Islam Makhachev offers to step in against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 272 after Fiziev pullout

Lightweight contender last fought on Sunday, but wants to compete again this weekend in Las Vegas

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - September 07, 2019: Lightweight bout between Davi Ramos and Islam Makhachev (red shorts, winner) in the Main card at UFC 242. Saturday the 7th of September 2019. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Islam Makhachev has offered to make a sensational return to the octagon at UFC 272 this weekend to face long-time rival Rafael dos Anjos – one week after his victory against Bobby Green.

News broke early on Tuesday that Rafael Fiziev, Dos Anjos’ original opponent, had been pulled from Sunday’s card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas after he tested positive for Covid-19. The lightweight bout was set to take place right before the headline clash between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.

The UFC is currently seeking a replacement for Dos Anjos.

However, Makhachev was quick to throw his name into the mix, with the No 4-ranked contender at lightweight posting on social media that he had “unfinished business” with the Brazilian.

“170??? Let’s do it,” Makhachev wrote on Twitter. “We have unfinished business RDA.”

Dos Anjos then responded to Makhachev’s callout by suggesting they meet at 165lbs, before seemingly agreeing to the fight at welterweight.

“170lbs I’m in!!,” Dos Anjos tweeted. “Let’s go!!! Don’t run!!

Makhachev, 30, is coming off Sunday’s win against Green at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, when he sealed a first-round TKO to lift his win streak to 10. Dos Anjos, meanwhile, last fought in November, securing a split-decision against late stand-in Paul Felder. He is a former lightweight champion.

Makhachev (22-1 in professional mixed martial arts) has been lined up to face Dos Anjos three times before, including twice in Abu Dhabi: at UFC 254 in October 2020 and UFC 267 last October. In the first instance, Dos Anjos contracted Covid-19, while the second time he withdrew through injury. In between, Makhachev pulled out of their rearranged bout in Las Vegas with a reported injury.

Within hours of the news regarding Fiziev on Tuesday, a number of other contenders had offered to step in against Dos Anjos (30-13), including Felder and Brazil’s Renato Moicano.

Updated: March 01, 2022, 5:00 AM