Ricky Simon vs. Timur Valiev Announced for UFC 266

Timur Valiev and Trevin Jones, UFC Vegas 7
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 22: (L-R) Timur Valiev of Russia punches Trevin Jones in their fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 22, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

A promising bantamweight scrap has been announced for September’s UFC 266.

In a press release on Tuesday, UFC officials revealed that Ricky Simon (18-3) vs. Timur Valiev (18-2, 1NC) was the latest addition to the Las Vegas card. Recently, Simon had been in the running as a short-notice placement for Sean O’Malley, but had been campaigning to fight at featherweight.

It will be back to bantamweight for Simon against Valiev, however. Simon has won three straight, though his last outing did come at featherweight against Brian Kelleher. Overall, the 28-year old is 6-2 inside the octagon, with his only losses coming to Urijah Faber and Rob Font.

Valiev arrived in the UFC with a ton of hype behind him last year, only to lose his debut to Trevin Jones. After a dominant opening round by Valiev, Jones came back to claim the victory — but the fight was later overturned to a No Contest due to Jones failing a drug test, for marijuana.

Since that fight, Valiev has won two straight, against Martin Day and Raoni Barceles. The Barcelos fight earned the Russian his first Fight of the Night bonus.

UFC 266 is set to take place September 4, 2021 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card is headlined by Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega, with the featherweight title on the line. A co-headliner featuring women’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko taking on Lauren Murphy has also been announced.