UFC lightweight Rafael Fiziev continued his surge up the ranks with a stunning wheel-kick KO of his pal Brad Riddell last weekend.
The former Tiger Muay Thai training partners collided in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 44 in the early hours of Sunday morning.
And their eagerly-anticipated meeting didn’t disappoint, with the pair taking part in a war for the ages.
Kazakhstani Fizviev played the role of aggressor as Riddell was more than happy to fight with his back to the octagon fence.
And just before the halfway point in the third round, he cracked the Kiwi with a picture-perfect wheel kick.
The strike froze a bloodied Riddell in his tracks, prompting Fizviev to follow up with some academic strikes before referee Herb Dean called a halt to proceedings.
MMA fans were quick to react to the KO on Twitter, with one simply saying: “Nasty.”
Another said: “Wow beautiful fight and what a KO.”
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And another said: “Tiger Muay Thai’s finest. That is cold from Fiziev!”
One remarked: ” Fiziev is a phenomenal striker.
“The way he switched his stance to set traps is very high IQ. Not long before he’s regarded as one of the best strikers in the sport.”
Fiziev, 28, said of the incredible finish: “I wait for this third round.
“When I started to put him to the cage, I see when he goes right, he every time drops his hands, and I’m just thinking I need to do a spinning back fist or a spinning back-kick.
“I make spinning back-kick.”
When pressed further on his seventh career KO, Ataman added: “I never find knockouts in my fights, and I never try to make a knockout, and I never believe this before a fight.
“I wanted from him damage, and I took it. I go to my kitchen today, and I try to cook something.”
Although the emphatic victory over City Kickboxing’s Riddell has put him in touching distance of the lightweight top-ten, Fiziev had mixed feelings after the fight.
He said: “I don’t know if I’m sad or I’m happy, because it’s not so good when your friend’s like that.
“Of course, I’m happy, and sad, and happy. I don’t know.”
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