We have a lot of stars on the show this week for UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs Volkov but outside of the upcoming card, we have some other athletes looking to make a big impact in 2021. Join me as we look at one of those names. The kickboxing specialist and gravity-defying Rafael Fiziev. Starting in the UFC with his first professional loss in MMA, “Ataman” wasted no time to let the world know that he was capable of the high-level competition in the promotion and in possibly the most skilled division in the sport.
The Life Before Competition
Born in Korday Kazahkstan Fiziev grew up being beaten up by his cousins after his father bought them some boxing gloves and forced them to spar but, ironically, he did not enjoy fighting. It wasn’t until his early teens after changing schools that he started to find his passion for Muay Thai, this was due to being bullied by his fellow classmates. He also found joy in other practices such as combat samba, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. With finding MMA Rafael admitted that the grappling aspect was the toughest to use but his stand-up also needed adjusting with the whole new challenge of takedowns at any moment.
Rafael has a record of 39-8 in kickboxing with 29 of those wins coming by way of knockout. Fiziev caught the eyes of combat sports viewers around the world in his bout against Sorgraw Petchyindee where he managed to dodge a roundhouse kick to the head by leaning back at an almost 45-degree angle. “Ataman” joined the mixed martial arts world in 2015 fighting in Asian regional promotions such as Road FC and then found success in the American promotion Titan FC, it wasn’t long before the UFC looked into him and saw his potential.
Life As An Athlete
Although competing quite frequently in both kickboxing and MMA, these bouts were not enough to keep him financially stable and after spending some time in the police academy of Kyrgyzstan he later followed in his father’s footsteps and became a police officer. Since signing with the top promotion in MMA he has shown his determination for the combat sports life but doesn’t forget about his career as an officer, he is now fully focused on his dream of becoming UFC champion of the world. Training out of Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket Thailand, and refusing to let 2 of his 3 beaten opponents see the final bell Fiziev looks to make this a tradition on his way to competing for gold.
After only 4 fights in the promotion (3-1), Fiziev has not failed to impress having 2 performance of the night bonuses in form of a fight of the night against England’s Marc Diakiese, where he showed another display of unreal athleticism almost re-created his infamous roundhouse high kick dodge and then a finish against former top UFC featherweight contender Renato Moicano. The stoppage was protested by Renato but most viewers agreed he was saved from further punishment.
So what’s next for the man in the matrix? Well after 2 victories against some top-level competition and another 3 fights on his contract I don’t think anyone would be against having Rafael face a ranked opponent such as Gregor Gillespie, the loser of Beneil Dariush vs Diego Ferreira, Kevin Lee, or possibly even Al Iaquinta.
Who would you like to see Rafael Fiziev face next?
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