UFC Auckland Adds Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Kevin Aguilar

UFC Philadelphia Kevin Aguilar
Kevin Aguilar Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Featherweights Kevin Aguilar and Zubaira Tukhugov are set to throw down at UFC Auckland next year.

Khabib Nurmagomedov teammate Zubaira Tukhugov won’t be alongside him at UFC 249 next April. Instead, the Dagestani fighter has joined February’s UFC Auckland card, where he’ll take on Kevin Aguilar, entering his third calendar year with the promotion.

UFC officials announced the pairing Tuesday.

Aguilar (17-2) joined the UFC by way of Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018, and won his first two trips to the octagon. Getting the better of Rick Glenn and Enrique Barzola, he was finally handed his first loss by Dan Ige at UFC Greenville this past June. All three of his bouts in the promotion have gone the distance.

Tukhugov (18-4-1) is better known for his extra-curricular activities than his fighting career at this point. Part of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s inner circle, Tukhugov became a central figure in the near-riot that ensued following UFC 229, after Khabib submitted rival Conor McGregor. While Nurmagomeodov was busy attacking McGregor’s corner and teammate Dillon Danis, Tukhugov actually jumped into the cage and sucker-punched the Irish fighter.

Incredibly, the fighter later admitted in an Instagram video that he had planned the attack in advance, and that McGregor had not actually hit him, as some commentators had claimed.

For his actions, Tukhugov, who at that point had not competed since a loss to Renato Moicano in 2016, received a one-year suspension, later reduced 35 days to allow him to compete at UFC 242 alongside Khabib. That night, he fought to a draw against Lerone Murphy.

UFC Auckland takes place February 23, 2020 at the Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.