Fiziev cruised through the first three rounds but it appeared he was starting to slow down after dos Anjos started forging a comeback in the fourth. That changed dramatically when Fiziev unleashed a brutal left hook that whipped dos Anjos’ head around and sent him crashing to the canvas.
Another punch on the ground was enough for referee Mark Smith to stop the contest with Fiziev getting the knockout win at just 18 seconds into the fifth and final round.
“I want to say now we know who is the best Rafael in the UFC,” Fiziev said in celebration. “Now we know. I look at the finish all rounds.
“Sean Shelby, I believe you give me something nice. Give me someone in this top five, I’m ready.”
In his first chance to make serious waves in the lightweight rankings, Fiziev looked calm, cool and collected while facing a serious veteran in dos Anjos
When the action got started, Fiziev was launching kicks in succession and then chipping away at dos Anjos with hard, stinging punches to the head. As dos Anjos did his best to slow down the strikes coming at him, Fiziev was consistently finding a home for his combinations while also showing patience to ensure he had enough gas to go for 25 minutes.
A stinging left hand from Fiziev late in the opening round saw him rattle dos Anjos briefly as the former lightweight champion staggered backwards for just a moment but more importantly it really made him wary about getting over aggressive in those striking exchanges. While Fiziev may have been more dynamic on the feet, dos Anjos was still firing off hard body kicks and then coming back up top with quick, powerful punches as well.
When the lightweights really started trading, Fiziev was consistently finding a home for a left hook that dos Anjos was struggling to avoid. In return, dos Anjos turned to his grappling as he closed the distance and battled to get Fiziev down to the canvas.
To his credit, Fiziev showcased great defense as he kept shrugging off the takedown attempts despite maximum effort from dos Anjos to drag the action to the ground.
As the fight moved into the fourth round, dos Anjos clubbed Fiziev with a hard left hand that was arguably one of his best strikes all night. Fiziev’s output was also starting to slow down slightly but it turns out he was just saving his energy for a final surge in the last round.
Knowing that dos Anjos needed a finish to win the fight, Fiziev jumped right into the fire again and that’s when he threw another of those left hooks that kept paying off for him all night long. The devastating shot snapped dos Anjos head around on a swivel as he fell to the ground where he ate another shot before the referee could rescue him from further harm.
The knockout puts Fiziev on a six-fight win streak but more importantly it pushing him closer to an even bigger fight that could potentially put him in title contention in the near future. There will only be so many lightweights ahead of him in the rankings after dispatching dos Anjos in such impressive fashion as Fiziev will start targeting even best fighters in the world at 155 pounds when he books his next fight.