Rafael Fiziev Feels Bad Training Camp Affected Petr Yan; Honors Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Legacy

Referee raises Aljamain Sterling's hand while Petr Yan stands in disbelief

Lightweight prospect Rafael Fiziev (9-1) revealed what went wrong with former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan (15-2) and gave his views on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s (29-0) retirement.

Petr Yan lost his last fight and the bantamweight strap via DQ after he threw an illegal knee at a downed opponent at UFC 259. In a recent interview, Rafael Fiziev — who trained with Yan at Tiger Muay Thai in the past — weighed in on Yan’s recent mishap against Aljamain Sterling.

Unlike his previous fights, Yan trained at ATT (American Top Team) for his bout with Sterling. Fiziev claimed this could have affected Yan, as he felt Yan’s camp was not as good as before, although Yan looked excellent in the later rounds.

Rafael Fiziev with Petr Yan and others at Tiger Muay Gym
Rafael Fiziev with Petr Yan and others at the Tiger Muay Thai Gym (Image from Fiziev’s Instagram)

“I think Petr Yan did not have a good camp,” Rafael Fiziev told AbzTalks. “Maybe he trained too much because sometimes it happens, you know? We want to win, we want to work hard, but sometimes we train too much.”

Ahead of the bout, many critics felt that more wrestling was the key to Aljamain’s victory. However, as we found out, that was not the case. Why? Yan, who is considered a boxer, landed seven takedowns compared to Aljamain’s one.

Note: The quotes have been edited for clarity.

“He [Yan] still won the fight, he still controlled everything. This guy [Aljamain] said like, ‘I killed him in wrestling.’ But he died in wrestling.”

Fiziev on Aljamain Sterling’s Reaction to the Illegal Knee: “I Think He Wants a Career in Hollywood”

Fiziev said Aljamain got hit on the strongest part of the head and should not have gone down the way he did.

“What is this? He touched him here [points to the temple]. This is a very strong place. I can break a wall with my head with this place. I can break everything.”

Moreover, the 28-year-old felt Aljamain Sterling was acting, a view shared by many members of the MMA community.

Petr Yan Knees Aljamain Sterling in the fourth round
Petr Yan lands an illegal knee on Aljamain Sterling in the fourth round at UFC 259

“I think he wants a career in Hollywood. This is a smart idea, bro. Maybe soon we will see him in Marvel or something.”

As far as the rematch is concerned, Fiziev asserted Yan will be better than the first fight. He even cited Yan’s first defeat against Magomed Magomedov and how “No Mercy” erased that loss from his career in the rematch.

Rafael Fiziev on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Retirement

Recently, UFC President Dana White announced the formal retirement of the former lightweight champion and pound-for-pound #1 fighter, Khabib Nurmagomedov. When asked to give his thoughts on Khabib’s legacy, Fiziev had some interesting things to say.

“If you smash people on the ground 29 times, bro, what is this? This is respect. He does this game like the best. He is like a new brand, you know? You smash people in the ground, and he is professional, bro. This guy killed 29 people and lost maybe 1 or 2 rounds in his whole career.”

Dana White announces Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement

Although Fiziev loves striking and strikers, he admitted Khabib made him like grappling. However, he mentioned he does not enjoy watching fighters who coast through a fight in the top position while dishing out no damage.

“Ataman” has not competed since December 12, 2020. He last fought and knocked out Renato Moicano at UFC 256.

Professional Boxing and MMA writer at The Combat Magazine.