A big fight is added to UFC 286 PPV as Justin Gaethje is slated to face Rafael Fiziev.
The news about the lightweight bout comes from ESPN’s Bret Okamoto, who reported that the bout is nearly signed. Justin Gaethje also confirmed the same later via Twitter. UFC President Dana White also confirmed this bout as the co-main event of UFC 286 during post-show conference of UFC Vegas 67.
It will be Gaethje’s first fight since he lost the UFC Lightweight Championship bout to Charles Oliviera at UFC 274 in May 2022. That was his only fight in 2022. In fact, since the start of 2020, he has been involved in just 4 bouts.
Gaethje won the interim Lightweight title by beating Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 before losing the title unification bout to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254. Gaethje then defeated Michael Chandler via unanimous decision at UFC 268 in a fight which was awarded the Fight of the Year award for 2021. It also remains Gaethje’s last win.
Gaethje holds a 6-4 record in UFC with the other two losses coming to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez. He still holds the #3 spot in UFC Lightweight rankings and would certainly hope to get another title shot with his win at UFC 286.
Rafael Fiziev has become another solid title contender with his 6-fights winning streak. His only loss in UFC came in his promotional debut against Magomed Mustafaev back in 2019. Since then, he has defeated Alex White, Marc Diakiese, Renato Moicano, Bobby Green and Brad Riddel until the end of 2021.
In 2022, Fiziev could only fight once as his fight against Rafael do Anjos got pushed twice due to visa and COVID-19 issues. When the bout finally took place in July 2022, Fiziev got a knockout at the start of fifth round. He holds #6 spot in UFC Lightweight rankings.
UFC 286 will airs live from London, UK, on March 18, 2023. It is expected to be headlined by a trilogy bout between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman for UFC Welterweight Championship.