Rafael Fiziev talks UFC 256 stoppage controversy, compares TKO of Renato Moicano to punching cabbage


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One way or another, Rafael Fiziev knew that his fight with Renato Moicano was over.

The two lightweights recently squared off at UFC 256, and it was Fiziev who exited the octagon with a first-round TKO victory (and later a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus).

There was some controversy surrounding the ending, as it looked as though referee Chris Tognoni may have stepped in to stop the fight early, with Fiziev later saying that Tognoni “made a mistake” with the call.

Fiziev believes the ending of the fight left some room for interpretation. But that even if Moicano had recovered from the combination that put him down, he doesn’t think his opponent’s situation would have improved much.

“I understand one moment, OK, maybe if he feel good, if he feel good and I go to ground maybe he start wrestling, I stand up, I do this again,” Fiziev said on a recent episode of What the Heck with assistance from a translator. “I do this again. And I know now after this moment Renato is more scared, more—everyone, after this knockdown, it’s like you start scared. You start to think. I don’t think he was ready to fight after this. He tried to stand up after and he, like, still flying, you know?”

Fiziev added, “After the fight, when the referee stopped the fight and I go happy and Moicano stand up, after 15-20 seconds he was still falling down and you could tell the room was spinning for him.”

The result will go down in the books as Fiziev’s first knockout victory in the UFC. Fiziev (9-1) has won three straight after losing his debut in April 2019 and is quickly becoming known for his creative striking style.

Asked how it felt to land the left hand that dropped Moicano, Fiziev compared it to a unique vegetable-assisted routine he’d use to practice his striking.

“Every time when I feel that I punch guys, for example I feel like it’s throwing the cabbage and you kind of punch the cabbage, so it’s kind of the same feel as when you punch the cabbage,” Fiziev said,

“Before when I was younger, many times I practice for this [makes tossing up cabbage and punching motion]. Boom. It feels nice. Anybody at home can try this now.”

Cabbage-punching is no longer part of Fiziev’s training regimen now that he’s able to hit people for real inside the cage. His fight preparation has become slightly more complicated when dealing with the elite fighters of the UFC.

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