The UFC’s lightweight division has long been labeled as one of the most exciting weight classes in the sport. Since joining the 155-pound roster in 2019, Rafael Fiziev has been a must-watch addition.
When you’re watching one of Fiziev’s fights it’s ill-advised to take your eyes off the talented lightweight. An explosive mix of strikes make him one of the most dynamic standup fighters in the sport and also makes him someone that could end a fight at any moment.
Fiziev quickly climbed the rankings thanks to a six-fight winning streak that showcased just how good the 30-year-old is.
Check out these five performances from “Ataman” ahead of his main event bout with Mateusz Gamrot this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs Gamrot.
Rafael Fiziev vs Renato Moicano
UFC 256 – December 12, 2020
Fiziev’s third UFC assignment came against a very respected Renato Moicano. The Brazilian veteran moved up from featherweight and looked to make some serious noise in the lightweight division. Unfortunately for Moicano, he ran into the buzzsaw that is Fiziev.
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Fiziev and Moicano were on the feet for most of the first round, with Fiziev leading the action and putting together some nice combos. Then, out of nowhere, Fiziev landed a stunning body-head-head combo that sent Moicano right to the ground. It was Fiziev’s first big moment in the Octagon.
Rafael Fiziev vs Bobby Green
UFC 265 – August 7, 2021
There is no doubt that when you get two high-volume strikers together that there is a potential for a banger fight. That’s exactly what happened when Fiziev and Bobby “King” Green collided at UFC 265 in Houston.
For 15 minutes, the two lightweights traded strikes and put on a show for fight fans. It was a very close fight, one where Fiziev landed some big power shots and beautiful combos and where Green stayed on the gas and pushed Fiziev to the limit. In the end, it was Fiziev who won by unanimous decision.
Rafael Fiziev vs Brad Riddell
UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo – December 4, 2021
When this fight was announced, fans around the world knew what to expect. Two of the most talented strikers in the lightweight division were colliding. Brad Riddell and Fiziev had been training partners and friends for years, but knew it was all business when they met in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo.
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The battle was pretty even through two rounds, with Fiziev pressing while landing strikes and Riddell landing with nice counters. The combinations and exchanges were very quick from both men and the fight was super close. Then in the third round, things changed quickly, as Fiziev connected with a picture-perfect spinning wheel kick that put Riddell on his heels and then to the floor.
It was a massive moment for Fiziev, who solidified his spot as one of the surging contenders in the /lightweightlightweight division.
Rafael Fiziev vs Rafael Dos Anjos
UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs Fiziev – July 9, 2022
Any time you have the opportunity to beat a former champion, you have to take advantage of it and that’s exactly what Fiziev did against Rafael Dos Anjos.
It’s a theme with Fiziev that his fights are super close and high-paced with a ton of action, and this one was no different. Through 20 minutes, a clear winner was unclear, as both Dos Anjos and Fiziev had found plenty of success. But to open the fifth round, Fiziev had the biggest moment of his UFC career so far.
Fiziev connected with a big left hook less than 15 seconds into the final frame that wobbled Dos Anjos. Fiziev urgently followed up with an accurate ground strike that forced the referee to step in and call the fight.
Rafael Fiziev vs Justin Gaethje
UFC 286 – March 18, 2023
I’ll start this blurb off by saying that if you haven’t watched Rafael Fiziev vs Justin Gaethje yet, do yourself a favor and click the UFC Fight Pass link above.
Fiziev and Gaethje battled for 15 minutes. Every strike and every combination was thrown with pure violence and the intention of getting a knockout win. These two had the entire O2 Arena on their feet and losing their minds.
Fiziev wasn’t able to leave London with the win over Gaethje, but the fight proved that Fiziev’s striking is world class and he belongs competing with the lightweight top five.
UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs Gamrot took live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 23, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!