Rafael Fiziev (@rafael_ataman_fiziev/Instagram page)

Combat Press 2021 MMA Awards: Breakout Fighter of the Year – Rafael Fiziev

A new year is here, and that means it’s time for Combat Press to take a look back at the best of MMA in 2021. In the coming days, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.

Rafael Fiziev is not a newcomer to the UFC, in fact he has fought six times with the promotion since his 2019 debut. That debut appearance is also the only time he tasted defeat in the world’s most prominent MMA organization. Since then he has rattled off five straight wins and really began to make a name for himself in the lightweight division.

He started off the year with momentum building after a Dec. 2020 win over Renato Moicano and picked up right where he left off with his first 2021 fight in August – a Fight of the Night winning performance in his victory over Bobby Green. That led him into a co-main event slot in Dec. 2021 against another emerging talent in Brad Riddell. With an astonishing spinning-wheel-kick knockout over Riddell in the third round of their otherwise closely contested bout, Fiziev left jaws on the floor, and MMA fans instantly heading to Google his name to learn more about the Kyrgyzstani fighter. This turned him into a favorite and almost a household name. For those reasons, Rafael Fiziev earns Combat Press’s 2021 Award for Breakout Fighter of the Year.