Justin Gaethje vs Rafael Fiziev UFC 286 Fight Prediction, Odds & Picks: “Ataman” Continues Rising Up Rankings
There’s plenty of excitement surrounding UFC 286, which emirates live from the O2 Arena in London, England on Saturday, March 18. On an absolutely stacked card, one fight that stands out is the lightweight co-main event between Justin Gaethje (23-4) and Rafael Fiziev (12-1).
Gaethje — a former interim lightweight champion — heads into the weekend as the division’s No. 3-ranked fighter. Meanwhile, Fiziev has been climbing up the rankings and currently sits at No. 6. In other words, a victory here would be huge if either fighter hopes to challenge for some gold soon.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that there are several Gaethje vs. Fiziev betting opportunities worth considering. Here’s a look at the latest odds from four different sportsbooks for the UFC 286 co-main event, as well as a prediction and the best bet(s) for the fight.
Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev — Tale of the Tape
Justin Gaethje — Rafael fiziev
- Record: 23-4 — 12-1
- Height: 5’11” — 5’8”
- Reach: 69.5” — 71”
- Weight: 155lbs — 155lbs
- Age: 34 — 30
- Fighting Stance: Orthodox — Switch
- Knockouts: 19 — 8
UFC 286: Gaethje vs. Fiziev Fight Odds (as of Thursday, March 16)
Odds are via our top reviewed and recommended sportsbooks.
- Justin Gaethje +186
- Rafael Fiziev -245
- Justin Gaethje +190
- Rafael Fiziev -230
- Justin Gaethje +190
- Rafael Fiziev -245
- Justin Gaethje +175
- Rafael Fiziev -225
Oddsmakers Favor Fiziev in London
Though both fighters are talented in their own right, the four highlight sportsbook agree that Fiziev is the clear-cut favorite this weekend. He carries an average of -236 odds across all four sources, which implies that he has a 70.2% chance of victory at UFC 286.
Fiziev has been on fire over the last few years. After getting knocked out by Magomed Mustafaev in his UFC debut back in 2019, Fiziev has rattled off six consecutive victories. He’s earned ‘performer of the night’ honors in three of those bouts while two of the others were labeled ‘fight of the night.’
It also isn’t like Fiziev’s been barely getting by his opponents. Three of his last six victories have come by unanimous decision while the other three came via KO. He’s beaten notable names like Renato Moicano and former KOTC Junior Welterweight titleholder Bobby Green over that stretch.
Even more impressive was Fiziev’s latest win — a fifth-round knockout victory against former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Vegas 58. Needless to say, the 30-year-old has all of the momentum in the world.
If Gaethje plans to “humble” Fiziev, he needs to break out of his recent funk. The former interim UFC Lightweight Champion has come up short in two of his last three outings. He followed up his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov with a unanimous decision victory over Michael Chandler, only to submit to Charles Oliveira in his latest fight at UFC 274.
Although there’s no shame in losing to two world-class fighters, there’s no doubt that momentum isn’t on Gaethje’s side. He only lost twice prior to his rut, leaving MMA enthusiasts wondering if he can turn things around at UFC 286.
Gaethje will likely come at Fiziev with a barrage of strikes right from the beginning. The Safford, Arizona native averages 7.46 significant strikes per minute with 60% accuracy. That’s nearly three more strikes per minute than Fiziev (4.81). Still, the latter is a solid striker himself and absorbs three fewer blows per minute than his counterpart.
Even if Gaethje uses his wrestling skills to try and tire Fiziev out, “Ataman” possesses a 92% takedown defense rate. Regardless of how you look at this fight, it’s clear that Gaethje has an uphill battle ahead of him at the O2 Arena.
UFC 286 Betting Markets & Trends for Gaethje vs. Fiziev
If you’re looking to get more value out than the moneyline offers, FanDuel Sportsbook lists some interesting Gaethje vs. Fiziev betting markets that are worth considering.
For starters, FanDuel doesn’t expect a lengthy fight. The sportsbook favors that the UFC 286 co-main event won’t go the distance at -215 odds. That makes sense since only 11.1% of Gaethje’s career fights have gone the distance, whereas just 23.1% of Fiziev’s have reached the time limit.
With that being said, the likeliest victory method is Fiziev winning by KO/TKO at +140 odds. He has eight knockout victories in 13 previous MMA contests, winning three of his last four outings by KO. For reference, Gaethje has been knocked out twice in his career.
Speaking of which, Gaethje’s top victory method is to also win by KO/TKO (+320). While he has an astounding 19 knockout victories to his name, he hasn’t knocked out an opponent since 2020.
If you’re looking for even more value, try method & round combo betting. In that market, Fiziev is projected to win by first-round KO/TKO at +360 — something he’s done four times in his career. Meanwhile, Gaethje’s best option here is also a knockout win in Round 1, albeit at +700 odds.
Gaethje vs. Fiziev UFC 286 Fight Prediction
Although Gaethje is the more accomplished fighter, I see Fiziev being victorious at UFC 286. Fiziev has the better defense of the two fighters and with how easily Gaethje has been finished lately, I have no choice but to ride with the hot hand.
Considering how Gaethje absorbs 7.85 significant strikes per minute, I’m taking Fiziev winning by KO/TKO at +140 odds on FanDuel as the best bet. He’s on a knockout run and will likely take advantage of his vulnerable opponent. If you want to juice those odds a bit, Fiziev by KO/TKO in Rounds 1 or 2 at +185 is another viable option.
Looking for More UFC Picks?
We have predictions and picks for multiple fights on the UFC 286 main card, including the main event between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman.
But if you are interested in checking out UFC and MMA picks from other sources, there are a number of reputable sports handicapping services that we recommend.
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UFC 286 Event Details
When is UFC 286?
UFC 286 will take place on Saturday, March 18, 2023.
Where is UFC 286?
UFC 286 will take place at the O2 Arena in London, England.
What time does UFC 286 start?
- UFC 286 Early Prelims Start Time: 1 p.m. ET
- UFC 286 Prelims Start Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Start Time of UFC 286’s Main Card: 5 p.m. ET
How can I watch UFC 286?
The early prelims will be available on UFC Fight Pass, while the prelims will be available on both ESPN2 and ESPN+, and the main card will be available via pay-per-view (which can be ordered through the ESPN+ app).