The frame opened as many expected. Both fighters used strong head movement and footwork to potshot the other, but it wasn't until a right hook from dos Anjos that cracked Cerrone that things got interesting. The Brazilian followed Cerrone to the mat, avoided the American's best submission attempts, controlled top position and landed a series of hard elbows while Cerrone could only defend underneath.
Cerrone changed things up in the second, but only after it appeared round two would mirror round one. Cerrone eventually scored a trip takedown, but was able to do much with it. With about 45 seconds left in the frame, dos Anjos turned the tables and put the American on his back as he tried to recapture what he earned at the end of the first frame.
After trading hard body, head and leg kicks to open round three, dos Anjos tries to change things up midway through the round with a takedown attempt along the fence, but the Greg Jackson-product would have none of it. From there, Cerrone seemed to loosen up, landing a hard outside leg kick and connecting somewhat at the head as well as stuffing another takedown attempt. He was able to take center of the Octagon and push the Brazilian on his heels, although a major strike remained out of reach.
After three tough rounds, the judges scored it 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 for Rafael dos Anjos.
The Brazilian climbs to 20-6 in professional MMA while Cerrone drops to 20-6 (1).