The UFC is back in its APEX facility this weekend. And with it are two lightweights hoping to force themselves into the title picture. Rafael Fiziev and Mateusz Gamrot will meet in the Octagon and that should be a lot of fun.
As always, we at BE have done our due diligence and jotted down who we think is going to win each and every fight.
As you can see below, we think the viewing audience might be in for a treat on Saturday. We’re pretty much split on who we think will win this main event, so a close (and violent) fight might be in the offing.
Scroll down to see the rest of our picks for UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs. Gamrot and don’t forget to tell us who you think will win in the comments below.
UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs. Gamrot staff picks and predictions
Rafael Fiziev vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Anton Tabuena: I don’t think Gamrot can keep Fiziev down, especially in the first few rounds, and Fiziev should be by far the better striker. I think he banks early rounds and depending on the damage he inflicts there, I think he either wins a decision or gets a late stoppage. Rafael Fiziev by Decision.
Dayne: Every now and then, the UFC will feed the hardcore fanbase a main event that absolutely tingles their feel goods. This is one of those fights, much like last summer’s contest between Gamrot and Armen Tsarukyan. I’m expecting the final result to be just as controversial.
Fiziev is the best striker Gamrot has faced. That’s saying something as Jalin Turner is anything but a slouch. There’s nobody in present day MMA who better blends the high risk with the highly technical than Fiziev. Well… that comment comes with a caveat. That’s in terms of Fiziev’s offense. Despite all his accolades and prowess – and his matrix defense – Fiziev has been more than happy to engage in firefights with fighters whom he should be able to school in a straight up kickboxing contest.
I’m not saying Fiziev isn’t interested in winning; you don’t win six UFC fights in a row without making that a priority. But I’m not convinced that’s his top priority. Rather than attempt to engage in a technical battle with Justin Gaethje, he acquiesced to a slugfest with the king of slugfests. He wants the accolades that come with being an entertaining fighter. Gamrot is all about winning.
There is a ceiling with Gamrot. Beneil Dariush proved that. But Gamrot attacked him with an intelligent strategy that required Dariush to stay sharp… and he did. It was ugly as sin, but Gamrot managed to overcome the aforementioned Turner with a similar strategy. I’m not sure Fiziev can survive that type of attack.
Fiziev’s gas tank has held up well for the most part, as has his takedown defense, but Gamrot will make him wrestle and grapple for as many of the 25 minutes as he can make him. I expect that type of fight will wear out Fiziev. There’s always the chance Fiziev delivers a KO. I’m taking my chances that it doesn’t happen, not with Gamrot’s chin. Gamrot via submission of RD5
Chris: I love this fight, I love these two guys. They’re both exciting, weirdly intense, and somehow not part of every lightweight discussion. We’re at a transitional point in the lightweight division where everyone who’s got a top 5 ranking is holding on to that status by trading with each other. This fight should make the winner undeniable and I suspect that Fiziev’s more finishing-oriented approach coupled with the hard lessons learned in the Gaethje fight will give him the edge.
Victor: Fiziev loves to brawl, Gamrot like to strategize and fight smart. Gamrot’s ground game is excellent, his striking is smoother and still improving. Fiziev can run a rough pace and turn a fight around with one shot, but I have to pick the guy that’s more well-rounded and can establish control down the stretch. Mateusz Gamrot by decision.
Zane: I know he’s won a few ranked fights right now, but I don’t have a lot of trust in Gamrot as a top 10 level fighter in the UFC. Notably, whenever he’s stranded on his feet, his striking is still very undercooked and chancy. He’s not hard to put on the back foot, he tends to rely heavily on single shots, and carries all his power in one hand. His timing is good and he never stops trying things, but the way Dariush shut him down was telling.
For Fiziev, skill gaps are much less pronounced. He’s very hard to take down and keep down, and he’s got a diverse, powerful striking game at all ranges. If this were 3 rounds I’d pick Fiziev every day. But over 5 rounds, his cardio is a concern, after all Gamrot is tireless.
If Gamrot had more of a smothering top game and wasn’t such a rinse & repeat scrambler, I’d pick him to get the win. But if I can’t trust him to hold Fiziev down, I don’t trust him to clearly bank rounds, even when Fiziev is tired. Rafael Fiziev via decision.
Staff picking Fiziev: Chris, Lucas, Zane, Eddie, Tim, Anton
Staff picking Gamrot: Victor, Dayne, Kristen, Stephie, Jack
Bryce Mitchell vs. Dan Ige
Anton: Either Ige gets completely smothered, or Mitchell keeps getting clocked early and his grappling skill goes down a few belt levels. I think it can go either way, but Mitchell’s lack of basics have failed him already, and I am not that confident it doesn’t happen again. I’m going with the upset. Dan Ige by TKO.
