LAS VEGAS – Nurullo Aliev beat Rafael Alves with a majority decision Saturday to open the preliminary card at UFC Fight Night 220 in Las Vegas.
Take a look inside the fight with Aliev, who won his UFC debut despite a first-round point deduction for biting.
Nurullo Aliev vs. Rafael Alves
Result: Nurullo Aliev def. Rafael Alves via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
Updated records: Aliev (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Alves (20-12 MMA, 1-3 UFC)
Key stat: Aliev, the first UFC fighter from Tajikistan, outstruck Alves 92-25.
Aliev on the fight's key moment
“There was no bite. I was controlling him with my head, and he was trying to get me off by putting his hand in my mouth. So I was trying to spit his hand out, and as I was spitting it out, his finger caught one of my teeth. And so maybe he was tired, so he decided that way to kind of call that there was a bite. But there wasn’t a bite. He just was tired because a young eagle was pressuring him. He felt the pressure of a young eagle.”
Aliev on the late opponent change
“When Sean Shelby told me that there was a different opponent, I said OK. It doesn’t matter. He told me there were six different opponents that I was proposed to, and nobody wanted to fight me. And then when Alves said yes, that you knew that he was experienced, that he was ready, that he was going to bring me into a good fight. He fought some of the top contenders, top people in the division. … He’s really a serious opponent. So once I got him, I realized that this is going to be a good test for me. I only want to fight the top people in the division. I’m pretty sure that he easily could be in the top 15.”
Aliev on what he wants next
“I’d like to go home. I don’t really have a name. I’d like to go home and rest. I’ll be ready for whoever the UFC gives me. I want to celebrate Ramadan, and afterwards, I’ll be ready for anybody.”
To hear more from Aliev, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 220.