Check back in on this post later on to see who won the UFC 286 co-main event, which is going down from the O2 Arena in London, England.
Boy, oh boy! What a splendid treat this matchup is. Sure, we might get a couple of clinch trips here and there, but I fully expect this Gaethje vs. Fiziev to be an insane standup war. Which Gaethje fight isn’t? Justin does such a great job of luring his opponents into these frenzied brawls, and that’s where he does his best work. On the other hand, Fiziev has some of the most polished kickboxing in the UFC, and Gaethje has shown to be more than willing to take one (or two or three) in order to deliver his own firepower.
I’m going to need everyone to start praying to the MMA gods right this second in hopes of avoiding any wonky ball shots, eye pokes, illegal strikes, camera cords backstage, Sting coming down from the rafters, or anything else that might get in the way of this being the banger it’s supposed to be. For everyone that isn’t from England, this is the peoples main event.
The early prelims begin at an extra start time of 12:30pm ET/9:30am, PT, immediately followed by the regular preliminary card. Both broadcasts can be streamed on ESPN+. The PPV main card is slated for 5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT, and can be purchased on ESPN+.
Justin Gaethje def. Rafael Fiziev by majority decision (29-28 x2, 28-28): Lightweight
The match opened with a huge leg kick from Gaethje that spun around Fiziev. From there we got some feeling out going on, but things quickly escalated. Fiziev started to wing heaters at Gaethje, attacking to the head and body, and then following up with hard body kicks. This was a much more reserved showing than we are used to seeing from him.
Fiziev continued to pour it on in the second round, launching lightening quick combos at the former interim champ. Gaethje then caught Fiziev with an eye poke, that brought on a small break. The fight resumed and the athletes went back to trading. The punches of Gaethje started to find a home. He was tightening up his hooks, and finding success because of it. He also started to score with his leg kicks, causing Fiziev to switch stances.
Gaethje got bombed on to start the third round. Fiziev was ripping away with gorgeous combos, still mixing in his body kick behind his fast hands. Justin’s jab then entered the game. He was popping off with two or three at a time, which was opening up this other punches. The face of Fiziev was covered in blood at this point, and Gaethje was feeling himself so much that he even hit a last-second takedown the put an exclamation point on the round.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 18, 2023
About the author: Eddie Mercado has covered combat sports since 2015. He covers everything from betting odds to live events and fighter interviews. He holds a 1-0 record in pro MMA and holds a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu. (full bio)
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