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LAS VEGAS – Rafael Fiziev’s UFC latest performance wooed the small crowd in attendance at the UFC Apex and wowed thousands watching around the world, but there are some things about it he just didn’t enjoy, himself.
Though it was capped off by an athletic and powerful spinning wheel kick knockout, Fiziev (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) didn’t bask in the glory for too long at the UFC on ESPN 31 post-fight news conference. He admitted it was a great highlight, but defeating a friend, Brad Riddell (10-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who he’s trained with in the past, was a difficult pill to swallow.
“It feels amazing,” Fiziev told MMA Junkie. “What I can say? What I can say? I just don’t know if I’m sad or I’m happy because it’s not so good when you (defeat) your friend like that, you know? It’s just this. Of course, I’m happy inside. I don’t know. … It was a beautiful KO or TKO. It was beautiful, but I still didn’t want the fight (yet). I still didn’t like many moments in the fight. I still need growing. I still need work.”
With the victory, Fiziev won a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus and extended his winning streak to five, with two knockout finishes in the stretch. Despite his affinity for violence and success in the cage, Fiziev revealed he never seeks specifically for a finish.
“I never find knockout in my fights,” Fiziev said. “I never try to make a knockout. I never believe in this before a fight. I waited for his damage and I (took) it. I go to my kitchen today and I’ll try to cook something.”
UFC on ESPN 31 took place Saturday, airing on ESPN and streaming on ESPN+.
To se the full interview with Fiziev, check out the video above.