Rafael Fiziev

Rafael Fiziev and Mateusz Gamrot will clash in this Saturday night’s main event fight at UFC Vegas 79.

The promotion heads back to the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas for another Fight Night card with Fiziev and Gamrot set to battle for five rounds.

Before the event kicks off this weekend, make sure to catch up on the latest betting odds, as well as our detailed fight breakdowns, predictions, and betting tips for this fight and all other fight predictions here.

Betting Odds

Rafael Fiziev will enter this main event as the betting favorite with odds of -155 up against Mateusz Gamrot, who can be found as a slight underdog at +125.

  • Mateusz Gamrot: +125 (BetUS)
  • Rafael Fiziev: -155 (BetUS)

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Fiziev vs Gamrot predictions

Braeden Arbour

This is a very high level of MMA being showcased this Saturday. Both of these men push a high pace and take risks. Fiziev will obviously look to keep the fight standing and highlight his world-class muay thai, while Gamrot will be looking to mix things up and put Fiziev on the mat early.

Fiziev will have to deny the takedown consistently. He has 90% takedown defense thus far in the octagon, due to a number of factors. Fiziev is powerful and technical in his wrestling defense but even more importantly his management of range and space allow him to largely be in control of the striking dynamic. By extension, he makes it very difficult for his opponent to set any traps in order to capitalize on a takedown or find their timing to level change.

Fiziev is known for his power kicks, preferably for him the rear right kick from the conventional stance. A strike so powerful it garners respect from most opponents and forces them to react dramatically whenever he shows them the look. He does not telegraph the direction, hiding the target, whether the head, ribs or midsection, making it particularly difficult to read or block. This forces his opponents to largely shell up and defend, instead of looking for a counter as often as against others. Fiziev has a tricky combination, entering with the right kick to the switch step through the right cross, setting up a big left hook. Although his strikes are always fast and crisp, he allows himself to wind up on some power punches when he can freeze up his opponent with the threat of the kick or a stance switch.

Yet, while Fiziev’s distance control makes it difficult to time a good takedown, Gamrot rarely needs the perfect shot to enter. Gamrot has a takedown accuracy stat of just 30%, which is massively misleading. He is one of the best chain wrestlers in a division with many high level grapplers, and he will often look to shoot any initial level change just to make contact and then work from there.

Often, you will see Gamrot lull his opponent before going from 0-100, diving for an ankle, changing the angle and chaining on his next attempt to gain control. He will allow his opponents to create space while they scramble to expose the back, or build up another shot with full momentum.

This is why, although Fiziev has good technical anti-wrestling and range control, he will have to consistently be aware because Gamrot will look to shoot at unorthodox and technically inopportune times, knowing that on the third or forth transition in the sequence he can find his control position. Gamrot will take chokes if they are offered but typically specializes in isolating and snatching limbs for joint lock submissions.

This is a very good fight. If odds were even, I do like the chances of Fiziev making it awkward enough to shoot on him, that he finds Gamrot’s chin enough to hurt him badly. However as the underdog, Gamrot is a good value. Fiziev, while looking incredible in all his fights, dominance and wars, has not actually faced the kind of grappler that Gamrot represents. Yes, Fiziev has denied good grapplers, but the submission threat on top of the chain wrestling will be the biggest test so far for the Thai boxing expert.

Best Bet: Mateusz Gamrot to win (+121)

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Michael Pounders

Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev, 30, lost a fight-of-the-year caliber match to Gaethje back in March, which brought his UFC record to 6-2. The #6 ranked lightweight is no stranger to fan-friendly fights, often putting on a show whether he wins via spinning wheel kick or loses by majority decision. No matter the outcome, Fiziev’s unique and video-game-like striking often results in violence.

Fiziev is as fast as lightning, as damaging as a jackhammer, and as dynamic as the controversial UFC striking updates. Hyperbole and jokes aside, Fiziev is one of the best Muay Thai strikers in the stacked lightweight division. He typically starts fast, pushing and pressuring forward early in the fight. Fiziev, using pressure, feints, and stance switching, looks to trap his opponent to create a stationary target.

As he’s pressuring and switching stances, Fiziev lands devastating body, head, and back-leg calf kicks. That back-leg calf kick represents how dynamic and athletic he is, few fighters have the speed and flexibility to land that kick with regularity. Once his opponents are trapped or decide to plant their feet, Fiziev really ramps up his volume. He looks for digs to the body, creative kicks to the head, or a simple but powerful 1-2 combination.

Beyond his elite striking, Fiziev is also a highly skilled defensive grappler. He has unique balance and ability to keep it standing, especially against single leg attempts where he can raise his taken leg up and bounce on his grounded leg. Fiziev’s killer body shots also result in natural underhooks which help him stuff take down attempts. Even though Fiziev often has the edge on the feet and many fighters have tried to take him down, he still holds a 90% takedown defense.

Mateusz “Gamer” Gamrot, 32, began his career undefeated until he lost a split decision that he arguably won. This resulted in Gamrot often being considered the unsung contender of the division. Then, he fought the surging Arman Tsarukyan in a fight that went 25 insanely hard minutes and included some of the highest-level grappling exchanges and scrambling moments in any fight.

