“You Are a Warrior” – Justin Gaethje Reacts to Rafael Fiziev’s Bloodied Face After UFC 286

Published 03/19/2023, 6:30 AM EDT

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UFC 286 gave fans one of the most exhilarating fight cards in the promotion’s history as champion Leon Edwards defended his welterweight title against Kamaru Usman in the main event in front of a packed crowd at the O2 Arena. Along with the intense title fight, it was the co-main bout that left fans asking for more, as Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev left their hearts out inside the octagon in a thrilling three-rounder.

Although Gaethje emerged victorious, he had to navigate through the onslaught of Fizev’s speed and accuracy in the first round. Relying on his experience, ‘The Highlight’ turned the tides in the latter rounds and successfully got his hands raised. And like true warriors, both fighters had nothing but exceptional words for each other after the fight, as the former interim champ sent out a few words of appreciation for his opponent.

Justin Gaethje shares words of respect for UFC 286 opponent Rafael Fiziev


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Following the bout, as is common with almost all of Gaethje’s opponents, Fiziev too was left with a busted and bloodied face. Though it didn’t seem to bother him too much, as ‘Ataman’ posted a still of his face. He mentioned that it was eventually “worth it” for him.

Gaethje, in a show of respect, responded back, calling him a warrior and expressing that it was an honor to have fought him.

He wrote: “I’m a fan. You are a warrior my friend. It was an honor to share the cage with you.”

Now, what more can a fan of these fighters ask for? After giving it all out inside the cage, this just happens to show the immense respect that the duo has for each other. The fighters got the due respect they deserved with the UFC honoring the co-main event of the night.

Gaethje vs Fiziev take home the fight of the night bonus

As a reward for their immense effort, the UFC awarded the co main event the fight of the night, which helped both fighters take a much-deserved bonus. Impressively, for Gaethje, this is the 11th straight bonus in 11 UFC fights with last night’s fight serving as the seventh FOTN for him.

And Fiziev is no slouch either when it comes down to earning bonuses. The 30-year-old secured his sixth straight bonus in the promotion after his latest performance. With this result, both fighters took home a decent extra $50,000, along with their regular pay.


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Ultimately, after this performance, the important question would be about their next fight. While Gaethje might find himself looking to earn another title shot following this, Fiziev might have to take a step back and scan the division before making his climb up the rankings.


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What did you think of the fight? Who do you see both the fighters squaring up against after this? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Pragjyoti Singh

306 articles

Pragjyoti is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. He is extremely passionate about MMA and has a good understanding of the sport and its technicalities. Having trained in the sport along with a passion for journalism, it has helped him develop a keen interest in the UFC and anything related to the promotion.

Edited By: Amal Joyce