UFC 286 fight card: Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev among top undercard fights to watch from London

The homecoming celebrations for UFC Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards continue on Saturday night. The Brit will defend his new title on home soil in a trilogy against Kamaru Usman at UFC 286. Before the rivals pick up where they left off, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev are expected to blow the roof off the O2 Arena in London. England.

Edwards and Gaethje – CBS Sports 2022 knockout And 2021 Fight of the Year Award Winners, respectively – occupy the red corner on Saturday evening. UFC 286 may not be the most serious card of the year, but the combination of one or two hometown heroes and an all-time fan favorite is sure to make waves in London.

The trend of European fighters and fast-paced finishers can be seen throughout UFC 286, from the main pay-per-view card to the early prelims.

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Let’s take a look at three of the best fights to watch after Edwards vs Usman 3.

Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev

Every fight with Gaethje is a fight worth watching and this one is no different. Gaethje is arguably the best mixed martial arts fighter and he has bonus checks to prove it. Gaethje received 10 post-fight bonuses – six Fights of the Night and four Performances of the Night – in the same number of UFC appearances. Fiziev is a solid bonus hunter himself with five bonuses in seven UFC fights. Gaethje needs to get back on track after losing two of his last three UFC lightweight title fights against Charles Oliveira and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Fellow knockout Fiziev is on a stellar six-fight winning streak, stopping Rafael dos Anjos with punches and Brad Riddell with a kick. Gaethje has improved his fighting style to become a more technical terminator, but defense gaps still remain against the highest level opponents. Fiziev is technically healthy, but the Gaethje fight is by far the toughest fight of his career. Expect violence, lots of it.

Marvin Vettori vs. Roman Doldiz

The middle division could have an intriguing archrival. Dolidze had a late start in MMA and exceeded expectations at almost every turn. Dolidze began training in MMA at the age of 28 after intense wrestling and made his professional heavyweight debut. Dolidze is now a middleweight with a UFC 6-1 record and has found reliable power through his punches. Dolidze has received performance bonuses in his last three fights, stopping Jack Hermansson, Phil Hawes and Kyle Daukus. Vettori has been left in limbo after losses to former middleweight champions Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker, but may start to bounce back with a strong showing on Saturday. If Dolidze beats Vettori, he could start calling the best at 185 pounds.

Jack Shore vs. American Week

Grappling fans should sit down for this. Shore was becoming one of the most exciting rookies in the bantamweight division. Everything changed when Ricky Simon pressed his head into submission. Shore, a Welsh native, is struggling to stay on the edge of the UFC’s top 15 bantamweight division, but he changed his fortunes with a great performance against 25-fight veteran Amirkhani. Amirkhani has long been in the teeth and has lost four of his last five fights, but Shore’s knockout power has yet to materialize in the UFC. Shor should win this battle, but Amirkhani can make an interesting game on the ground.

honorable mentions: Muhammad Mokaev vs. Jafel Filho, Jai Herbert vs. Ludovit Klein, Gunnar Nelson vs. Brian Barberena


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