Rafael Fiziev dealt with quite the adventure in the 24 hours before his latest UFC Vegas 58 win over Rafael dos Anjos.
Tasked with the first UFC main event of his career, Fiziev ultimately delivered one of the finest performances of his octagon run, knocking out the former UFC champion with a fifth-round salvo that extended Fiziev’s win streak to six straight and propelled him into a No. 7 spot on MMA Fighting’s lightweight rankings. But it was all nearly derailed one night earlier, when he made a hasty decision in an attempt to sleep ahead of the biggest fight of his life.
“The night before the fight, he cannot go to sleep, so he took one melatonin pill,” Fiziev’s manager and translator, Sayat Abdrakhmanov, revealed recently on The MMA Hour.
“Then he took second [pill]. Third. Then he still couldn’t fall asleep, then he took another, some CBD gummy with melatonin. He take it, and then he ask me, ‘Oh, did I take too much melatonin? Is it going to affect me during the fight?’ I was like, ‘Why do you do something and then think about what you’re doing [after]?!’
“So he went to the bathroom — and then he made himself throw up all this, the pills he took, all the melatonin pills he took.”
“I ate seven pills of melatonin in total,” added Fiziev. “I started to be scared, like maybe I might go sleep in the fight, so I needed to go throw up [with my fingers].”
“I was like, ‘Why do you keep doing this? Everything was perfect and you just came up with this [idea],’” Abdrakhmanov continued with a laugh.
Luckily, Fiziev ended up OK. He said he didn’t feel any residual effects against dos Anjos and was happy to avoid a situation similar to the one that nearly torpedoed UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanvoski in his July 2020 rematch against Max Holloway at UFC 251.
But alas, his reckless willingness to ingest sleeping pills en masse wasn’t the only thing that gave Fiziev fits in the hours before his first main event at UFC Vegas 58.
His own inner monologue chipped in as well — and apparently it wasn’t the first time.
“I’ll tell you some stories, some small stories about the small p**** inside of me,” Fiziev explained. “Because always before fight, I have small, small p**** inside of me — and before fights, they start talking, ‘Oh, you’ve lost. Oh, this guy knock you out. Oh, this guy smashing you.’ All of these. And when I go into the cage, this p**** [shuts] off. And I ask them, ‘Hey, where are you? You want to tell me what’s up now?’”
“Basically what he’s saying is that a little coward lives inside of him,” added Abdrakhmanov. “Once he makes his walk to octagon, this little coward runs away until the next fight. And then when the next fight comes, this little coward comes back and starts to tell him, ‘Oh, you’re going to lose,’ and stuff like this, and then he’s like kicking him away again.”
All in all, it was an eventful lead-up to a memorable night for Fiziev.
The 29-year-old Kazakhstan native still got the job done and put himself in position for a big fight next — one that, if he gets his wish, could come against two-time title challenger Justin Gaethje. So if nothing else, Fiziev at least learned his lesson about melatonin.
“I’m never going to use this s*** again,” Fiziev said with a laugh.