Rafael Dos Anjos Tore MCL 4 Weeks Before UFC 185 Title Win over Anthony Pettis

Rafael dos Anjos shocked the MMA universe by dominating now-former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 185. Not just beat, mind you. Dominated.

While winning a UFC title without breaking a sweat is impressive all on its own, dos Anjos‘ victory turned out to be even more impressive than it initially seemed, as multiple reports surfaced that the Brazilian had suffered an MCL tear just a few weeks prior to Fight Night. From Twitter:

MCL tears are no joke. While not as debilitating or time-consuming as the dreaded ACL tear, more than a few bouts have been called off due to partial or complete tears of the ligament. A recent example would be Cain Velasquez’s withdrawal from UFC 180, where he was slated to defend his heavyweight strap from Fabricio Werdum.

At this point, it is unclear how serious the injury was. While dos Anjos was clearly able to fight at a high level in spite of the MCL tear, recovery can take months. That could spell trouble for a division that struggled with Pettis as champion due to chronic injuries that resulted in him fighting just six times in a four-year span and saw the belt go undefended from August 2013 until December 2014 (approximately 16 months).

That said, MCL troubles do not necessarily require invasive treatments. As Jonathan Gelber detailed for BloodyElbow.com when Dan Henderson pulled out of UFC 151 with an MCL injury, hematomas can form around the ligament, which allows it to heal in a way other parts of the knee cannot. Dos Anjos, during the post-fight press conference, speculated that he will not need surgery for the injury.

Here is hoping dos Anjos can get back into the cage to defend his belt in short order.

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