UFC Vegas 79: Main Event Prediction
UFC VEGAS 79: MAIN EVENT PREDICTION – For years the lightweight division has been the most star-studded and talent-rich division the UFC has.
An abundance of riches of high-level matchups that could be made for the enjoyment of the fans, but also to help carve out the next batch of contenders. This weekend is no different.
Rafael Fiziev looks to rebound after having his six-fight winning streak halted by Justin Gaethje earlier this year.
Mateusz Gamrot hopes to continue building momentum after bouncing back from his loss to Beneil Dariush with a win over hot prospect, Jalin Turner.
Will the mean striking approach of Fiziev break through? Or will Gamrot successfully wear on his foe and give us another classic Gamrot performance? Read on to see how these elite lightweights match up and how we can look to extract some cash from this matchup.
After stumbling in his UFC debut by being finished in less than 90 seconds, Fiziev slowly built himself back up with bigger and better wins each time out.
People started noticing Fiziev after he defeated Marc Diakiese in July 2020, and he continued to deliver. A beautiful left hook laid out Renato Moicano and a few more wins gave him his main event slot against Rafael dos Anjos last year.
He made good on that performance with an emphatic finish in the final round, setting him up for his biggest test to date in the form of former interim champion, Justin Gaethje.
He had a hot start, but ultimately the boxing and veteran experience of Gaethje shone through and handed Fiziev a decision loss.
A Fearsome Striker
At his best, Fiziev is one of the most fearsome strikers in the game.
He throws with heat in his strikes, throws in volume, and with such speed that it catches his opponents off guard. His stellar takedown defense early in fights allows him to keep fights upright where he often has the advantage over his opponents.
The flaw in his game seems to be in deep waters he starts to lose his ability to be as dominant as he is early in fights. He consistently loses the final round(s) in his fights, even when he still gets his hand raised.
That leaves me to believe that he won’t fair well in five round fights. He won his first and only five-rounder last year, but the tide was changing before he notched the finish.
Coming to the UFC in 2020 with an impressive 17-0 record, Gamrot fell flat in his debut by suffering his first professional loss to Guram Kutateladze.
He managed to get some steam back with four-straight victories, including a main event win over ultra-prospect, Arman Tsarukyan.
That seemingly set him up for a number one contender fight against Beneil Dariush last year, which he ended up coming up short in. Dariush had an answer for his style and was able to land more damage in the final two rounds to get his hand raised.
Luckily, Gamrot stepped in on short notice back in March to get back on the winning track when he smothered Jalin Turner on route to a decision victory.
The Gas Tank
Gamrot’s style is a very difficult style to deal with for most due to his relentlessness and endless gas tank.
He keeps his foot on the gas from jump and if his style doesn’t work right away, it eventually catches up to his opponent and they succumb to it.
Wrestling is the name of the game for him, but it’s really the chain wrestling that makes him so special. He puts his foot in the door with a harmless low single from distance, but that sets up the rest of his transitions and chaining and before you know it you are on the ground with him in dominant position.
Seeing how he went transition for transition against Arman Tsarukyan is all you need to know about how elite Gamrot is. Mix in his wealth of championship experience on the KSW scene even before making it to the UFC, Gamrot is the definition of a fighter that was ready for top contender fights upon his entry to the promotion.
This is a fantastic and intriguing clash of styles here. The real determining factor in this fight is at what point Fiziev will be able to stop the takedowns of Gamrot and when Gamrot will start to take over.
Does it happen far enough into round three that Fiziev can win the first three rounds no problem? Or will Gamrot squeeze out at least one of the first three rounds and win the main event rounds?
I tend to lean with the latter as I feel Fiziev was showing signs of slowing down against dos Anjos in the third round of their main event fight.
Gamrot will be more assertive and chase his takedowns more than dos Anjos did, allowing Gamrot to be successful with his style sooner. Especially at underdog odds, I feel more comfortable with the guy that has a plethora of five-round experience and a style that benefits from a longer fight.