The rising Russian star will meet Rafael dos Anjos in a lightweight matchup at FOX UFC Saturday on April 19 in Orlando, Fla., the UFC announced Tuesday night. Dos Anjos was initially supposed to face Rustam Khabilov at UFC 170 later this month, but Khabilov got hurt. Two other fights were also booked for the FOX card Tuesday: Pat Healy vs. Jorge Masvidal and Brad Tavares vs. Yoel Romero.
Nurmagomedov (21-0) has been on a Twitter campaign for an opponent for what has seemed like months. UFC president Dana White has said on many occasions that people just don’t want to fight him and it’s easy to see why. The 25-year-old, who is ranked the No. 7 contender in the lightweight division, has dominated all five of his opponents in the UFC en route to becoming one of the hottest prospects in MMA.
Dos Anjos (20-6) has stepped up to the plate and he’s no slouch, either. The No. 6-ranked lightweight has won five straight, the last a unanimous decision victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann II in August. The 29-year-old has lost just once since 2010. The winner of this bout will be close to a title shot.
Healy (29-18), another lightweight, is coming off two straight losses, the last one to Bobby Green in December at FOX UFC Saturday: Johnson vs. Benavidez II. Masvidal (25-8), a fellow Strikeforce alum, won three in a row before a close decision loss to Khabilov in November.
As for Tavares and Romero, they both won last month at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou and are each on a roll in the middleweight division. Tavares (12-1) has won five in a row, including a decision nod against Lorenz Larkin at that event. Romero (7-1) viciously knocked out Derek Brunson in January and has won the first three of his UFC fights by devastating KOs.