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Round 1: Referee Herb Dean will be in charge for this interim title fight. No glove touch ahead of this one. They come out swinging right away and Colby is able to jump in and get a takedown. Dos Anjos uses the fence to get back up, but Covington is holding on to a body lock. He’s muscling Dos Anjos down, but dos Anjos again stands up. Covington already pushing the pace. They separate. 1-2 connects for dos Anjos as Covington forces a grapple situation against the cage. Great takedown defense by dos Anjos. Short elbow lands for Covington. Round kick partially connects for Covington. Dos Anjos throws an uppercut that hits the body as Covington continues to come forward. Punch lands in the clinch for Covington who has been keeping up the pressure for three minutes. He drops down for a takedown by absorbs some elbows from dos Anjos. Another uppercut to the body, then a knee by dos Anjos. Covington connects with a pair of leg kicks. They trade kicks to the body. Covington’s continues to initiate the clinch, but cannot get a takedown like he did at the start. High paced opening period.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, dos Anjos.
Round 2: Covington explodes early and gets the takedown, but once more cannot hold dos Anjos down. He is just looking to bully the former lightweight champion. Elbow inside by Covington and they separate. Dos Anjos lands a kick to the body. Inside leg kick by Covington. 1-2 for RDA, but Covington again presses him against the cage. He’s looking for a double leg and almost gets it, but dos Anjos scrambles out. Covington eats a body shot. And another one. Left hand for Covington scores. Takedown defense for dos Anjos is holding up. Covington not afraid to stand and trade, though his body is taking a lot of damage. Uppercut by Covington lands solidly. Back to the fence. Another good uppercut for Covington and he’s able to drag dos Anjos down with about 45 seconds to work. He’s trying to score as much as he can with little shots on the mat and could steal this round with the takedown. Dos Anjos back up. Both men are bloodied, Covington around the face, dos Anjos with a cut around his left ear.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, dos Anjos. Overall 20-18, dos Anjos.
Round 3: Covington coming forward with the jab, he absorbs another uppercut to the body, but clinches up. Dos Anjos slips out. 1-2 scores for Covington. He’s having success with leg kicks as well. Back to the clinch. Knee to the body by dos Anjos. Covington explodes with a short elbow. They separate. Kick to the body and a kick to the leg by Covington. Jab connects for Covington and it allows him to get inside for a body lock. Accidental low blow by Covington as both men throw kicks. Covington smiles as he’s throwing a lot of volume punching out there. He’s keeping dos Anjos stuck to the fence. They break and dos Anjos throws a rapid 1-2. Covington eats it, goes in with a knee to the body, and clinches up. Body kick for Covington lands, then punches over the top. He’s deep in on a takedown attempt and now he’s positioning himself behind dos Anjos. Dos Anjos fights off the hands to get back into a neutral position. Kick to the body scores for Covington.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Covington. Overall 29-28, dos Anjos.
Round 4: Dos Anjos cracks Covington with a Superman punch. Dos Anjos having success with straight punches. Covington looks to tie him up and he just drives him against the cage. It doesn’t go anywhere and now it’s dos Anjos who goes in for the takedown, and he gets it. Covington quickly gets off his back, dos Anjos having to work from front choke position. Covington looking calm. He powers up and gets dos Anjos back against the fence. The separate and dos Anjos scores a second takedown. Covington uses the fence to walk back up. Knees to the thigh by dos Anjos. He gets a third takedown, though it doesn’t last long. Covington finally breaks dos Anjos’s grip. Dos Anjos trying to slip punches, but Covington gets an elbow and a jab to land. Covington with a takedown attempt, dos Anjos turns the tables and goes for one of his own, both men able to stay upright. Dos Anjos making Covington pay with knees to the body. Covington with a 1-2, then another, he’s keeping his output high through almost 20 minutes of action. Straight left for dos Anjos, but it’s Covington who’s throwing much more. He gets a single leg to take dos Anjos down and end the round in top position.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, dos Anjos. Overall 39-37, dos Anjos.
Round 5: Covington immediately closes the distance and goes to work against the fence with his grappling. RDA fighting the hands while Covington drives knees into his thigh. Dirty boxing from Covington. A flying knee by RDA doesn’t land clean, Covington drives in for a takedown, gets it, but dos Anjos is back up. Covington making good use of kicks to attack dos Anjos’s body. Covington absolutely smothering dos Anjos now. Dos Anjos tries to create separation, but Covington lands a good left hand and gets right back to pressing dos Anjos against the fence. Jab for dos Anjos, body kick by Covington. Left hand by dos Anjos causes Covington to pause, but he looks like he was just taking a breather. Back to the body lock, then a single leg for Covington. Huge takedown for Covington with a minute to go. RDA able to use a submission attempt to create. ascramble and get free. They’re swinging with less than a minute to go. Covington clinches up and takes the action to the fence again. They end on another exchange. Excellent, closely contested fight. Interim strap would be well deserved for either man.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Covington. Overall 48-47, dos Anjos.
Official result: Colby Covington def. Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) to become the new UFC interim welterweight champion