HomeSportsRafael dos Anjos can finally breathe again after surgery on the nose...

Rafael dos Anjos can finally breathe again after surgery on the nose to open his airways

LAS VEGAS — Rafael dos Anjos had trouble sleeping. Just breathing while he went about his business during the day was a chore.

He underwent surgery in March to repair a deviated septum. He also had a chronic sinus problem and suffered from allergies. His doctor knew he was a professional athlete, but when he started working on dos Anjos’ nose, he could hardly believe it.

“My doctor said to me, ‘How can you ever fight? It was impossible for you to breathe,'” dos Anjos, who fights Vicente Luque Saturday at Apex in the main event of UFC Vegas 78, told Yahoo Sports. There were also fractures in his nose that Dos Anjos knew nothing about, and they had calcified.

It was a mess all in all and just amazing that he was able to compete in one of the hardest sports at the level he could do.

Dos Anjos, a former lightweight champion, has never been able to get a solid eight hours of sleep, essential for anyone, but especially for an athlete pushing his or her body to its limits during a grueling training camp. He was up and out of bed a lot at night and couldn’t get the quality sleep athletes need.

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Yet he still performed in the UFC. He is 3-1 in his last four in the UFC with victories over Paul Felder, Renato Moicano and Bryan Barbarena.

“There was so much there that he had to clean up that he was shocked I could fight at all,” said dos Anjos. “After I had the surgery, everything got much better. My sleep level was much better. I hadn’t been able to sleep well for years.

“The problem with my sleep was that I was breathing through my mouth too much because my nose was getting blocked. What happened was my mouth got dry. I woke up and had to drink some water to drink.” relief from. Then I started waking up and going to the bathroom. I wasted my nights with a dry mouth and going to the bathroom and not sleeping well. I did that for two years.’

He said he feels refreshed and is a lot younger than 38. In Luque, he faces a talented, motivated opponent coming off a two-fight losing streak and desperate to turn things around.

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He is dangerous, but with his feeling Dos Anjos knows that he will be dangerous too.

Rafael dos Anjos is thrilled after undergoing surgery to repair injuries to his nose so he can breathe normally again. (Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)

He still hopes to get the chance to fight for the welterweight title. He lost a decision to champion Leon Edwards in 2019 before Edwards won the belt by knocking out Kamaru Usman with a late kick to the head.

He’s ranked ninth at lightweight and Luque is tenth at welterweight, so it’s going to be a long, hard slog to get to the top of the rankings. Edwards is likely going to defend against Colby Covington, number 2, and the division is full of elite talent.

Dos Anjos has proven to be elite in the past and said he is optimistic that he can now fight at a much higher level than before.

“I feel so much better and even if the little things, the pain you get in training camp, it’s much better,” said dos Anjos. “My recovery is so much better. It’s really remarkable what this surgery has done for me. It makes me feel so much better and it will be really noticeable, I think.”

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Luque is a good challenge for him, especially given his desperation. Dos Anjos has been in that position in the past, trying to turn things around after losing several fights in a row, and he understands how Luque can approach the fight.

He raves about Luque’s talents, but he’s as confident as he’s ever been.

“From my point of view, I’ve done everything before and I’m a former champion,” he said. “I’ve trained really well. So I’m not too worried about what he’s going to do. I’m worried about myself and what I have to do. I’ve got five rounds and I’ve been through so many.” time. So I know I’m ready and ready to put up an excellent fight.”

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