For those still unacquainted with Timur Valiev, UFC Vegas 30 was the perfect opportunity to witness the bantamweight’s full skill set.
Valiev, who joined the UFC with a lot of hype last year, had seen his debut go haywire after nearly finishing opponent Trevin Jones. A non-call by the ref allowed Jones to survive; Jones then rallied to earn a TKO in the second round that was overturned to a No Contest following a failed drug test that turned up trace amounts of THC.
Bouncing back with a win over Martin Day, Valiev had a game opponent in Raoni Barcelos at UFC Vegas 30 on Saturday.
There was a bit of a feeling out period between Valiev and Barcelos in the early going on Saturday. Barcelos fired a fight hand while Valiev closed the distance, but came up just short. Both men would trade kicks as the round progressed, both low and high. Late in the round, Valiev would drive Barcelos to the fence, but the pair stayed standing. Through five minutes, it was a rather close affair.
Barcelos opened round two with a low kick, and again, Valiev answered back. The lack of action was a drag for both fighters, but Timur Valiev might have been just slightly more active in the early going. As the round progressed, Barcelos found a home for his right hand. Valiev went to the body, but Barcelos landed a low kick, and an uppercut over top of it. The uppercut in particular he fired a couple of times. Valiev then caught a kick and dumped Barcelos, but the Brazilian quickly rolled to his feet.
Moments later, a counter from Barcelos sent Valiev to his back. Barcelos got on top, thinking finish. Then, as Valiev got back up, Barcelos dropped him again! Barcelos got on top with ground n’ pound, but Valiev was dazed. He barely survived the round and was unquestionably compromised starting the third.
Barcelos, no doubt aware, looked to put some pressure on early. Valiev did find some success, landing a right hand. The pair traded low kicks, but come the middle of the round, Valiev was still standing. He drove in for a takedown, but Barcelos fought it off. Valiev was, as in the first, slightly more active, and caught Barcelos in an exchange, with Barcelos landing as well.
In the end, Valiev and Barcelos would go the distance. The biggest moment of the fight was the knockdown for Barcelos in the second.
Official Result: Timur Valiev def. Raoni Valiev by majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)