Justin Gaethje Vs. Rafael Fiziev Reportedly Set For UFC 286

A lightweight bout between Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev is close to being finalized for UFC 286 in London.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto during UFC Vegas 67, which was the promotion’s first event of 2023.

The matchup between top lightweights is arguably the most significant fight added to a UFC 286 card that is shaping up nicely but still lacks a confirmed main event. The main card currently includes a welterweight matchup between Gunnar Nelson and Daniel Rodriguez, as well as a battle between top middleweight contenders Marvin Vettori and Roman Dolidze.

Some highlights of the UFC 286 undercard currently include an all-English featherweight clash between Lerone Murphy and Nathaniel Wood and the return of Scotland’s Casey O’Neill, who will put her undefeated record on the line against Jennifer Maia.

Fiziev Carries Win Streak Into Gaethje Matchup

The reported fight between Gaethje and Fiziev will be one with high stakes for the lightweight division, as “The Highlight” will try and retain his #3-ranking against the considerable momentum of “Ataman.”

Fiziev joined the UFC with a 6-0 record in 2019 and suffered a first-round knockout loss in his debut, but since then the 29-year-old has quickly established himself as a serious contender at lightweight. “Ataman” is now on a six-fight winning streak with three finishes, and he scored the biggest win of his MMA career last July when he knocked out former champion Rafael dos Anjos in Fiziev’s first UFC main event.

Fiziev is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. (Zuffa LLC)

Gaethje carried a reputation as an all-action fighter during his time as lightweight champion in World Series of Fighting, and the 34-year-old has only become more of a fan favorite during his time in the UFC.

“The Highlight” went 1-2 through his first three UFC bouts but earned Fight of the Night honors in every appearance, and he followed that initial run with a four-fight finishing streak that culminated with him claiming the UFC’s interim lightweight title in a 2020 matchup with Tony Ferguson.

Gaethje’s last win came in a Fight of the Night performance over Michael Chandler in between a pair of failed bids for the lightweight title, so the 34-year-old will be looking to get back into the win column when he meets Fiziev at UFC 286.

What’s your reaction to the news of this matchup between Gaethje and Fiziev?

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