Since then, Gamrot lost a decision and won a controversial split. This has shifted his reputation from the unsung contender to someone who might be overrated. As with most things, I think the middle is more accurate. Gamrot is undeniably an excellent fighter with persistent and high-volume boxing who can weaponize pressure. He is also a strong wrestler and grappler who averages 4.5 takedown attempts per fight. “Gamer” only lands his takedowns at a 31% clip; but, once he gets fighters down, Gamrot is able to hold position well and land effective ground and pound while winning important minutes of rounds.

What Gamrot’s wrestling does that can’t be tracked by statistics is how it opens up his striking. Gamrot will regularly feint takedowns to get his opponents to react to the shot, leaving their chin exposed for Gamrot to land a quick combination. By keeping his opponent guessing, Gamrot is able to win round after round in fights. That coupled with his pressure and resilience often results in him winning close decisions with regularity.

This is a terrible stylistic matchup for Gamrot. Despite Strickland shocking the world by out-striking an elite kickboxer with his basic but persistent boxing; typically, once fighters are at a similarly high level, the more dynamic striker will win the exchanges on the feet.

There is no question that Fiziev’s Matrix-like Muay Thai far exceeds Gamrot’s boxing in terms of dynamism, speed, and damage. Moreover, I feel both Fiziev’s and Gamrot’s cardio tanks have been misrepresented in opposite directions. Fiziev often looks tried in the cage but tends to fight, even in the later rounds of a war, with explosive movements.

This indicates that, despite his outward fatigue, “Ataman” is able to push through the wall and succeed in deep waters. Meanwhile, outside of his stellar fight with Tsarukyan, Gamrot’s cardio has been reliable but not a weapon. He looked understandably slower in round 3 of both of his last fights. While I do expect Gamrot to have the better gas tank, I don’t expect him to be able to weaponize it in this fight.

Finally, I see Gamrot’s wrestling x-factor as a non-factor against the athletic, unbelievably well-balanced, and explosive Fiziev who, despite fighting strong grapplers in Diakiese, Moicano, and RDA, still holds a 90% takedown defense. Fiziev’s body work will serve as a natural underhook and his balance will help him stay upright when Gamrot looks for single leg attempts. In short, I respect Gamrot and think the line in this fight is appropriate; and, while I’m not making a substantial bet, I will be siding with Fiziev.

Best Bet: Fiziev to win (-155)

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Joe Pounders

Rafael Fiziev is one of the most entertaining strikers in the lightweight division, if not the entire UFC. Training out of Tiger Muay Thai, Fiziev has an excellent arsenal of attacks at his disposal, all of which are thrown with lightning speed and thumping power. Perhaps his best striking tool is his ability to find damaging body strikes, whether it be with a left hook that digs to the body or a leg kick thrown with zero telegraph in front. This striking tool will be a pivotal component to implement early on in this fight given his opponent has shown to be susceptible to wearing body strikes, so throwing the best strike against a weak point early will help Fiziev control the direction of the fight as it progresses, a pivotal component to success.

The other critical component of success in this fight is takedown defense. The longer the fight stays standing, the greater Fiziev can separate in a positive manner. The benefit, for him, is that he has impeccable takedown defense. But, if he somehow finds his way to his back whether it be a slip done when kicking or if Gamrot times a perfect takedown, getting up may be a fight-losing struggle.

Taking Fiziev to the mat is the likely gameplan of the impeccable wrestler, Mateusz Gamrot. His wrestling acumen approaches the top of MMA as he successfully wrestled elite of elite wrestlers, Arman Tsarukyan and Beneil Dariush (although lost the fight). In those fights, he had a combined 40 takedowns attempted which is an astronomical number but displays his relentless commitment to the grappling attack, and more importantly, the cardio needed to shoot that many takedowns.

In this fight, where Arman and Dariush were perhaps more willing to give up a takedown to create a scramble and/or trusted their ability to get up off the canvas, Fiziev will likely put all effort into stuffing takedowns, so while Gamrot has the track record of success against elite grapplers, he may find it more challenging here than anticipated.

If Gamrot cannot consistently find success wrestling Fiziev, the good thing for him is that he does have powerful striking. And, while some may state powerful striking cannot beat the elite technician that is Rafael Fiziev on the feet, there is a proven pathway to success shown by Justin Gaethje, a power striker in his own right. That blueprint is throwing leg kicks, landing power, and perhaps most importantly, showcasing no fear in standing toe-to-toe against the elite striker of Fiziev. Gamrot has the skills necessary to do the technical techniques Gaethje displayed, and he has shown the quote-on-quote dog in him, so if standing, it should be closer than perhaps expected.

The odds in this fight are spot on. Rafael Fiziev’s elite takedown defense, an electrifying arsenal of strikes, and lessons learned from the Justin Gaethje defeat warrant the slight favorite over a powerful, relentless wrestler of Mateusz Gamrot who holds wins over several dangerous lightweight contenders. So, when odds are this sharp, there is little value on the ML side. Because of this, I am electing to pick rounds prop of o3.5 rounds because Gamrot’s key to victory is by wrestling and depleting the cardio of Fiziev, and for Fiziev, his finishes typically come late in the fight if at all, so o3.5 presents value even at a price of -155.

Best Bet: Over 3.5 rounds (-155)

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