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UFC ANNOUNCES KEVIN LEE VS. RAFAEL DOS ANJOS, LUKE ROCKHOLD VS. JAN BLACHOWICZ

Two high-profile matchups are declared for upcoming fight cards, and my first thoughts on both are below.
Kevin Lee vs. Rafael dos Anjos, UFC Fight Night 151
Kevin Lee is done with lightweight as he’ll move up to welterweight and take on former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Fight Night 151. The event is set for May 18 at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York.
Lee (17-4) is 10-4 at the UFC with all his previous bouts occurring in lightweight. After dropping a choice to Al Iaquinta in his final bout, Lee hinted he would be moving up a weight class as at age 26 he has grown from his lightweight framework. Though he will not have the size advantage he’d down at 155lbs, together with his caliber wrestling skills and improved striking Lee should nevertheless be a solid competitor at 170lbs, an the UFC is throwing him into the flame in his divisional debut against a former title challenger in dos Anjos.
Dos Anjos (28-11) is 17-9 in the UFC and has proven to be both an elite lightweight and welterweight. But at age 34, he is finally showing signs of a decline with consecutive decision losses to Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Losing to those fighters on newspaper is not a massive deal, but the Usman struggle was a blowout and it is possible all of the harm has really taken it’s toll on him now. Still, I’d give RDA a fantastic chance to beat Lee in this battle. With Lee’s fame and youth benefit I expect him to be set as a decently-sized favored, making RDA an intriguing puppy play if that’s indeed true.
Luke Rockhold vs. Jan Blachowicz, UFC 239
The very first bout added to UFC 239 is a great one, as former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will proceed up to light heavyweight to shoot on Jan Blachowicz. The card takes place July 6 in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke news of the bout.
Rockhold (16-4) is 6-3 overall from the UFC, with all his past spells coming in middleweight. He hasn’t competed because a KO loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 221 in February 2018, and his last victory was a TKO win over David Branch in September 2017. Despite the long layoff, Rockhold is still a very interesting addition to the UFC light heavyweight division. It wasn’t that long ago when Rockhold was the best middleweight in the world when he won five straight fights by finish in the UFC over Michael Bisping, Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida, Costa Philippou and Tim Boetsch. His shocking KO loss to Bisping from the pair’s rematch in June 2016 will return as one of the game’s biggest all-time upsets and Rockhold has really struggled since then. On the other hand, the thought procedure is that his chin ought to be sturdier going up a weight class, although that remains to be seen.
Blachowicz (23-8) is 6-5 from the UFC and also was recently knocked out by Thiago Santos at an expected light heavyweight title eliminator. Prior to that, Blachowicz had won four consecutive fights by stoppage and was looking like a title contender. The reduction to Santos shows his true place in the division, as a luxury gatekeeper who isn’t quite ready to fight for the belt. That is why this is fantastic matchmaking by the UFC. Blachowicz is highly ranked yet beatable, so there’s a good chance Rockhold defeats him takes his spot in the top-five, which makes him an instant competitor for UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones if this happens. Look for Rockhold to be a strong favorite heading into the bout.
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Read more: nroda.org

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