Aliev (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was deducted a point by referee Mark Smith for biting Rafael Alves (20-12 MMA, 1-3 UFC) in the opening round at the UFC Apex, but it didn’t stop him from getting his hand raised by majority decision with scores of 29-27, 29-27 and 28-28.
During an exchange on the mat where Alves was in bottom position, he attempted to push away the head of Aliev. His fingers went in the direction of the mouth, though, then moments later Alves winced and complained to the referee that he’d been bitten.
After a halt in the action, Smith consulted the Nevada State Athletic Commission to look at the replay. There was no conclusive evidence of the bite on the footage because of the angle, but Smith said he inspected visible bite marks of Alves’ finger. He opted to take a point, which changed the complexion of the fight.
Aliev, who is the fifth-youngest active fighter on the UFC roster at 22, would go on to dominate the second round with his wrestling. Alves came out desperate in the third and landed a big shot on the feet before a guillotine choke attempt, but he was eventually reversed and Aliev rode out the fight to the final bell to take the fight on the scorecards.
Michael Bisping did not ask Aliev about the biting incident in the post-fight interview, but rather celebrated his position as the first fighter in UFC history from Tajikistan to get a win in the octagon.
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