Fiziev and Gamrot Fighting to Stay in UFC Championship Picture

November 15, 2023
6 months

Rafael Fiziev picking up fight of the night honors for his battle with Justin Gaethje last March won’t provide him with much comfort. Fiziev lost a controversial split decision that stopped a six-fight winning streak. Now, the No. 6-ranked striker will be looking to pick up another victory over a top-10 opponent to get back in the UFC Championship picture.

Fiziev’s opponent on Saturday in Las Vegas will be No. 7 Mateusz Gamrot, who is no stranger to split decisions himself. Gamrot has won two of his past three fights by split decisions. The Polish fighter is willing to lean on his wrestling to grind out victories. Whether or not Gamrot can get Fiziev to the ground will determine how this fight goes.

Anyone Looking for a Lightweight Title Fight Needs to Stand Out

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The UFC’s lightweight division has many exciting fighters in the top 10. Anyone looking to earn a shot at current champion Islam Makhachev will need to make an impact every time they step into the octagon. Fiziev has seen his power translate to the UFC. He has knockouts over former champion Rafael dos Anjos and has finished Brad Riddell and Renato Moicano.

Gamrot doesn’t have the stopping power Fiziev does. His fights tend to be grappling-heavy affairs that may turn off fans looking for a wild finish. Gamrot, 22-2 on his career, has seen his last three fights go to a decision.

The fighters above Gamrot and Fiziev in the rankings typically produce wild, exciting fights. Top-ranked contender Charles Oliveira hopes to grab his title back when he finds Makhachev in October at UFC 294. Gaethje, the No. 2 contender, is angling for a Conor McGregor fight. As is No. 5 contender Michael Chandler. With No. 3 Dustin Poirier and No. 4 Beneil Dariush each coming off knockout losses, there is an opportunity for Fiziev and Gamrot if they can put up an impressive performance.

Thug Nasty Ready to Get Back to Business

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No. 10 featherweight Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell will be able to show he responds to disappointment for the first time in his career. Last time out, the Arkansas native had a tough fight against Ilia Topuria to see which fighter would be fast-tracked to a title opportunity. Topuria put on a striking clinic vs. Mitchell before locking up a submission. 

Mitchell, now 15-1, will get another tough test in No. 12 Dan Ige. This is a significant improvement in quality for Ige. After a three-fight losing streak, Ige stepped down in competition and beat Damon Jackson and Nate Landwehr. While Ige has fought tough fighters in the past, Mitchell will be another stiff test for the veteran.

A Rematch Few People Asked For

Marina Rodriguez’s best run in the UFC included a win over Michelle Waterson-Gomez. The pair, who will have a rematch at women’s strawweight on Saturday, previously main-evented a fight night card on Oct. 9, 2021. Rodriguez won a comfortable unanimous decision during the middle of a four-fight winning streak.

But things have soured for Rodriguez, who has lost two straight fights. Waterson-Gomez, 37, is likely nearing retirement. She has lost five of her previous six contests, including two losses to former champions. Waterson-Gomez hasn’t won a fight since picking up a split decision victory over Angela Hill on Sept. 12, 2023.

Young Welterweights Look For a Bump

A.J. Fletcher finally got the result he was hoping for last time out. After losing two decisions to start his UFC career, Fletcher got into the win column in February by submitting Themba Gorimbo. Fletcher, who is 10-2 overall, now will get a chance to fight Bryan Battle.

Battle has found much more success in the UFC. He is 4-1 with the promotion since he debuted with a submission of Gilbert Urbina on Aug. 28, 2021. In Battle’s last fight, he picked up his second knockout in his previous three fights by eliminating Gabriel Green in 14 seconds.

Ramos, and Jourdain Will Open Main Card

Featherweight Ricardo Ramos has been looking to get some positive momentum going forward. Over his past four fights, Ramos is 2-2. Ramos is a well-rounded fighter who can attack opponents in various ways. He has put together a 16-4 record with seven submission wins.

Charles Jourdain got back in the win column at UFC 288 in May. Jourdain won an inspiring unanimous decision over Kron Gracie. He had lost two fights by decision in the two fights before his win over Gracie.

Argueta Eager to Get Another Win

Bantamweight Dan Argueta was disappointed with his last fight in June. Argueta was in top position against Ronnie Lawrence and trying to finish a guillotine choke when referee Keith Peterson called a stop to the battle after he thought Lawrence was unconscious. But it turns out that Lawrence wasn’t out and hadn’t tapped.

Argueta had the win taken away from him and was ruled a no-contest. Argueta, who is 9-1, will take on Miles Johns, who has won three of his past four fights.

Usman Ready to Show Off

Heavyweight Mohammed Usman didn’t look like a top prospect when he was brutally knocked out in the Professional Fighters League. Mohammed Usman, whose brother Kamaru is a former UFC champion, has done better since he jumped to the UFC. Usman knocked out Zac Pauga and won by decision against Junior Tafa.

Usman will show how far he’s come when he fights veteran Jake Collier. Collier, who is 13-9 in his career, has lost three straight fights and needs to get back on track with a victory.

Best of the Rest

The first card held at the UFC Apex in a few months is scheduled for 11 fights. While things can change at the weigh-ins or due to injury, here’s a look at what wasn’t mentioned above.

  • Welterweight: Tim Means vs. Andre Fialho.
  • Middleweight: Jacob Malkoun vs. Cody Brundage.
  • Women’s Strawweight: Mizuki Inoue vs. Hannah Goldy.
  • Women’s Bantamweight: Montserrat Rendon vs. Tamires Vidal.

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