LAS VEGAS – Mateusz Gamrot is keen to take advantage of his second octagon headliner at UFC Fight Night 228 with a breakthrough performance.
Gamrot (22-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) will take on Rafael Fiziev (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in a key lightweight bout on Saturday at the UFC Apex. The card streams on ESPN+, and the winner of the main event will be on the cusp of something significant in the talent-stacked division.
In his first main event in June 2022, Gamrot squeaked out a somewhat debated unanimous decision over Arman Tsarukyan at UFC on ESPN 38. In his most recent performance, he narrowly edged Jalin Turner by split decision at UFC 285 in March.
Close fights aren’t what Gamrot is looking for, and the 32-year-old from Poland hopes to change the narrative this weekend.
“This time I want to prove I’m real deal in the UFC, and I have to prove that,” Gamrot told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 228 media day. “Always you can improve your status, every time you can show better skills and performance. That’s going to be this time.
“I want to make statement in this lightweight division. Of course, I am professional fighter and for me the most important is to win this fight. But I want to shape my shape and good performance, and I want to finish him.”
On paper, the matchup between the standout grappler Gamrot and decorated striker Fiziev is pretty straightforward. Gamrot said he’s “not afraid” to exchange on the feet if that’s what is deemed necessary, but he knows avoiding the grappling all together would be foolish.
“He’s a real dangerous opponent,” Gamrot said. “A high-level, world-class striker. But I believe I am better all around fighter. To be honest, I don’t care because of course I have much respect for Rafael, but my wrestling skills kill every striker.”
If Gamrot is able to emerge with the victory, he would be 6-1 in his past seven fights dating back to April 2021, with the only blemish coming against Beneil Dariush at UFC 280 in October.
Dariush was a potential breakthrough fight that Gamrot couldn’t capitalize on, but he learned from that result and won’t let this moment pass him by.
“In lightweight division there’s too many superstars, and the top 10 is really dangerous,” Gamrot said. “Right now my focus is to fight with Rafael. This is big fight. He’s No. 6, I’m No. 7. The winner of this fight advance to top five, and everyone knows top five is title run. I’m climbing to the top top.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 228.
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