Things were just starting to heat up between two of the most exciting lightweight fighters in the world when the bout came to an abrupt halt Saturday at UFC Fight Night.
Rafael Fiziev threw a roundhouse kick with his right leg to the body of Mateusz Gamrot in the second round and Gamrot blocked the blow with his arms. Fiziev immediately went down in pain with a leg injury. Gamrot came in to land punches on the ground, but the bout was halted by referee Herb Dean. The finish came at 2:03 of the second with Gamrot the winner via TKO (injury).
It appeared that Fiziev injured his left leg throwing the kick, twisting it when he planted to let the right leg go. But it was not immediately clear what the injury was.
"Bad situation, bad accident," Gamrot said in his postfight interview. "I wish a quick recovery to Rafa because I like this guy. We have good relationship. But a win is a win."
Fiziev won the first round on all three judges' scorecards. Gamrot was having success with grappling in the second round. But unfortunately, the fight could not play out with both men healthy.
"This is not the finish I would like," Gamrot said. "I don't know what to say. To be honest, when I prepared for this fight, my goal was my defense would be stronger than his kick. I knew Rafael would kick many times. I prepared very good defense in my gym."
Coming in, ESPN had Fiziev ranked No. 8 and Gamrot ranked No. 9 in the world at lightweight.
Afterward, Gamrot said he would like a fight next with the "most dangerous fighter on the ground" in the division: Charles Oliveira. But Oliveira first has a title challenge against champion Islam Makhachev coming up at UFC 294 on Oct. 21 in Abu Dhabi.
Gamrot (23-2, 1 NC) has won two straight and six of his past seven. The Poland native, who trains out of American Top Team in Florida, has just one loss since 2020, to top lightweight contender Beneil Dariush. Gamrot, 32, is a former KSW lightweight and featherweight champion in his home country.
Fiziev (12-3) was coming off a loss to top contender Justin Gaethje at UFC 286 in March. The Kazakhstan-born fighter, who trains in Florida at Kill Cliff FC, was on a six-fight winning streak before this skid. Fiziev, 30, had six straight $50,000 fight-night bonuses prior to Saturday.