UFC 286 goes down this weekend at the O2 Arena in London, England. In the co-main event, Justin Gaethje battles Rafael Fiziev in a highly anticipated lightweight fight.
Gaethje is coming off a loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC 274, whereas Fiziev is currently riding a six fight winning streak in the promotion. But past records won’t really matter when the two start trading leather because it’s going to be fireworks. MMA fans are more excited about this fight than the main event between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman and understandably so.
UFC 286: Gaethje vs Fiziev Analysis and Prediction
Justin Gaethje is one of the most exciting fighters in the history of MMA. He never engages in a boring fight, and he is always ready to put it all on the line in the cage. His high-octane style, his wild but calculated boxing and devastating leg kicks are a joy to watch. Fiziev is high octane as well, but a lot more composed in comparison. He’s built like a tank, lands heavy leather, and has some of the best kicks in his game. On the feet, Fiziev is better because of his technicality, speed, and relentlessness, but Gaethje is an experienced campaigner so it’s a tough one to call.
The major advantage Gaethje has over Fiziev is cardio. Fiziev tends to slow down after a round or two, so if Gaethje patiently targets his legs and body in the first round, he will have the license to swing in the second and third, but in a three-round fight, cardio may not matter much. Wrestling may also play a role in this fight, and if Gaethje goes for the takedowns or even wear his foe down in a clinch battle, he’ll have an advantage there as well. But Fiziev has a takedown defence to die for and he’s pretty effective in clinch.
Statistically, Justin Gaethje is the more aggressive of the two as he lands close to seven-and-a-half significant strikes per minute on average, whereas Fiziev lands close to five, but it’s Gaethje’s do-or-die attitude that makes him very hittable. The Highlight absorbs close to eight significant strikes per minute. Fiziev absorbs close to five, and interestingly, both fighters absorb more than they land.
All in all, it’ll be an all-out stand up fight with Rafael Fiziev getting the KO.
Prediction: Rafael Fiziev by KO
Justin Gaethje (+195)
Rafael Fiziev (-230)
Who do you think will win the highly anticipated lightweight matchup between Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286?