Andre Pederneiras: Rafael dos Anjos Can Be Competitive at Welterweight, Lightweight
Just 24 hours after promoting Shooto Brazil 113, Andre Pederneiras was on his way to Orlando to corner Rafael dos Anjos and Matheus Nicolau at UFC on ESPN 42.
Dos Anjos faces Bryan Barberena in a welterweight bout at Saturday’s event, while Nicolau will lock horns with Matt Schnell at flyweight. Pederneiras is optimistic about the prospects of both athletes heading into the card, including dos Anjos’ ability to remain at contender at 155 pounds.
“Sometimes the coach disagrees with the fighter, but it's up to him to make the final choice,” Pederneiras told Sherdog.com. “In my opinion RDA still has all [capabilities needed] to fight for the lightweight title; everything just depends on the matchup of the next fights. In my opinion, he can keep fighting in both divisions.”
The Nova Uniao leader believes Barberena is a good stylistic matchup for dos Anjos’ return to the welterweight division. Dos Anjos last appeared at UFC on ESPN 39, where he suffered a knockout loss to Rafael Fiziev in the fifth round on July 9.
“Barberena has great momentum coming off three straight wins, but Rafael is also in a good place after a war against the best striker in the lightweight division, where he was getting stronger in the fifth round when Fiziev landed a perfect punch on his chin. I see RDA as a bad matchup for Barberena,” Pederneiras said. “He is still competing at a high level. He was champion in the lightweight division and challenged for the interim belt at welterweight, and I truly believe he can remain competitive in both [weight classes] if he wants t
Pederneiras is betting on another strong performance from Nicolau, who is No. 6 in the UFC rankings and has won three straight in the promotion. “There is no easy fight in the Top 10 of flyweight division,” he said. “Nicolau is a truly a hard worker and he is evolving. He has won three straight and he has a great tactical plan to beat Schnell and get closer to the title shot.”
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