UFC 286: Justin Gaethje defeated Rafael Fiziev.
Justin Gaethje defeated Rafael Fiziev via majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28), at UFC 286 on Saturday, March 18, 2023, live from the O2 Arena in London, England.
"I literally try not to do that. There was no one that wasn't going to be exciting. I got my takedown so (the critics) can shut the fuck up. These guys are young and hungry and that guy is one dangerous motherfucker. I am taking one more shot at the title but I'm not going to be along very long," said Gaethje
Fiziev ran across the Octagon and threw a pair of wild kicks that missed. Gaethje landed a low leg kick. Fiziev applied pressure, throwing a right kick and left punch combination. Gaethje did a good job of defending but some of the strikes were getting throw.
The two continued to trade shots. Fiziev landed a powerful knee but Gaethje displayed his excellent chin. Fiziev's speed advantage was visible as he would throw a combination is lightning speed. Gaethje went for a takedown but had it defended. From the break, Gaethje landed an overhand right. With seconds remaining, Fiziev landed another powerful knee but Gaethje came back with a powerful two punch combo.
Fiziev opened the second round with a powerful kick. The two continued to trade punches. Fiziev attmpeted a spinning elbow but missed. An inadvertent eye poke from Gaethje brought the fight to a brief stoppage. Gaethje landed a beautiful combination and started to find his timing.
Gaethje landed more punches and elbows but Fiziev continued to come forward. Fiziev landed a front kick to the body but Gaethje answered with a hook. Fiziev's eyes were starting to show a lot of damage. Gaethje landed a straight left, right as Fiziev was throwing a body kick.
Fiziev landed a massive right hand that wobbled Gaethje, who started throwing wildly in response. The two engaged in a clinch and traded body shots. Gaethje landed a pair of punches and shot for another takedown but was unable to complete it.
Gaethje continued to come forward and land punches but Fiziev always landed a counter. Fiziev's right eye was closing due to all the damage Gaethje had enflicted. A Gaethje uppercut opened up a cut on Fizev's forehead. Despite all the damage, Fiziev continued to apply pressure and attack. With seconds remaining, Gaethje landed a takedown.
Gaethje arrived in London as the third-ranked lightweight, despite holding only a 6-4 record in the UFC. The former interim lightweight champion was submitted by Charles Oliveira in the first round of his last fight at UFC 274.
Fiziev entered UFC 286 as the sixth ranked lightweight in the UFC. After losing his UFC debut, Fiziev won six straight fights. In his previous fight, Fiziev knocked out former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. Fiziev earned a performance bonus against dos Anjos. It was the fifth straight fight that Fiziev earned either a performance bonus or fight of the night.