Marc “Bonecrusher” Diakiese (14-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) takes on Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) on July 18 at UFC on ESPN+31 to be held on the UFC Fight Island facility on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Marc Diakiese (14-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) was once the next big thing. Diakiese joined the UFC in 2016. At the time Diakiese was the BAMMA lightweight champion with 2 title defenses and an immaculate 9-0 record. In his debut at UFC 204, Diakiese lived up to expectations, defeating Łukasz Sajewski (14-6 MMA, 0-3 UFC) by TKO in Round 2. After 2 more wins, Diakiese hit a losing streak in 2017 which he attributes to falling out of love with the sport due to personal issues.
After suffering three straight losses to Drakkar Klose (11-2-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC), Dan Hooker (20-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC), and Nasrat Haqparast (11-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC). Diakiese turned things around in 2019, rattling off 2 consecutive wins against Joseph Duffy (16-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC) and Lando Vannata (11-4-2 MMA, 3-4-2 UFC) and expressed a desire to fight whoever it took to crack the UFC lightweight rankings in 2020.
Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev (7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) signed with the UFC in 2019 as an undefeated (6-0) prospect with 5 of his 6 wins by way of KO/TKO. Ataman’s last Octagon appearance was in October 2019 when he defeated Alex White (13-6 MMA, 4-6 UFC) via unanimous decision at UFC on ESPN+ 20.
Diakiese was initially set to fight Stevie Ray (23-9 MMA, 7-4 UFC) in March at UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs Edwards. Ray was removed from the card in January for undisclosed reasons and replaced with promotional newcomer Jai Herbert (10-1 MMA). Unfortunately, the card was postponed in March due to issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Diakiese was then scheduled to fight Alan Patrick (15-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) at UFC on ESPN+ 31. Patrick withdrew from the fight for unknown reasons on June 14. Fiziev steps in as his replacement.
Fiziev stands 5’8” tall and has a 71.5-inch reach. Diakiese is taller; he stands 5’10” tall and has a longer reach – 75 inches. Both men are 27 years old.
An impressive win against Fiziev is essential for Diakiese to move closer towards securing a fight with a top 15 lightweight.