UFC Vegas 44: Rafael Fiziev Finishes Brad Riddell with Wheel Kick

Rafael Fiziev and Brad Riddell, UFC Vegas 44
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 04: (L-R) Rafael Fiziev of Kyrgyzstan kicks Brad Riddell of New Zealand in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 04, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Rafael Fiziev and Brad Riddell delivered the fight fans were expecting at UFC Vegas 44, throwing down until a highlight-reel knockout in the third round.

In a fight that absolutely screamed banger, lightweights Brad Riddell and Rafael Fiziev put their friendship aside in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 44. Riddell entered the night undefeated in his UFC career, and was coming off a Fight of the Night win against Drew Dober. Fiziev had won four straight since losing his octagon debut, and had earned post-fight bonuses in his last three outings.

In short, anticipation was high for this one.

Riddell started the fight with a leg kick that was answered with one from Fiziev. Fiziev then swung a head kick and a spinning head kick in one fluid motion but both strikes came up short. Riddell fired a combination then ate a hard body kick. A fiery exchange took place, followed by another with both men connection. Riddell moved forward with a strong combination. Riddell tried a two-punch combination, connecting with a body jab and missing with the big right hook. Right hands landed for both fighters as Fiziev controlled the center of the Octagon. A low kick connected for Riddell followed by a hard right hand on the button to close the round.

Riddell started the second round with a solid leg kick. Hooks landed for both fighters and Fiziev briefly clinched up then went back to firing shots. A hard right hand connected for Fiziev and one landed big for Riddell as well. Another exchange took place with right hands landing simultaneously. Riddell went in with a right hand and followed it with a takedown attempt but it went nowhere. Clinch exchanges were becoming a bit more frequent as their strikes were coming from close-quarters.

Riddell changed things up to start the final round, earning a takedown off a kick. Fiziev bounced back up quickly, nearly giving up his back in the process. Riddell was able land a big shot on the feet. Then, out of nowhere, Fiziev nailed Riddell with a wheel kick and Riddell was out on his feet. Fiziev left no doubt in what was an incredibly close fight.

Rafael Fiziev def. Brad Riddell by TKO (Wheel Kick) in Round 3 (2:40)