There’s been a lot of hours of mixed martial arts (MMA) on television over the past week, what with UFC 251 officially becoming the longest UFC event in the promotion’s history and Wednesday’s main card feeling even longer. But there was a whole lot to enjoy for Saturday night’s UFC Fight Island 2 card, including the official arrival of Lightweight prospect Rafael Fiziev.
You may have seen Fiziev before back in 2017 where he pulled off a crazy Matrix dodge during a Muay Thai fight.
While only 8-1 in MMA competition, Fiziev has a ridiculously extensive 200+ fight Muay Thai resume and is a Kazakhstan combat Sambo champion. But he’s struggled a bit to find his flashy footing in UFC. His debut fight for the promotion in April 2019 ended in less than two minutes after getting caught by a spinning back kick from Magomed Mustafaev. An Oct. 2019 win over Alex White was solid, but nothing to write home about.
His win over Marc Diakiese at UFC Fight Island 2? Now that’s something to write home about. Faced with an opponent who is all about striking like Diakiese, Fiziev let it all fly, hitting wild combinations through all three rounds en route to a 30–27, 29–28, 29–28 decision. He also pulled off another one of his trademark matrix dodges:
It’s too early to tell if Fiziev can ride his striking pedigree all the way up to the top of the extremely deep lightweight division, but he’s certainly staked himself out as someone to watch. He also earned himself a $50,000 bonus (see the winners here), which you can watch him learn he received in this tweet:
So what do you think, Maniacs? Is Fiziev the future?