Rafael Fiziev is finally getting his shot at Rafael dos Anjos.
Slated as a Fight Night main event, the pair are booked to throw down on the ninth of July, at a location yet to be decided.
Originally, the top-ten lightweight contenders were scheduled to meet at UFC 272, however, a brush with Covid-19 meant ‘Attaman’ was forced to withdraw just four days before the March event. The virus left him so sapped of strength, he says, that it was a struggle even to open a water bottle.
Now, two months removed from the illness, and fighting fit, the striking powerhouse looks once again to take out a former champ of the division.
In the inaugural episode of Fine Dining with Fighters (filmed before the fight was confirmed), Fiziev expressed his desire to test himself opposite the former 155-pound champ, believing it was still “the fight to make.” – A belief he shared with ‘RDA’ when he answered the Brazilian’s callout on Twitter.
Fiziev then took it a step further in a lighthearted announcement video he posted to the social media platform after the news had broken on the matchup.
“I beat Covid, now it’s your turn, Rafa,” he proclaimed in the online video.
Quizzed on his fascination with the dos Anjos pairing, and why he was so adamant to get it booked, Fiziev simply stated it was because they were both free – adding “…and because he’s also Rafael, and I don’t like it.”
“I want to stay [the] lone Rafael – one Rafael in this division, you know. That’s why I say if you lose to me, change your name,” the 29-year-old chuckled.
All joking aside, Fiziev shared his gratitude for the opportunity to test his mettle opposite a revered fighter such as dos Anjos.
“The first time… I said ‘hey let’s go’, and he said ‘let’s go’,” the Tiger Muay Thai representative claims, applauding RDA’s ‘all in’ attitude.
Though after the initial cancellation, Fiziev wasn’t certain things would run so smooth with the subsequent rebooking.
Shocked dos Anjos would accept the match, he stated “I respect him more.”
Turning his attention to the fight itself, Fiziev made sure to take notes on the replacement bout between dos Anjos and Renato Moicano. On the off chance that fight was to be rebooked in the future, he wanted to ensure he’d done his study – and is confident in what he found.
“I see [how] Rafa wants to fight with me,” the 5’8” lightweight said of dos Anjos’ possible gameplan.
“He just wants to wrestle with me, and stay close with me (gesturing distance with his hands).…he’s crazy. I’ll make him sleep in the second round if he stays with me like that.”