How Khabib Nurmagomedov’s ‘Papakha’ Inspired Rafael Fiziev To Get His Own?

Published 05/23/2021, 3:00 PM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 19: (L-R) Rafael Fiziev of Kazakhstan punches Marc Diakiese of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 19, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


UFC lightweight division fighter Rafael Fiziev is riding high on the back of 3 consecutive victories. The rising fighter has impressed many fans with his dominant performances.

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Like most of the fighters from his region, Fiziev is famous for wearing papakha. The same accessory that was famously worn by the former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

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Recently he appeared for an interview where he was asked about his papakha and how it differed from that of the Dagestani phenom.

“Yeah, not more famous. It’s not easy. Khabib is already a legend. But we make new history too. This one is from Azerbaijan tradition. Of course, I (would) like making it (famous) like Khabib makes his papakha,” Fiziev said.

“I like Khabib’s papakha too, but this one is traditional. We use it everywhere. We go to the guest, we use it. We go everywhere we use it.”

‘Ataman’ then talked about the significance of wearing a papakha. “If you make some bad for someone, you don’t say sorry or something. You take your papakha and put (it) to (the) ground (in front of them).”

“It means you are like ‘so sorry’. And if someone takes your papakha and says something bad and takes your papakha, this may start a war. Because this is an honor,” he concluded.

Fiziev joined UFC in 2019 and fought Magomed Mustafaev as his first opponent. He lost that fight via TKO in Round 1. But he made a strong comeback thereafter by picking up 3 straight victories against the likes of Alex White, Marc Diakiese, and Renato Carneiro with the victory over the latter coming via KO in Round 1.

Rafael Fiziev recently called out ranked fighters

Fiziev has racked up 9 victories in his 10 professional fights and needs top-ranked opponents to advance. He recently made a challenge to Kevin Lee over Twitter describing him as a powerful fighter.

But to his dismay, none of the fighters, including Lee, have made any attempts to respond to him. This didn’t amuse ‘Ataman’ at all. He later took to Twitter and lashed out at ranked opponents including Lee for ignoring him.

He wrote, “I understand why top 15 guys don’t want to fight someone outside of top 15. But don’t act like you are better and ignore the callouts. You can just say no. Soon tables will turn and this ratings will look very different.”

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Fiziev is undoubtedly on top of the unranked fighters list. He will look to continue his winning momentum and would soon knock on the doors of the Top 15. He could even take inspiration from Giga Chikadze and Kevin Holland, who broke through with their persisting efforts.

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

418 articles

Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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