Dayne: Much credit to Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard for this contest. It’s a hard fight to pick. Ige has looked awesome in his last two fights, but both Damon Jackson and Nate Landwehr were steps down from his previous level of competition. Mitchell is step back up into the level where Ige was clearly coming up short… at least on first glance. Mitchell absolutely dominated Edson Barboza while Ige’s win over the Brazilian was with controversy. Of course, we all know MMA math is far from perfect.
Recency bias probably has many picking Ige for the upset as Mitchell looked terrible against Ilia Topuria. However, Topuria’s win over Josh Emmett doesn’t make the loss look so bad in addition to the reports Mitchell was ill. Add that to Ige struggling to remain vertical against Movsar Evloev and it feels right for Mitchell to get back on track. I will admit Evloev struggled to keep Ige down, but Mitchell is far more of a lockdown fighter on the mat. That’s enough for me to pick him despite Ige’s advantage on the feet. Mitchell via decision
Chris: Bryce Mitchell looked like a future title contender until he ran into Ilia Topuria. Lots of fighters make excuses for losses that sound like sour grapes, but Mitchell’s choice to fight while sick with the flu due to rang true in a way that makes me think ‘Thug Nasty’ can right the ship and return to form.
Victor: Bryce did great coming out the gate, but I think he’s also been figured out. Excellent submission grappler, deficient everywhere else. Also, runs out of answers mighty quick if you don’t pressure him and he can be lulled into counters. Guess what Ige does pretty fucking well? Dan Ige by knockout, round 2.
Zane: Dan Ige has the power to put a scare into Mitchell once or twice in this fight, but his game is so tuned to counter punching in the pocket that it feels like he’ll give ‘Thug Nasty’ way too many chances to set up his entries and get in on something. Even Ilia Topuria ended up hitting the mat against Mitchell, and as reasonable a scrambler and grappler as Ige is, he’s not Topuria on the mats. At some point Mitchell will start getting takedowns, and at that point he’ll probably start taking over. Bryce Mitchell via decision.
Staff picking Mitchell: Chris, Dayne, Eddie, Jack
Staff picking Ige: Lucas, Victor, Kristen, Stephie, Tim, Anton
Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson-Gomez
Dayne: This was a fight no one was asking to see again. It isn’t that it was a terrible fight the first time around and both appear to be in decline. But Waterson-Gomez’s decline appears to be the steeper of the two and she was the one who lost the first time around. I haven’t seen anything in her recent performances to indicate she’ll be able to change the result this time around. Rodriguez via decision
Chris: The coin says Waterson-Gomez, so I’m obligated to make that pick, but this fight is going to be a replay of their last meeting, at best. Waterson-Gomez is 37 years old and on a three fight skid. Rodriguez still has upside despite her own recent losses, and Waterson-Gomez is going to give her a winnable fight on the feet.
Victor: You know what the first loss on Michelle’s four-fight losing streak was? It was against Marina. And I don’t have any faith that Michelle’s improved in any significant way since. Marina still has that nasty clinch game with her knees, and she’s able to walk opponents down in almost all her fights. Plus, Michelle’s gas tank is good – but Marina’s is too. Marina’s game is still a bit clunky, but it works. Marina Rodriguez by decision.
Zane: We literally just saw this fight a couple years ago and Waterson was thoroughly out-gunned. What’s the point? Marina Rodriguez by decision.
Staff picking Rodriguez: Lucas, Victor, Kristen, Zane, Stephie, Eddie, Tim, Jack, Anton
Staff picking Waterson-Gomez: Chris
Bryan Battle vs. AJ Fletcher
Dayne: Everyone appears to be picking Battle without any thought, but this is a trap fight for him. Battle was manhandled by Rinat Fakhretdinov and Fletcher is a hell of a wrestler… for about half a fight. Still, Fletcher is durable as hell and would only have to win two rounds. That’s a scenario I can see playing out with more frequency than many seem to be indicating.
That said, I see that type of scenario maybe two out of every five fights with Battle finding a way to emerge victorious the other three times. Battle has superior cardio and has shown greater finishing instincts in the UFC. Fletcher is improving and I do believe he’s better than his record indicates, but I would say Battle is further along in his development. Thus, while I think people are overlooking Fletcher, I’m still picking Battle to win. Battle via decision
Victor: Bryan Battle is a bit frustrating to watch. He does a few things very well, doesn’t look like he’s got anything special cooking, then he sets up an electrifying finish. Fletcher’s pretty good, and also rather raw. But Fletcher’s got more finesse on his grappling and submission game. Still gotta go with the sturdier and more patient guy. Bryan Battle by TKO, round 3.
