Rafael dos Anjos is heading back up to 170 pounds.
The former lightweight champion is set to face veteran welterweight Bryan Barberena in a three-round fight at UFC Orlando on Dec. 3 at the Amway Center. Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed the booking with MMA Fighting, and Barberena himself confirmed the matchup on his social media on Thursday. Combate was first to report the fight.
Dos Anjos (31-14) won the lightweight championship in 2015 and defended the belt once before dropping the title to Eddie Alvarez in 2016. Shortly thereafter, “RDA” made the move up to 170 pounds where he was a one-time interim welterweight title challenger. Following a tough welterweight run, dos Anjos made his return to lightweight in 2020, winning a pair of bouts before falling short against Rafael Fiziev earlier this year.
While dos Anjos has been up and down as of late, Barberena (18-8) is currently on the best run of his career. After going 6-6 in his first 12 fights in the UFC, Barberena has now one three in a row, also earning back-to-back “Fight of the Night” bonuses for hard-fought victories over Matt Brown and former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. Barberena now gets an opportunity to add a third MMA legend to his growing list of wins.
Damon Martin contributed to this report.