Bellator Veteran Ricky Rainey Joins UFC As Short-Notice Replacement, Faces Muslim Salikhov at UFC Glendale

Ricky Rainey joins the UFC, will face Muslim Salikhov at UFC Glendale
Ricky Rainey (right) Credit: Bellator MMA

A Bellator MMA welterweight has stepped up to face Muslim Salikhov on short notice at UFC on FOX 29.

Another Bellator veteran has joined the UFC, following in the footsteps of Eddie Alvarez, Hector Lombard, Will Brooks, and Marcin Held. This time out, it’s Ricky Rainey. UFC officials announced on Saturday that Rainey was stepping up, and stepping in, for Abdul Razak Alhassan at UFC Glendale. There, he’ll face Muslim Salikhov in welterweight action.

While not the biggest name on the Bellator roster, Rainey spent his last seven bouts there, compiling a 5-2 record from 2014 to 2017. Though perhaps best known for a TKO loss to Michel ‘Venom’ Page, Rainey will enter the UFC off the strength of back-to-back wins against Gilbert Smith and Marc Stevens, both via unanimous decision.

Rainey’s willingness to answer the call short notice no doubt helped get his foot in the door as well.

For Muslim Salikhov (13-2), a multi-time Wushu Sanda champion, Rainey will represent a chance to get his UFC career back on track. Salikhov debuted at UFC Shanghai last November, but was submitted by Alex Garcia. The only non-Chinese athlete to win the Wushu Sanda King’s Cup, Salikhov will now look to turn things around in Glendale.

UFC on FOX 29, as UFC Glendale is otherwise known as, takes place April 14 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ. Justin Gaethje faces Dustin Poirier in the main event.