Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to action later TONIGHT (Sat., Sept. 23, 2023) with UFC Vegas 79 going down from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event will be a Lightweight bout between hard-hitting striker, Rafael Fiziev, and the self-proclaimed “best 155-pound wrestler,” Mateusz Gamrot. In the co-headlining act, Dan Ige will face off against Bryce Mitchell in a Featherweight collision.
Fiziev’s six-fight win streak was snapped by Justin Gaethje at UFC 286 earlier this year, and now “Ataman” is on a mission to make things right again as he gears up to face Gamrot. With Fiziev, it’s no secret what you’re going to get once he steps foot inside the Octagon. That’s because he has made it know time and again that he is all about the striking battles, which he wins more often than not (examples here and here). Against Gamrot, however, he will have to adjust if “Gamer” decides to turn it into an all-out grappling affair.
Winner of five of his last six fights inside the Octagon, Gamrot looks to make a case for a Top 5 ranking by handing Fiziev his second straight loss, which would be tough to do since “Ataman” has never dropped consecutive fights. This is truly a clash of styles because Fiziev loves to stand-and-bang, while Gamrot is all about the wrestling, going as far as to claim that he is better than division kingpin, Islam Makhachev, in that department. Of course, Gamrot is no slacker when it comes to trading blows, but he is at a disadvantage against Fiziev, a former multiple-time Muay Thai champion.
Nevertheless, this is a pivotal fight at 155 pounds that could very well take a huge leap into the championship conversation. Charles Oliveira will get another crack at Makhachev next month, while Beneil Dariush (No. 4) and Dustin Poirier (No. 3) are coming off losses. Michael Chandler is still in the mix, but he is still waiting on Conor McGregor. All that said, this is a big opportunity for either of these two contenders to make their case when it comes time to championship fights.
If I’m being honest, there really isn’t a whole lot to complain about here. It’s a pretty well-constructed event with decent matchups from the “Prelims” to the main card. And, when you consider that the injury bug pretty much stayed away from this event, for the most part, it makes for a decent “Fight Night” event. But, I do have an issue with the rematch of Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson. Rodriguez defeated “Karate Hottie” in May 2021 rather convincingly, so why the promotion felt then need to run it back two years later is beyond most fight fans. I’m sure matchmakers could have found different challenges for both ladies. Lazy.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Aliaskhab Khizriev was set to face off against Jacob Malkoun before he was removed from the event for undisclosed reasons. Stepping into take his place was supposed to be Robert Bryczek, who then withdrew from the fight himself. Eventually, the promotion was able to get Cody Brundage to take the fight. Brundage is on a three-fight losing streak and is in desperate need of a win here, while Malkoun is 3-1 in his last four UFC fights.
Valter Walker was in line to make his UFC debut against Jake Collier before an unfortunate ankle injury forced him out of the fight. Stepping in to fill the void is former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 30 winner, Mohammed Usman.
Montserrat Rendon will bring her 5-0 record to the Octagon for the first time to battle Tamires Vidal in a women’s Bantamweight bout. Rendon has competed in four promotions in her young combat career, including her most recent fight under the Invicta FC banner where she defeated Brittney Cloudy in Sept. 2022. As for Vidal, she is currently enjoying a six-fight win streak and made good on her own UFC debut by knocking out Ramona Pascual in Nov. 22.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
In women’s Strawweight action, Mizuki Inoue will take on Hannah Goldy to kickoff the event. Inoue is coming off a tough loss to Amanda Lemos, bringing her record to 1-1 inside the Octagon. In an interesting tidbit, Inoue has a loss to current women’s Flyweight champion, Alexa Grasso, when they were both competing under the Invicta FC banner. As for Goldy, she has had a rough stretch as of late, losing three of her last four with her most recent defeat coming coming against Molly McCann, who bulldozed her in July 2022.
Cody Brundage agreed to step in on short notice to face Jacob Malkoun, so even if he loses his fourth in a row this evening, he will likely be spared from the guillotine since he did the promotion a solid. Indeed, Brundage has lost three in a row and has not tasted victory since July 2022. As for Malkoun, he is 3-1 and was last seen defeating Nate Diaz-disciple, Nick Maximov, in Oct. 2022.
