In the co-main event of UFC 286 we are going to see an absolute banger in the lightweight division. Former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje (23-4) returns to action as he takes on surging top contender Rafael Fiziev (12-1).
This will be the first time we’ve seen Justin Gaethje since his title loss to Charles Oliveira last May at UFC 274. Since the start of 2018, Justin Gaethje has gone 5-3 inside the octagon. The three losses came against Dustin Poirier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Oliveira. Meanwhile he’s had wins against Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson.
He’s been at the very top of the division for a long time and he’s trying to protect his spot from Fiziev. Rafael Fiziev was undefeated when he entered the UFC but was finished in his debut. That said, he hasn’t lost since his debut racking up six consecutive wins. His last win was a knockout of former lightweight champ Rafael Dos Anjos.
UFC 286 Prediction
I’m curious to see the game plan of Justin Gaethje tomorrow night. Fiziev is one of the best pure technical strikers in the lightweight division. That said, we have seen some cardio issues from Fiziev. He nearly lost his fight to Bobby Green because he gassed so bad. However, he did hold up well in his last bout against RDA.
We know Gaethje has a great gas tank and we know he has wrestling he can lean on. However, the former interim UFC champion is known for throwing heat and staying on the feet. That said, I think you’ll actually see him mix it up a little tomorrow night.
Leg kicks and takedown attempts will be mixed in through the first couple of rounds. Fiziev’s technical striking will definitely get his attention. If Gaethje can stay composed, I think he has a great chance. However, if Fiziev pisses him off and draws him into a war, I think the technical striking of Fiziev wins out.
Personally, I like Justin Gaethje at UFC 286 and I actually like him to get a finish. Something tells me that in the third round, Gaethje is going to land something big and follow things up to get the stoppage. Won’t be shocked with a Fiziev win, but I think we see a London backflip.
Prediction: Justin Gaethje by TKO – Round 3