UFC Orlando: Rafael dos Anjos submitted Bryan Barberena.
Rafael dos Anjos defeated Bryan Barberena via submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2 – 3:20 at UFC 281 on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, live from the Amway Center, Orlando, FL.
“Seven years ago, I defended my title against Donald Cerrone in this building. On the undercard were Francis Ngannou and Kamaru Usman. I think I have earned the right to call someone out. Conor McGregor seven years ago we were supposed to fight, and I broke my foot,” said dos Anjos who continued with his call out of McGregor but the microphone cut out, making it difficult to hear what he was saying.
The two fighters opened with a flurry of activity. Barberena and dos Anjos traded strikes and kicks before tying up in a clinch. Dos Anjos was able to bring Barberena to the ground and went for an arm-triangle choke. The fence prevented dos Anjos from getting proper positioning to apply the choke with as much pressure as possible. Dos Anjos released the choke and started landing powerful strikes. Barberena struggled to off of his back. Eventually, Barberena made his way back up to a knee but the round concluded with dos Anjos in a dominant positioning.
Barberena was aggressive coming out of his corner. Dos Anjos was able to engage in a clinch and change the pace of the fight. Dos Anjos went for a takedown and eventually got Barberena down to the ground. Barberena got back to the ground but dos Anjos tripped him and got side control. Dos Anjos went for an armbar. In his attempt to defend the submission, Barberena allowed dos Anjos to transition and take Barberena’s back. Dos Anjos got both of his hooks in and locked in a rear-naked choke. In addition to the choke, dos Anjos started cranking Barberena’s neck, forcing him to tap out.
Barberena entered Orlando on the best run since joining the UFC, winning three straight fights. In addition to winning three in a row, Barberena picked up three Fight of the Night bonuses in his last four fights. Barberena knocked out former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in his last fight at UFC 276.
Dos Anjos returned to welterweight on Saturday after fighting at lightweight in his previous three fights. Between 2017 and 2020, dos Anjos fought at welterweight, losing an interim title fight against Colby Covington. The former lightweight champion, dos Anjos, was knocked out by Rafael Fiziev in his last fight and decided to move back up to welterweight. With his victory over Barberena, dos Anjos surpassed eight hours of Octagon time, the most in UFC history.