Michael Chiesa utilizes ground game to defeat Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision

(L-R) Michael Chiesa attempts to secure a choke submission against Rafael dos Anjos during UFC Fight Night at PNC Arena on Jan. 25, 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

On Saturday night in Raleigh, North Carolina, Michael "Maverick" Chiesa defeated former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision in a welterweight bout.

The co-main event was a jiu-jitsu packed fight between two high-level black belts.

Despite both fighters being former lightweights, Chiesa entered the bout as the much bigger man. As the fight began, dos Anjos' advantage on his feet became clear. Early in the first round Chiesa took some big shots and looked visually stunned after eating a powerful overhand punch. Chiesa began pressuring RDA, pinning him against the cage and eventually taking the fight to the ground, where he is much more comfortable as a fighter. Chiesa controlled RDA's back for over two minutes, yet RDA remained patient and was able to defend every submission attempt.  

Dos Anjos found his opportunities in the second round, eating away at Chiesa’s lower body with a series of brutal leg shots. Chiesa looked fatigued as he started to breathe heavily and moved with a slight limp. Still, Chiesa seemed to take dos Anjos with relative ease, keeping him on the ground and continuing his control of the fight. 

The third round was similar to the first, with Chiesa continuing his ground control, placing RDA in numerous submissions attempts that many skilled jiu-Jitsu practitioners would tap in. RDA remained calm underneath the much bigger Chiesa and was able to fight back with submission attempts of his own. Chiesa left little options for dos Anjos to attack, earning him the unanimous decision victory. One judge had all three rounds for Chiesa while the two others scored it 29-28 in favor of Chiesa. 

Chiesa kept his post-fight interview short, but called out a big name. "Colby Covington, I'll see you in July." Covington is coming off a knockout loss to welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. This is Chiesa's 3rd consecutive victory at welterweight, keeping him undefeated since moving up to the 170-pound division. Meanwhile, dos Anjos has dropped four of his last five bouts.

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