Home/News/Fiziev ‘more than capable’ of handling Gaethje’s wrestling

Fiziev ‘more than capable’ of handling Gaethje’s wrestling

By |Published On: March 16, 2023|0 Comments|

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LONDON – Coach Frank Hickman is not worried if Rafael Fiziev’s fight with Justin Gaethje hits the mat.

Fiziev (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) meets Gaethje (23-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 286 co-headliner at The O2 in London. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.

Both men didn’t rule out the possibility of wrestling, and Hickman says Fiziev will be ready to go to the ground with Gaethje.

“As a wrestling coach, you always prepare for everything,” Hickman told MMA Junkie. “Wrestler or non-wrestler, you want to prepare for the worst. If Justin wants to wrestle, Rafael is more than capable of handling that situation – defensively and offensively. Rafael is a complete MMA fighter.

“He’s not just good at the striking, he’s good at that because that’s what you’ve seen, but I’ve also seen him stop a lot of takedowns and get takedowns of his own. So with that, there is always a threat of it. But an MMA fight, you have to be ready for all angles.”

Fiziev and Gaethje are two of the most exciting strikers in the lightweight division. But Hickman thinks Fiziev’s IQ is what will make the difference and help him prevail in the fight.

“I think Rafael can dictate where this fight goes,” Hickman said. “Obviously on his feet is where he’s most comfortable. So, Rafael just needs to go in there, get his distance, and get comfortable right away. Then once that happens and his IQ takes over, it could be a long night for Justin.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.

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