Preview: UFC 265 Prelims - Fiziev vs. Green

By: Tom Feely
Aug 5, 2021

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC 265 live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

UFC 265 on Saturday in Houston may not be quite as loaded from top to bottom as some of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s most recent numbered events, but the undercard should still manage to entertain the masses. The featured prelim at the Toyota Center deserves its slot, as lightweight Rafael Fiziev—a man who has emerged as one of the promotion’s top rising talents in any division—looks for his most significant win to date against former King of the Cage champion Bobby Green. Meanwhile, there are some familiar names further down the card: “The Ultimate Fighter 3” finalist Ed Herman returns to try to turn back another prospect in Alonzo Menifield, while former strawweight title challengers Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Penne attempt to build some momentum at 115 pounds. Even the lower-stakes affairs have on-paper potential, so there is a lot to like in comparison to some other events.

Now to the preview for the UFC 265 “Lewis vs. Gane” prelims:

Lightweights

NR | Rafael Fiziev (9-1, 3-1 UFC) vs. NR | Bobby Green (27-11-1, 8-6-1 UFC)

ODDS: Fiziev (-280), Green (+240)

It looks like Fiziev’s UFC debut may have been an outlier. He came to the UFC in 2019 with some muay Thai credentials and plenty of hype, which made it a shock when Magomed Mustafaev blasted him with a spinning back kick and knocked him out in just 86 seconds. However, Fiziev has looked absolutely sterling since then, rebounding with a win over Alex White before putting on a breakthrough performance against Marc Diakiese that saw him shut down the Brit in nearly every phase of the fight. After an impressive knockout of Renato Carneiro to cap off 2020, Fiziev now seems to have trouble finding opponents. Even so, it should come as no surprise that Green stepped up to the plate.

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC 265 live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

After a UFC career that went sideways due to a combination of injuries and personal issues, Green had a breakthrough year in 2020, taking advantage of the UFC’s chaotic scheduling to take as many fights as possible. An October loss to Thiago Moises prevented Green from racking up four wins in the calendar year, but three victories within three months is still amazingly impressive and earned him some more renown than usual. This is a difficult matchup for the veteran. While Green can hold his own anywhere, his fights are often marked by a desire to try and outslick his opponents defensively, which has sometimes cost him on the scorecards. Against Fiziev, that approach may just end in disaster. Fiziev is the rare fighter with enough speed and variety to his striking game that he might be able to surprise the former King of the Cage champion. Green’s wrestling could prove to be an advantageous path, but Fiziev appears to be solid enough in that phase of the game to keep this one standing. The pick is Fiziev via second-round knockout.

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