Mark RaimondiESPN staff writer3 minutes to read
Luque defeated Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) in the welterweight main event at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. Luque cleverly used strategic grappling, grappling, and clinching against the cage to take out Dos Anjos, the former UFC Lightweight Champion.
“I’m back stronger than ever,” Luque said in a post-fight interview. “I beat an ex-champion at his own game.”
On August 6, 2022, Jeff fired Neil Lockie and he was later diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage. The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) needed additional medical documentation in order for Luque to be allowed to compete. It was licensed two weeks ago.
“For me, it’s a miracle to be here,” Loki said. “A lot of people know what happened to me a year ago. I’ve never been afraid of anything, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it again.”
Upon entering, Dos Anjos was ranked the 10th ranked lightweight in the world. He returned to welterweight for his final bout.
Dos Anjos found success early, landing some hard straight left hands from the southpaw stance and an uppercut superman elbow. Luque was able to recover and counter the takedown attempt and land some ground and pound while Dos Anjos was on his hands and knees.
Luque’s grappling and grappling success continued throughout the fight, to the point where dos Anjos’ angle removed the fighter’s ankle sleeves after the third round because they felt Luque was using them to take down dos Anjos. Luque was active with submission attempts throughout and stomping bloody Anjos with punches as well.
“In the first round, I was afraid I would get knocked out,” Lockie said. “It’s been a year without a fight. I didn’t know how to respond.”
Luque has eight career finishes, the second most allowed by Dos Anjos. Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, a top-ranked wrestler, made 12 against Dos Anjos in 2018.
Luque (22-9-1) snapped a losing streak. The Brazilian-Chilean fighter, who trains from Florida, won five out of seven. Luque, 31, said he hopes he’ll now be back in the headlines mix. He would have been +500 to win the decision, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
Dos Anjos (32-15) defeated Bryan Barberena in his welterweight rematch last December via a second-round submission. The Brazilian-born fighter had won three of his past four bouts. Dos Anjos, 38, held the UFC lightweight title in 2015 and 2016.
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