Rafael Fiziev has been rocketing up the UFC’s lightweight rankings, but there is plenty at stake for Fiziev and his opponent Rafael dos Anjos Saturday night in Las Vegas. When promoting the fight, dos Anjos joked the fight would settle which fighter is the “Best Rafael ever“.
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With the name issue aside, both men can focus on establishing themselves as a top contender in a crowded lightweight division. dos Anjos, who is 37 and former champion in the division, is on a two-fight winning streak and is hoping to get one last shot at a title. After losing his first UFC fight Fiziev, 29, has won five straight and moved into the top 10 in the rankings.
With a solid card with the exciting main event scheduled, here’s a look at where there is value on this card. Anyone who would like to know more about MMA betting can look at our betting guide.
In her sister’s shadow
Antonina Shevchenko has been active in the UFC for years, but hasn’t had the success her younger sister, Valentina, has had in the octagon. While Valentina, who is 34, has defended the flyweight championship on several occasions, Antonina, 37, hasn’t found a way to challenge to get in the rankings. In recent fights, Antonina has absorbed a lot of punishment.
Antonina, who is 9-4 in her career, has been submitted and knocked out in her past two fights. Another one of her losses, a decision defeat to former title challenger Katlyn Chookagian, was also a lopsided defeat. With all that in mind, Antonina will take on Cortney Casey, who has also been inconsistent in the UFC.
Casey, who is 10-9 in her career with four submissions and three knockouts, stopped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision win over Liana Jojua in November 2021. Casey will want to avoid turning this into a kickboxing match, as Antonina came up through kickboxing and should have the edge on the feet. There will be a push for Casey to get this fight on the ground.
While there is a chance this fight may go the distance, Shevchenko has shown recently she is prone to putting herself in bad spots. Both fighters will push to make a statement and there is value on this result not being left to the judges.
Bet Fight to end distance +148 or take a flyer on Casey at +150.
Let’s see what you have
Tresean Gore and Cody Brundage will meeet in an undercard fight between two middleweight prospects. Gore only has four professional MMA fights on his record, including a decision loss to Bryan Battle in his UFC in February 2022. Brundage is 7-2 in his professional career, including a 1-1 mark in the UFC.
Brundage picked up his first UFC win in his last outing, submitting Dalcha Ungiambula with a guillotine choke. Coming up, Brundage was a collegiate wrestler and prefers to grapple. However, Brundage has had difficult doing so in the UFC only landing takedowns at a 25% clip. If Gore can avoid getting taken down, his superior striking should be able to carry him to a victory over Brundage.
While Gore still has an issue with experience, his superior striking should allow him to pick up a decision at -150.
Who is the best Rafael?
Fiziev, now ranked No. 8, left a real impression in his last fight with Brad Riddell. After winning four of his first five victories by decision, he finished Riddell with a vicious spinning wheel kick. Now, Fiziev has been presented with an opportunity to get in the deep water with a former champion.
Fiziev is a muay thai specialist who prefers to stand and strike. dos Anjos (31-13) had a top-level ground game and has won 10 fights by submission. However, getting the fight to the ground may not be so easy for the former champ. Fiziev has a 95% takedown defense.
dos Anjos has a 37% takedown percentage and lands 3.62 significant strikes per minute on average in his career. This is a main event that has a number of different scenarios for how it ends. Therefore, depending on how you feel, there are a lot of bets available at plus money.
At this point in his career, Fiziev will likely be too fast for dos Anjos and Fiziev is priced as a -225 favorite. dos Anjos is +175 to win straight up.
However, it would be better to bet him at +210 to win by finish.