UFC on ESPN 31 Predictions: Brad Riddell vs. Rafael Fiziev breakdown, betting odds 1

A battle of elite prospects, within the UFC lightweight division, will go toe-to-toe in a can’t miss co-main event bout. Hard-hitting #12-ranked Brad Riddell, holding a professional record of 10-1, 4-0 inside the octagon, is set to fight former teammate and self-proclaimed friend, #15 ranked Rafael Fiziev. Fiziev is a Muay Thai specialist holding a professional record of 10-1, 4-1 inside the octagon.

Riddell vs. Fiziev betting odds

The commonality of record, proximity of UFC ranking, and a shared passion for violence rationalize the odds of -115 in both directions. The close odds accompanied by each fighter knowing the other quite well from their former training days together warrants the Dana White trademark saying that this is a fight you definitely do not want to miss.

  • Riddell: -105
  • Fiziev: -125

Riddell vs. Fiziev breakdown

Riddell is a prototypical Australiasian fighter who possesses the attributes of natural power, fantastic cardio, and a keen ability to adhere to a strong game plan during the midst of a war. In his last fight, Riddell put on a masterclass performance over a perennial top-15 fighter, Drew Dober. Riddell was able to neutralize the sizable power threat of Dober by putting on constant pressure, and this pressure opened up opportunities to land takedown after takedown. Although Riddell is a sound striker in his own right and has had a natural affinity for fighting wars, he displayed the ability to fight the way that led him to the easiest path to victory against Dober, thus showcasing fantastic fight IQ. This evolution from brawling to fighting intelligently demonstrates the continual improvement Riddell has shown fight after fight. His ability, and now, willingness to use his multifaceted skill-set makes him a real problem for any fighter ranked in the lightweight division.

Being a perceived problem inside the octagon has been associated with Rafael Fiziev since his arrival at the UFC. Fiziev is an elite striker who possesses the fastest and most devastating kicks within the division. His ability to fluidly switch stances and land clean power strikes at a clip of over five strikes per minute to all areas of the body makes him a difficult fight for anyone who decides to stand against him. To date, his opponents within the UFC have had no choice but to fight in a striking affair, as Fiziev maintains a takedown defense of 100%. This impressive takedown percentage has been against fighters who have had historical success in grappling within the octagon. Renato Moicano landed 6 of 8 takedowns and Green 6 of 9 in each of their fights surrounding their bout against Fiziev. But, when fighting the Kazakhstani warrior, neither fighter could take him down. Fiziev’s ability to be an elite striker while also possessing the ability to neutralize the threat of being taken to the ground is an impressive combination that leaves many in the MMA community believing he has top-5 written all over him.

Riddell vs. Fiziev prediction

To combat the elite skill-set of Fiziev, Riddell will likely look to implement a similar plan as he had in his last fight, where he pressured the strong striker, ultimately aiming to test the cardio of his opposition which will open up takedown opportunities. The issue Riddell will find in this fight is that even though Fiziev has had mild cardio issues in the past, he has continually shown the ability to keep the fight standing. I anticipate Fiziev showcasing early on that taking him down is not a legitimate option. His ability to combat the takedown coupled with his continual output and frequent stance switches will likely frustrate Riddell throughout the fight. This frustration, accompanied by Fiziev being the more advanced striker, will allow Fiziev to have his pick of the litter as to where he lands his damaging strikes, especially over the first two rounds where cardio is not a concern.

Prediction: Fiziev by decision

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