Zane: I’m sorry, but I’m not going to pick the guy with flyweight arms to win fights at welterweight. Bryan Battle by decision.
Staff picking Battle: Chris, Lucas, Victor, Dayne, Kristen, Zane, Stephie, Eddie, Tim, Jack, Anton
Staff picking Fletcher:
Charles Jourdain vs. Ricardo Ramos
Dayne: Every time I feel like Jourdain has put everything together, he ends up pulling off a stinker. He’s coming off the most mature performance of his career, playing to his own strengths while managing to avoid the mat with Kron Gracie. He made Gracie look a fool. But was Jourdain just that good or was Gracie’s performance just that bad? I have no clue.
Ramos is another fight who might very well be his own worst enemy, having his last fight cancelled due to an egregious weight miss. He’s the longer fighter and is probably more dangerous on the mat, but I’m also weary of the level of competition he has beaten. Jourdain has at least hung tough with the likes of Shane Burgos and Nathaniel Wood. There’s hardly a clear line of delineation between these two, but it does appear Jourdain’s is higher. Jourdain via TKO of RD2
Chris: I hate having to pick against Jourdain, but want to put it out there: he’s ‘must see’ every time for me. Win or lose, I enjoy watching this man fight.
Victor: I refuse to accept that Jourdain is past his prime or that he’s hit his ceiling. I do not care. I simply don’t. Charles Jourdain by TKO, round 2.
Zane: Great fight. A couple years ago, I would probably have picked Ramos to find Jourdain getting wild leaping in from range, and to wrap him up and drag him to the mat. But lately, Jourdain has looked like a much more cold and calculated striker on the feet. Solid pressure, solid power, good strike selection. As for Ramos, he’s kinda still just that guy.
More comfortable and less prone to folding in the cage than he was, but mostly a select a strike creative spinner at range with a backpacking ground game. Fighters that can take the fight to him tend to force him into purely reactive mode. I think Jourdain can do that. Charles Jourdain via decision.
Staff picking Jourdain: Victor, Dayne, Kristen, Zane, Stephie, Eddie, Tim, Jack, Anton
Staff picking Ramos: Chris, Lucas
Miles Johns vs. Dan Argueta
Dayne: Johns may have a winning UFC record, but he has been a disappointment for many, myself included. Entering the UFC as a wrestler-boxer who was developing real power, Johns has completely abandoned his wrestling. He has been able to stuff takedowns, but he’s only completed two takedowns in his six UFC fights… one less than his fight on DWCS which earned him a contract. If his fight with Vince Morales is any indication, he can’t go to his wrestling anymore. …
To read the rest of our UFC Fight Night: Rafael Fiziev vs. Mateusz Gamrot staff picks head on over to Substack. Now that Bloody Elbow is a fully independent site the best way to support us, so that we can continue fearless coverage of combat sports, is to pick up a paid subscription. Paid subscribers help fund other exclusive content like editorials from Karim Zidan and Jonathan Snowden and investigations by John S. Nash.
Well, that draw gave everyone an L for their UFC Fight: Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2 picks. Most of us pulled in 8-2 records, so there’s no change in our standings. But we’ll see what happens after UFC Fight Night: Fiziev vs. Gamrot.
|Position||Staffer||Correct||Incorrect||Total Picks||%||Picks Back||Week 32 Record|
|1 (-)||Dayne 🇺🇸||245||151||396||0.619||8-2|
|2 (-)||Anton 🇵🇭||244||152||396||0.616||1||8-2|
|3 (-)||Eddie 🏴☠️||243||153||396||0.614||2||8-2|
|4 (-)||Zane 🇺🇸||240||156||396||0.606||5||8-2|
|5 (-)||Kristen 🇺🇸||238||160||398||0.598||9||6-4|
|6 (-)||Stephie 🇫🇯||233||149||382||0.610||12||6-4|
|7 (-)||Tim 🇨🇦||227||169||396||0.573||18||8-2|
|8 (-)||Lucas 🇧🇷||221||163||384||0.576||24||8-2|
|9 (-)||Chris 🇺🇸||182||202||384||0.474||63||5-5|
|10 (-)||BE Community 🌎||180||148||328||0.549||65||6-4|
|11 (-)||Victor 🇺🇸||159||124||283||0.562||86||6-4|
|12 (-)||Jack 🇨🇦||150||113||263||0.570||95||6-4|
|13 (-)||Ben 🇺🇸||59||35||94||0.628||186||7-3|
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