In the Welterweight division, Tim Means and Andre Fialho could very well be fighting for their UFC careers. That’s because both men come into the fight having lost three in a row. Means hasn’t lost since June 2021, while Fialho’s last victory came more than one year ago. They have a lot of motivation and reason to pick up a win coming into the fight, which could perhaps lead to a tentative showing from both men.
In the Bantamweight division, Dan Argueta and Miles Johns face off in the headlining bout of the undercard. Argueta is 1-1-1 so far inside the Octagon, with his last fight against Ronnie Lawrence having been ruled a “No Contest” after a botched call by the referee. Johns, on the other hand, is a respectable 3-1 in his last four UFC fights and is coming off a win over Vince Morales in Nov. 2022.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Collier’s time inside the Octagon has produced sub-par results, to say the least. Since making his debut with the promotion in 2014 he has only managed to rack up a 5-8 record. He is currently on a three-fight losing streak, so if he loses his fourth straight when he battles former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner Mohammed Usman, it could be the end of the road for him. Usman is 2-0 so far in his young UFC career, and is coming off a unanimous decision win Junior Tafa earlier this year. The two had a pretty intense staredown after Usman refused to shake his hand, so this one could get ugly quick and end early.
Interest Level: 6.5/10
In the co-main event of the event, UFC’s newest “cash cow” — Bryce Mitchell — will attempt to get himself back into the win column after suffering the first loss of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career after getting mauled by current No. 1 contender, Ilia Topuria, at UFC 282 (watch highlights). Mitchell is a character, but I don’t think there’s a ton of people who would consider him a draw for the promotion. Nevertheless, he has a chance to backup his claim by getting a win over Dan Ige, who is currently enjoying a two-fight win streak. Ige is ranked No. 12, while “Thug Nasty” is holding on the No. 10 spot by a string. A loss would be disastrous for Mitchell’s quest to become one of UFC’s poster boys.
Rodriguez was at one time considered a legit title contender after starting off her UFC career 6-1-2, racking up big wins over the likes of Tecia Torres, Jessica Aguilar and Mackenzie Dern, among others. She also has a win over Michelle Waterson, which is the reason I don’t understand running it back. In fact, “Karate Hottie” hasn’t won since losing to Rodriguez in May 2021, losing two more fights after that, so why book her against the Brazilian bomber a second time in the midst of her horrid streak is mind-boggling to me. Nevertheless, Rodriguez will look to pick up her second straight win against Waterson, which will snap her current two-fight skid.
In men’s Welterweight action, Bryan Battle takes on A.J. Fletcher. Battle responded nicely following his loss to Rinat Fakhretdinov in Dec. 2022 — which snapped his seven-fight win streak — by knocking out Gabriel Green in just 14 seconds (see it again here). Fletcher, meanwhile, picked up his first win inside the Octagon after starting 0-2 by choking out Themba Gorimbo at UFC Vegas 69 (highlights).
Kicking off the main card will be a Featherweight fight between Charles Jourdain and Ricardo Ramos. Both men have failed to be consistent with the wins during their UFC runs. Jourdain has been unable to win more than two straight, racking up a an even 5-5-1 record so far. Sure, that will keep him employed, but if he wants to crack the Top 15, he is going to have to be a bit more consistent than that when it comes to picking up wins. He snapped his two-fight win streak by defeating Kron Gracie in what truly was a confusing fight at UFC 288. Ramos hasn’t competed since knocking out Danny Chavez with a spinning back elbow (see it) in June 2022, which earned him an extra $50,000 check.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Vegas 79 Main Event On ESPN+:
155 lbs.: Rafael Fiziev vs. Mateusz Gamrot
UFC Vegas 79 Main Card on ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Dan Ige vs. Bryce Mitchell
115 lbs.: Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson-Gomez
170 lbs.: Bryan Battle vs. A.J. Fletcher
145 lbs.: Charles Jourdain vs. Ricardo Ramos
UFC Vegas 79 ‘Prelims’ Card on ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Dan Argueta vs. Miles Johns
170 lbs.: Andre Fialho vs. Tim Means
185 lbs.: Cody Brundage vs. Jacob Malkoun
265 lbs.: Jake Collier vs. Mohammed Usman
115 lbs.: Hannah Goldy vs. Mizuki Inoue
135 lbs.: Montserrat Rendon vs. Tamires Vidal
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 79 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 79 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Fiziev vs. Gamrot” fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.
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