Las Vegas – The list of contenders in the lightweight division is constantly growing. The latest to establish himself as a bona fide competitor is Rafael Viziev, who knocked out former champion Rafael dos Anjos after 18 seconds of Saturday’s final round at Apex in the UFC Vegas 58 main event.
Fyzyev said that the next step for him was to determine who was the best Raphael. So, of course, when asked in the octagon who he wants next, he called out tennis star Rafael Nadal.
If Nadal saw his fight with dos Anjos, he would be wise to stay as far away from Viziev as possible. Viziev is a Muay Thai boxer, but showed the full match on Saturday.
Dos Anjos attempted an astonishing 16 takedowns during the four-plus rounds, and completed two. When someone who hits like Fiziev can defend takedowns and keep fighting, that’s a problem.
And yes, Physiev is a problem for the rest of the lightweight.
He’s got a quick hand, accurate punches, and as he showed when he finished the fight, a lot of power is in both of his hands. Dos Anjos grabbed a crush left, who, for all intents and purposes, ended the fight.
Physiev chased him to the ground and fired a few flush shots, forcing referee Mark Smith to jump to stop her.
“I was very tired in the fight, but I finished the fifth round,” said Viziev, who called up third seed Justin Gethje. “It means something. [It proves] I can fight five rounds.”
Physiev largely neutralized Dos Anjos’ offensive throughout the fighting. Dos Anjos tried to slow down the match, snatched with Fiziev in the cage and went to takedowns. But Fiziev’s defense was brilliant and repeatedly frustrated Dos Anjos.
When they were in space, Viziev’s hit was fine and Dos Anjos was distinguished by his sharp, clean shots.
Viziev never allowed Dos Anjos to gain momentum and was picking up points with his hits.
Viziev noted that it was important to be patient because dos Anjos was fighting for takedowns, not trying to get ahead of himself.
“My head, my mind is sometimes stupid and I begin to fight like a drunken man,” Vyzyev said of the need to be patient. “I thought a lot and fought smart. I didn’t try to get too crazy.”
This victory was Fiziev’s 12th in 13 professional fights and his sixth in a row in the UFC after losing a first-round TKO in his first promotional appearance of 2019 to Magomed Mustafaev in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
But now he has defeated Dos Anjos, Brad Riddell, Bobby Green, Renato Moicano, Mark Diaccese and Alex White – a solid array of opponents – in his winning streak.
He entered Saturday’s game 10th in the division, but the division is full of killers and it could be tough for Viziev to move up that much. Dos Anjos was seventh, Matthews Jamroth was eighth and Tony Ferguson ninth ahead of Viziev who entered the fray.
Gamrot emerges from an impressive win over Arman Tsarukyan and UFC president Dana White told Yahoo Sports he is interested in placing Gamrot with No. 6 Beneil Dariush.
Viziev called the top five contender, but that would be tough given the lineup there: Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier, Gaitje, Islam Makhachev and Michael Chandler.
Oliveira is vying for a fight with No. 12 Conor McGregor, though the UFC is interested in pitting him against Makhachev for the vacant title. Looks like Poirier and Chandler are headed for a showdown, especially after that They face off at UFC 276 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
So Physev might have to settle for a fight with Ferguson or a match with Tsarukyan, both of which would be very amusing. He will have to keep winning – and winning admirably – given the stressful nature of the division.
But he was doing just that. He’s now finished three of his last four fights, leaving only his match against Greene. He was great at that, outperforming Green in a big way.
Gamrot has also called up Gaethje, but with White’s intent to pair him with Dariush, he could give Fiziev the match he wanted. And he knows it’s going to be fun.
“I guess it would make my face look like this, maybe [worse]said Fyzyev, who said he broke his nose early in the fight. “He’s dangerous. It’s a big challenge for me too. He has a chance to kick me out, but I have a chance to kick him out. This is a good fight, I think, and for the fans as well.”
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