Rafael Fiziev is gearing up for the biggest fight of his career when he takes on former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC Vegas 58 this weekend. He ahs spent a lot of time training at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket while his opponent used to make regular trips to Evolve MMA in Singapore.

The bout has endured two prior cancellations but now looks set to finally go ahead with Fiziev headlining a UFC card for the first time in his career. The Kyrgyzstani actually lost his first fight inside the octagon but went on to win his next five reaching #10 in the lightweight rankings.

He recently relocated to Florida but says the training there is very similar to Thailand,

“Florida and Thailand are very similar. It’s beaches, you train in the morning, and then you can go to the beach and swim a little bit, take a sun, the same as in Thailand. Here at Sanford, I have a lot of good sparring partners, though; everyone is a professional here.”


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Big experience

Sanford MMA is used by the likes of Aung La Nsang and Martin Nguyen and was recently rebranded as Kill Cliff MMA although it doesn’t appear as if Fiziev got the update,

“For me, it’s a big experience because when I come to Sanford I see the big superstars like Kamaru Usman, Rory MacDonald, Robbie Lawler, Michael Chandler and I train with these guys. My eyes opened and I understand that ‘this guy is like me, and I’m like him’. I can do all the same things as them.”

Fiziev clearly feels he has what it takes to become a UFC lightweight champion. That is something Dos Anjos has already achieved which would give a win this weekend even more significance.

He thinks the biggest names in the lightweight division are ducking him but believes a win over Dos Anjos will make it more difficult for the likes of Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier to do this,

“When I beat him, I think, I don’t think, I’m sure, nobody will want to fight with me. Like Gaethje, like Poirier, like Dariush. These guys have big names and of course they don’t want to fight with me. I’m sure of this,” he said.


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Self belief

Without naming names Fiziev accuses lightweights on the UFC roster of avoiding him,

“It’s not a surprise for me when I ask somebody to fight and they say, ‘Naw, I fight with McGregor’ or “I fight for the title’ or ‘my ass pain’ or ‘my head pain’. That’s not a surprise for me because my name is still not so big, but Sean Shelby does good work and I hope he gives me a good fight.”

Training at Kill Cliff MMA has certainly made Fiziev confident. Heading into his first ever headlining UFC fight he says that the time he spent in Florida has given him even greater self belief,

“It’s made me believe more in my power.”