Rafael Fiziev announced himself to the UFC Lighter scene with a jaw dropping stoppage victory over Brad Riddell in the Co-Main Event of UFC Vegas 44 (UFC On ESPN 31) on Saturday night at the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas.
Both fighter staged a very competitive first two rounds after which Fiziev blasted Riddell with a spinning wheel kick that immediately stunned him and forced a wave from him, like he was signalling for a break before eventually falling to the canvas. Herb Dean quickly rushed in to stop the fight at exactly 2:20 of round 3.
“This is from God. God give me power,” Fiziev said after his fifth straight win. “I love [Brad Riddell]. When I meet with him, I love him from the first second. I learned from him before and today also. I hope he comes back.
“I wait for this moment in three rounds. I know when he goes this way, he drop his hands down and he forgets about spinning back kicks.”
Both had trained together in the past and showed a lot of respect in the fight but it didn’t take long for Fiziev to start landing big body kicks, while Riddell answered with big punch counters and before the round ended, Riddell rained a flurry on Fiziev that forced him on the back-foot and eventually on his heel.
Fiziev was a little cautious in his exchanges early in the fight but was able to land a big elbow that immediately opened up a cut on his upper Riddell’s upper eyebrow, messing up his face with blood. Riddell kept his fight speed and combinations on despite the blood dripping from his face.
The second and the third round saw more of the same energy from both fighters and Fiziev was the better fighter due to his divers Arsenal and his ability to mix them up including a big right that kept Riddell at bay, anytime he seemed too aggressive.
Fiziev then blew Riddell away with a Spinning Wheel kick forced a delay from both the referee and Fiziev, who tried to understand the meaning of the wave, he did after receiving the kick. Riddell’s fall to the canvas immediately confirmed it was the end.
The deep lightweight division is now open for Fiziev, who will be possibly thrown into a big match up next. However, he doesn’t want to be the one to choose and will prefere to leave it in the hands of the matchmakers.
“I don’t want to call someone,” Fiziev said. “Give me three months and I’m ready to fight again.”