Tonight’s UFC 286 event is co-headlined by a key lightweight matchup featuring Justin Gaethje taking on Rafael Fiziev.
Gaethje (23-4 MMA) will be returning to action for the first time since being defeated by Charles Oliveira at UFC 274. Prior to that setback, ‘The Highlight’ was coming off a unanimous decision victory over Michael Chandler in a bout that given ‘Fight of the Year’ honors for 2021.
Meanwhile, Rafael Fiziev (12-1 MMA) will enter tonight’s co-main event sporting a six-fight winning streak, his latest being a fifth-round knockout victory over Rafael dos Anjos. ‘Ataman’ has earned eight of his twelve career wins by way of knockout.
Round one of the UFC 286 co-main event begins and Fiziev comes out firing with a pair of kicks. Justin Gaethje replies with a heavy low kick that almost knocked ‘Ataman’ down to the canvas. Good low kicks from both men now. Rafael Fiziev goes to the body with a kick. He lands another and then just misses with a big left. Good punches from Fiziev. ‘The Highlight’ answers with a good shot. He lands a nice uppercut. Fiziev with a good right. These guys are swinging for the fences with their punches. Fiziev with a good kick to the body. Gaethje with a hard low kick. ‘Ataman’ answers with a nice combination. Just over a minute remains in the opening round. Fiziev with a leaping uppercut that lands. Justin Gaethje fires off a combination that falls short. Rafael with a low kick but Justin checks it. ‘The Highlight’ shoots for a takedown, he doesn’t get it but lands a nice right. Fiziev leaps in with a knee. The fighters clinch. Gaethje with a right. The horn sounds to end round one.
Round 1 was as advertised. #UFC286 live on PPV pic.twitter.com/WcVMEg0Y3F
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) March 18, 2023
Round two of the UFC 286 co-main event begins and Rafael Fiziev is coming out swinging. He lands a big kick and then a right hand. Big shots from both men in the pocket. They clinch up. Fiziev breaks free and starts swinging wildly. Gaethje with an accidental eye poke and the referee pauses the action so Fiziev can recover. We restart and Gaethje throws a head kick which is partially blocked. Rafael with a body kick. Gaethje replies with a good combination. Another good flurry in the pocket. ‘The Highlight’ appeared to get the better of that exchange. More big shots in the pocket. Fiziev with a left, Gaethje a right. ‘Ataman’ is throwing bombs, but he has cuts around both his eyes now. Justin Gaethje with a good low kick. Fiziev with a body kick. Gaethje swings and misses with a high kick. The horn sounds to end round two.
MORE VIOLENCE 😳 #UFC286 pic.twitter.com/KIonr3sByJ
— UFC (@ufc) March 18, 2023
The third and final round of the UFC 286 co-headliner begins and Justin Gaethje comes forward. Rafael Fiziev counters with a big punch. ‘The Highlight’ appears to be rocked. Fiziev with a big punch and then a kick to the body. Gaethje is still hanging in there and lands a left hook. ‘Ataman’ forces the clinch and lands some big knees. The fighters separate and Gaethje immediatley looks for a takedown. He grabs a single leg but can’t get Fiziev to the ground. Justin with a good jab and then another. Rafael Fiziev with a good right hand. Gaethje replies with a pair of lefts. Another right from Fiziev. This is a war. A big right over the top from Justin Gaethje. These guys are throwing caution to the wind now. Fiziev with a 1-2. He backs Justin against the fence. ‘The Highlight’ with a nice uppercut. He lands a good left. Fiziev is still coming forward. He lands a good left and then a right. Gaethje with a counter right. Fiziev is a bloody mess. Justin Gaethje shoots and scores a late takedown. He may have just won this fight. The horn sounds and we go to the judges’ scorecards.
AS ADVERTISED!!!!!!!!!! 🤯😳 #UFC286 pic.twitter.com/HXT5czKUc7
— UFC (@ufc) March 18, 2023
Official UFC 286 Result: Justin Gaethje def. Rafael Fiziev majority decision (29-28 x2, 28-28)
Who would you like to see Gaethje fight next following his victory over Fiziev this evening in London, England? Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!