended his title with a 66 second knockout!
He Said It (Part I)
Upon being asked how satisfying it was winning in quick fashion after returning from injury, Rafael dos Anjos said, "I'm so happy, man. I just proved that I've come to this division to stay. All those accusations people were throwing at me, I'm here with my belt. It's just the beginning of my career now."
He Said It (Part II)
"Donald Cerrone is a great opponent. The guy won eight fights straight. It's not easy to do this in the lightweight division, but I have the best team."
---Rafael dos Anjos on Cerrone surviving a large number of significant strikes before being knocked out.
He Said It (Part III)
But out of everything Rafael dos Anjos said immediately after the fight, the most interesting quote came involving new UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor as he said, "Hey mister McGregor, if you want to come my lightweight division, this is my division now." and "I will go to Ireland and face you there." If the "Notorious MMA" decides to test his luck at the new division, Rafael dos Anjos seems already up for the challenge.