The UFC APEX in Las Vegas hosts this week’s Fight Night offering a main event worthy of PPV status. Two top seven Lightweight contenders headline a fight slate consisting of eleven bouts ranging from Strawweight (115lbs.) to heavyweight (265lbs.).
Many of the combatants competing on this card may lack headliner status but with one great performance each/any/all could catapult themselves into higher profile bouts.
In the UFC combatants better finish opponents and/or put rear ends in seats (preferably both) in order to be highlighted and inserted into a main event situation.
Last week my release of Canadian Jas Jasudavicious lost which puts results to date 15-15 -0.85u. It’s time for a fourth quarter run!
Rafael Fiziev -155 vs. Mateusz Gamrot +135 Lightweight (155lbs.) main event
Polish warrior Gamrot enters this bout sixth ranked in the division and he’s utilized his world class wrestling base as the foundation for his success.
Gamrot’s supplemented his wrestling base with a black belt in BJJ which allows him to apply a forward pressing, heavy pressure grappling attack designed to back opponents up. Forward pressure is foundational to Gamrot success as he relies on grounding opponents then exercising dominance from the mat.
A couple bouts back against Beneil Dariush, Gamrot got caught off guard by a prepared, experienced well-rounded adversary. He next faced 6’3” monster and top ten lightweight power striker Jailin Turner on short notice and was able to earn victory in the most difficult of circumstances. He was focused on getting back into the win column after what he regarded as a learning experience.
Gamrot is a game, focused, experienced and confident athlete entering this bout and it matters little who is put in the cage with him for he’s competed against world class adversaries all possessing diverse, fight ending weaponry.
Sixth ranked Rafael Fiziev is a Kyrgyzstani fighter with an awareness of wrestling but he’s not near as fluent as is his opponent in that capacity. Rather, Fiziev employs a dynamic Muay Thai striking attack as his fighting base. From there he’s added a blue belt in BJJ to compliment his fighting repertoire.
Fiziev stands as the striking coach at the world-famous ‘Tiger Muay Thai’ gym in Phuket Thailand, so take it from me that his movement, strike defense, strike offense and his tactical abilities are unequaled.
Fiziev enters this fight as Gamrot did against Turner in his last, on the bounce off a loss to Justin Gaethje that in my judgment makes Fiziev extremely dangerous in this spot situationally.
That said, scouring Fiziev’s past opponents leaves me wondering why he has never faced as formidable or at least any formidable wrestling/sambo/grappling based opponents…. Could this have been by design?
Fiziev’s last opponent, Justin Gaethje painted Fiziev’s fence via striking this past March and with the humiliation of that beatdown in the rear view, Fiziev enters this fight with urgency and a singularity of focus.
Fiziev’s striking skills are refined, diverse and more damaging than are Gamrot’s and I must believe it’s Fiziev’s intention to make this a striking competition rather than allowing Gamrot to compete where he is most lethal (and Fiziev untested), against the fence and on the canvas.
Once this fight starts it will be fascinating to watch Fiziev address the immediate forward press and wrestling introduction from Gamrot. It will be critical for Gamrot to tax Fiziev and make him effort throughout the full length of the TWENTY-FIVE MINUTE fight for cardio is surely an advantage for Gamrot especially in a grueling, grinding, taxing wrestling competition which Gamrot must make this.
Fiziev is most likely to finish opponents via volume striking/kicking, he must maintain distance in order to launch and land. How he creates and maintains the necessary spacing to strike/kick is foundational to his success in this fight. How he handles Gamrot’s take down offense will also be important to his chances of earning victory.
Fiziev’s youth, his compact physique and how it translates into take down defense, the fact that he’s ‘on the bounce’ seem advantages for him in this bout.
The fact that he has not really competed against a forward pressing vice grip of a wrestling based mixed martial artist has me wondering how well prepared he may be for Gamrot’s twenty-five minutes of wrestling pressure.
For Gamrot, he must systematically break down this deft striker and force him backwards, force him to defend, force him to wrestle and force him to tire. Gamrot owns the sure way to sap the zip from any effective striker with his ability to wrestle for rounds…not minutes.
From a wrestling/grappling and mixed martial arts perspective it’s my belief that Gamrot holds advantage.
For Fiziev, it’s all about keeping this bout on the feet. He must maintain striking distance through movement and counterstriking to discourage Gamrot from rushing into the pocket to engage.
Fiziev’s take down defense will be foundational to his success because he’ll be as awkward and ineffective on the floor as Gamrot will be having to compete solely on the feet.
At the end of the day, I’ll take the wrestling-based athlete as underdog in this situation.
Total in this fight: 4.5Rds. Under -125
Charles Jourdain -135 vs. Ricardo Ramos +115 Featherweight (145lbs.)
Ramos from Brazil is well rounded in his fight makeup but specializes is striking and especially spinning kicks and elbows.
Jourdain is a kickboxing specialist at heart and while he sports BJJ skill he prefers to out point opponents with movement, precision strikes and kicks but with little power.
Early in this bout I look for both men to stand and measure the other with striking but as the bout wears on it surely makes sense for Ramos to find a way inside to engage then drag Jourdain down to the mat where Ramos is dangerous and Jourdain is somewhat exposed.
Lean to Ramos
Total in this Fight: 2.5Rds. Over -130
Lean to the over
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Thank you for reading and enjoy the fights