Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight standouts Rafael Fiziev and Mateusz Gamrot will clash TONIGHT (Sat., Sept. 23, 2023) at UFC Vegas 79 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
These men have shared similar career trajectories. Both climbed into the upper level of the Lightweight division quickly, suffering a couple losses in the process, but mostly proving their talent and potential in the process. They’re premier members of the “next generation” of Lightweight contenders, the alleged heirs apparent to the division as men like Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier reach the end of their careers as top contenders.
It hasn’t exactly worked out that way, though. Gaethje and Dariush reminded Fiziev and Gamrot that the old guard still has some venom. Still, these two are incredibly promising contenders in their primes, and they’re perfect foils for each other stylistically.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Rafael dos Anjos (UFC Vegas 58), Brad Riddell (UFC Vegas 44), Bobby Green (UFC 265), Renato Moicano (UFC 256), Marc Diakiese (UFC Fight Island 2)
Key Losses: Justin Gaethje (UFC 286), Magomed Mustafaev (UFC Fight Night 149)
Keys to Victory: Fiziev is fiery ball of fast-twitch muscle fiber. His ability to explode forward with a massive right hand or sudden switch kick to the liver separates him from the pack, but his excellent form and years of Muay Thai experience only serve to sharpen those physical gifts.
He’s stopped eight foes via knockout.
Beneil Dariush wrote the blue print for Fiziev to follow. They are different strikers, sure, but Fiziev has the powerful distance kicking necessary to strand Gamrot at range and prevent him from getting his wrestling going. If the threat of the takedown is removed, there’s not a lot Gamrot has to offer “Ataman.”
Breaking down Gamrot should be the goal. Fiziev can punish his opponent’s lead leg — regardless of Gamrot’s stance switching — and body with his kicks, and he has the kind of snappy, fast kicks that are massively difficult to catch and convert into a takedown. Gamrot may have incredible conditioning and toughness, but nobody performs quite as well after a dozen digs to the thigh.
The more Gamrot slows down from damage, the easier it’ll be for Fiziev to time a huge connection upstairs.
Record: 22-2 (1)
Key Wins: Arman Tsarukyan (UFC Vegas 57), Jalin Turner (UFC 285), Carlos Diego Ferreira (UFC Vegas 45), Scott Holtzman (UFC Vegas 23), Jeremy Stephens (UFC Vegas 31)
Key Losses: Beneil Dariush (UFC 280), Guram Kutateladze (UFC Fight Island 6)
Keys To Victory: Gamrot may have skills everywhere, but dragging opponents to the floor and dominating from top position is definitely his default game plan. He’s a remarkably crafty wrestler with legitimate jiu-jitsu credentials, and he’s stopped 12 of his opponents overall.
Closing the distance before shooting is the absolute biggest key for Gamrot here. Typically, his touch, pull, and return (sometimes with a takedown) style works well to set up his takedowns. That’s not the case against an opponent willing to hang back and kick him, however. Consequently, Gamrot has to switch it up and employ more of a straightforward pressure attack on the kicker.
Getting in Fiziev’s face isn’t going to be fun, but it’s necessary to exhaust him and get the wrestling going. Particularly, there seems to be an opening for Gamrot’s angle change towards the back off a double leg shot. That type of “disappearing act” finish works best when met by an opponent with a strong, athletic sprawl — sounds like Fiziev.
This is a great Lightweight match up.
Fiziev is an exciting knockout artist capable of delivering incredible highlight reel finishes, so it’s not a shock that he has built momentum quickly. He’s only one spot removed from the Top 5, and he gave Gaethje one hell of a fight. If “Ataman” returns to the win column here by picking up arguably the best win of his career, he could find himself in a title eliminator next. Perhaps against the winner of Beneil Dariush vs. Arman Tsarukyan?
Gamrot is one slot behind Fiziev in the rankings, but he enters this fight off a win, which certainly helps his momentum. Unfortunately, that loss to Dariush was fairly one-sided and could slow him down, particularly if Dariush is victorious over Tsarukyan. Regardless, he’s not far off from a shot at gold with a victory here.
At UFC Vegas 79, Rafael Fiziev and Mateusz Gamrot will square off in the main event. Which man has his hand raised?
Remember that 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+ ”Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 79: “Fiziev vs. Gamrot” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
Get the latest gear
- 2023 Panini Prizm UFC Factory Sealed Retail Blaster Box
- 2023 Panini Select UFC Factory Sealed Retail Blaster Box
- Islam Makhachev Walkout Jersey
- UFC Fanatics Single Glove Display Case
- 2022 Panini Donruss Optic Retail Blaster Box
- 2023 Donruss UFC Retail Blaster Box
- Miesha Tate UFC Authentic Plaque
- Brock Lesnar WWE Home Sweet Home Collage