March 17, 2023 12:18 PM
Ewan Lavender

MMA Preview – Justin Gaethje vs Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286

Click here for today’s sports betting tips from our expert analysts!


When is UFC 286? Saturday 18th March, 2023 - 19:00 (Prelims) 21:00 (PPV - £19.95)

Where is UFC 286? The O2 Arena, London (US)

Where can I get tickets for UFC 286? Click here to buy tickets for UFC 286

What channel is UFC 286 on? BT Sport 1

Where can I stream UFC 286? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website

For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ and you can sign up for access as part of a Disney Bundle here!


Justin Gaethje’s (23-4) title attempts were abruptly halted by the world class grapplers Khabib Nurmagomedov (2020) and Charles Oliveira (2022) who wrapped up quick submissions. The Nurmagomedov triangle snapped an incredible four-fight knockout streak. He bounced back with a predictable ‘Fight of the Year’ display with Michael Chandler (2021) coming out on top in a unanimous decision and now, he hopes to get back in the dub column after the Oliveira loss even if his title aspirations looking bleak with Islam Makchachev at the realm.

Rafael Fiziev (12-1) is currently on his own knockout streak collecting the scalps of top lightweights. He earnt a unanimous decision over Marc Diakiese (2020) before knocking out Renato Moicano (2020) and then earnt another unanimous decision over Bobby Green (2021) before erasing Brad Riddell (2021) and Rafael dos Anjos (2022). Those performances earnt him a bonus in every fight and extended his streak to six.


What a perfect co-main for the UFC London card and it has ‘Fight of the Night’ written all over it. They are two of the most electrifying strikers in the division and despite the wrestling credentials of Gaethje, we expect this to be another violent war on the feet.

Fiziev has the better technique with world class Muay Thai and Gaethje has some of the best hands and leg kicks in the division. The main difference on the feet is Gaethje’s defence which in all honesty is pretty poor absorbing nearly eight significant strikes per minute. That said, his durability is still there.

We are favouring Fiziev simply due to his speed, movement and miles on Gaethje’s clock. However, Gaethje’s experience will be priceless. His fight with Chandler was also three rounds and he will know how to pace himself with five-round cardio in the locker.

It would be surprising if fireworks were not set off at the O2 in this one which means this fight can go either way in an instant. Fiziev is the favourite, and we feel his technique and speed will enable him to win the majority of the exchanges although he will have to absorb a lot of damage.

Gaethje’s power and output will pose problems Fiziev has not faced before and we expect his durability to hold up. So, there is a lot of value on him considering the odds, but we are leaning toward Fiziev.

Prediction: Fiziev via Decision - CLICK HERE FOR PARIMATCH'S WELCOME OFFER (BET £5, GET £30 IN BONUSES!)

Value bet: Gaethje to win

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