While headlines are buzzing around Charles Oliveira‘s win at UFC 274 despite losing the title, one lightweight contender has his sights set on a different man in his future.
At KataTurk restaurant in Phuket, Thailand, Rafael Fiziev was the special guest on Fine Dining with Fighters to discuss an assortment of topics. Among them, his outlook on the lightweight division. The weight class is experiencing a turnover and invasion of new talent of which Fiziev is a poster boy.
‘Ataman’ believes that despite Oliveira holding his spot at the top for a year now, Islam Makhachev is the man at lightweight.
“Inside, I think only about Makhachev,” Fiziev told The AllStar. “Because his wrestling is real good and he knows how to use it and when you use this. So his striking- his striking is not shit, his striking is good also.”
With Oliveira set as the number one contender after choking out Justin Gaethje, it would seem that the stage is set for Oliveira to face off with Makhachev for the vacant lightweight title when the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi this October. It’s unclear whether the UFC will book that fight or choose to offer Makhachev a fight with Beneil Dariush that was planned for last February, but either way, Fiziev believes that Makhachev is the next champion.
Fiziev will be fighting Rafael dos Anjos at a UFC Fight Night event at the end of July, allowing him to climb much higher in the rankings should he win- dos Anjos is ranked number six at the time of this writing.
The stylistic possibilities of a Makhachev-Fiziev clash for the title would produce a marvelous fight pulling in MMA fans from around the world. As Fiziev continues knocking off the opposition on his quest to the top, that fight could come to fruition within the next year.
Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev is a 29-year-old male fighter from Kyrgyzstan with 11 pro wins and 1 loss. Fiziev most recently fought Brad Riddell at UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Aldo on Saturday, December 4, 2021.
Rafael Fiziev’s recent form coming into this matchup
Rafael Fiziev has gone 5-0 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Win vs Brad Riddell • KO/TKO R3 2:20 • 2021-12-04
- Win vs Bobby Green • Decision R3 5:00 • 2021-08-07
- Win vs Renato Moicano • KO/TKO R1 4:05 • 2020-12-12
- Win vs Marc Diakiese • Decision R3 5:00 • 2020-07-18
- Win vs Alex White • Decision R3 5:00 • 2019-10-26