Rafael Fiziev looks set to finally get his wish. The Tiger Muay Thai fighter was set to fight Rafael Dos Anjos on two different occasions and will look to make it third time lucky when the pair meet in the main event at the upcoming UFC event on July 9th.
‘Ataman’ was forced to pull out of their previously scheduled bout in March after contracting Covid-19. Having recovered and returned to training in Phuket, the Kyrgyzstani sent a video message to his opponent via Twitter.
“I beat Covid, now it’s your turn Rafa,” he said.
— Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev (@RafaelFiziev) May 5, 2022
The former champion swiftly responded by writing, ‘See you in July kid.’ Dos Anjos is undoubtedly the toughest test of Fiziev’s UFC career so far. The 37-year-old is coming off of two straight victories including a dominant unanimous decision win over Renato Moicano at UFC 272.
The Brazilian beat his countryman to a pulp over five rounds and the contest should arguably have been stopped earlier. Dos Anjos is currently ranked #5 at lightweight after back to back victories although his last fight was at 160lbs.
RDA delivered 𝘿𝙊𝙈𝙄𝙉𝘼𝙉𝘾𝙀 last night 🔥
— UFC (@ufc) March 6, 2022
Meanwhile Fiziev, who has been excellent since losing his UFC debut in 2019 is ranked at #10. He has won five in a row and knocked out Brad Riddell on his last outing with a stunning wheel kick.
Speaking about Dos Anjos in an interview with Sports Keeda ahead of their previous booking, Fiziev outlined his respect for the veteran,
“It’s a big challenge. It’s a former champion and I respect him a lot. A long time ago I watched his fights, and I repeated the moment how Bruce Buffer called his name because it was ‘Rafael!’ and I’d repeat, repeat, repeat because I believed soon I’d be coming to the UFC and Buffer would also be calling my name. I’m just excited and I can’t wait,” said the former policeman.
— UFC (@ufc) December 5, 2021
Best of the rest
The card does not have a location confirmed although it is likely to take place at the Apex Centre in Las Vegas. Antonina Shevchenko (9-4) who, like Fiziev, has spent a lot of time at Tiger Muay Thai, has been matched with Cortney Casey (10-9) in a flyweight fight.