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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Nolan King

Undefeated Tajikistani sensation Nurullo Aliev set for UFC debut vs. Rafael Alves

Rising Tajikistani fighter Nurullo Aliev has his first UFC assignment.

One of the most highly touted fighters from the most recent season of Dana White’s Contender Series, Aliev (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will take on former Titan FC champion Rafael Alves (1-2 UFC) in a lightweight bout at UFC Fight Night 220. The event takes place Feb. 25 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Two people with knowledge of the matchup recently informed MMA Junkie of the booking but asked to remain anonymous since the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.

Aliev, 23, entered the national spotlight on DWCS in September when he dominated short-notice replacement Josh Wick by first-round TKO. After the fight, Aliev was offered a UFC contract. Since the fight, his Instagram following has grown to a massive 355,000 followers.

Alves, 32, is coming off a thrilling battle against Drew Dober. Though he lost that fight, it was preceded by a slick submission win over Marc Diakiese.

With the addition, the UFC Fight Night 220 lineup includes:

  • Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann
  •  Jordan Leavitt vs. Victor Martinez
  • Hailey Cowan vs. Ailin Perez
  • Denys Bondar vs. Ode Osbourne
  • Cortney Casey vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius
  • Darrius Flowers vs. Erick Gonzalez
  • Lucas Almeida vs. Andre Fili
  • Don’Tale Mayes vs. Augusto Sakai
  • Brendan Allen vs. Andre Muniz
  • Yohan Lainasse vs. Mike Mallott
  • Trevor Peek vs. Alex Reyes
  • Nurullo Aliev vs. Rafael Alves
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