Who has better striking?
Fiziev and Yan are teammates at Tiger Muay Thai and the Azerbaijani fighter has backed the former champion to cause O’Malley problems with his boxing-centric approach. Yan is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in MMA today.
The 29-year-old has a background in boxing and has been very effective in using this style throughout his MMA career. Yan most notably was able to out-box one of the all-time greats in Jose Aldo, on his way to capturing the UFC bantamweight title in July 2020.
Fiziev thinks that O’Malley will be unprepared for a fighter of the caliber of Yan and believes that the American’s only loss in professional MMA is an indicator of this.
O’Malley suffered a first-round TKO loss to Marlon Vera in August 2020 after he suffered drop foot as a result of a kick landed by Vera.
“For O’Malley this is a big surprise because Petr Yan has very good boxing, O’Malley hasn’t fought people with boxing hands and pressure like Petr Yan,” Fiziev told TheAllStar.
“[Marlon] Vera also kicked his ***. Vera showed his level.”
O’Malley has a substantial four-inch height advantage and a five-inch reach advantage over Yan. Still, Fiziev does not consider this to be a problem for the Russian due to his experience of beating taller opponents.
Yan won the interim title in October 2021 by defeating Cory Sandhagen, who has a four-inch height advantage and three-inch reach advantage over him.
“All his career he has fought with tall guys, taller than him. For him, it will not be a surprise when he fights O’Malley.”
Fiziev did still say that O’Malley presented a threat to Yan but added that the former champion has benefitted from having a training partner in his camp who has similar physical attributes and a similar approach to the Montana native.
“Sugar is still dangerous. But we have one guy from Uzbekistan, he has the same style as Suga. Tall, same weight. Skinny and long, long legs. I think he helped Petr a lot in this camp.”
Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev is a 29-year-old male fighter from Azerbaijan with 12 pro wins and 1 loss. Fiziev most recently fought Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev on Saturday, July 9, 2022.
Rafael Fiziev’s recent form coming into this matchup
Rafael Fiziev has gone 5-0 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Win vs Rafael dos Anjos • KO/TKO R5 0:18 • 2022-07-09
- 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