Vincente Luque defeated Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47), at UFC Vegas 78 on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV.
"I'm a cold guy but I'm very emotional right now. Everybody knows what happened to me last year. I came back. I got cleared... I came back stronger than ever. I came here beat a former champ at his own game. I came here and did work," said Luque.
Luque ran across the cage to start the fight, landing a body kick. The size difference was noticeable, as Luque looked significantly bigger since the weigh-in. Dos Anjos landed a combination but had his takedown attempt stuffed. The two fighters battled in the clinch as they trade position and knees. Dos Anjos landed a powerful left hand after the clinch broke.
Luque landed a liver shot as the two continued to trade in the middle of the Octagon. Dos Anjos landed a powerful elbow that backed up Luque into another clinch against the fence. Dos Anjos locked in a guillotine but Luque was able to flip over and break the hold.
The second round started with both fighters trading punches and kicks in the middle of the Octagon. The two battled for position against the fence. The two fighters traded takedowns but the opposing fighter was able to get back to their feet with relative ease. Luque went for a standing arm-traingle but dos Anjos defended it. Luque landed a powerful shot with seconds remaining in the round.
Dos Anjos face was badly marked up to start the third round. The fight moved to a clinch with dos Anjos landing a powerful elbow. Luque scored his fourth takedown of the fight but dos Anjos again returned to his feet. Luque was starting to find some success with his left hand as he came forward and applied pressure. Dos Anjos landed a powerful counter. The two fighters traded punches, before dos Anjos went for a takedown. Luque went for a d'arce choke but dos Anjos scrambled out of danger.
Luque continued to find success with his left jab before shooting for a takedown. Dos Anjos was able to defend the takedown attempt. Luque took dos Anjos down eventually but could not do much with it. Dos Anjos returned to his feet and landed another elbow. The two fighters engaged in another extended clinch as they traded body shots.
Between rounds, dos Anjos corner told him that he required a finish to win the fight. The UFC APEX was behind Luque, chanting his name to start the round. The two fighters traded punches before engaging in another clinch against the fence. After breaking the clinch, dos Anjos applied pressure and landed several strikes before engaging in another clinch. Luque scored another takedown but dos Anjos got up and returned to the clinch. dos Anjos kept coming after breaking the clinch, landing some powerful punches. Luque slowed the fight with it moving to the ground. dos Anjos took top position but could not score the knockout before the horn.
Luque and dos Anjos were originally scheduled to fight on July 15 but the fight was pushed back a month. Luque entered Saturday's fight as the 10th ranked fighter in the welterweight division, despite being on a two-fight losing streak and being inactive for the past year. With his victory, Luque improved to 22-9-1 in his career.
Dos Anjos entered the UFC APEX as the ninth-ranked lightweight. The former lightweight champion decided to move back up to welterweight in his last fight, a submission victory against Bryan Barberena. Dos Anjos previously fought at welterweight between 2017 and 2020. With his loss, the 15-year UFC veteran dropped to 32-15.