With middleweight Aliaskhab Khizriev’s original opponent Abusupiyan Magomedov pulling out of UFC Columbus, the UFC signed Russian Denis Tiuliulin to step in on short notice.
Having last competed for UAE Warriors a year ago, Tiuliulin was taking a considerable step up, with little time to prepare.
It proved to be too tall of a task for Tiuliulin.
Tiuliulin struck first with a heavy right hand. It didn’t faze Khizriev, who was making his own debut after winning on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2020, and soon after he dropped levels and got the fight down. Tiuliulin scooted against the cage and tried to get back to his feet. Khizriev had good pressure on the hips and interlaced the legs of Tiuliulin keeping him grounded. Eventually, Tiuliulin got to his knees and got back to his feet. Tiuliulin pressed the action and was drawing Khizriev into a slugfest. Both landed heavily in the pocket and to close the round both failed on a takedown attempt.
Khizriev fired right away in round two with a head kick and flying knee. He gave Tiuliulin what he wanted, standing in front of him and trading. Khizriev won the exchanges getting off his punches/kicks and landing big shots just letting everything go. Having Tiuliulin in trouble on the feet Khizriev shot in on the leg, shifted to the back and sunk in the rear-naked choke. Tiuliulin didn’t tap but instead went to sleep.
After the fight, Khizriev suggested that he was carrying too much weight on him — and signaled a move to 170lbs.
Official Result: Aliaskhab Khizriev def. Denis Tiuliulin by Submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2, 1:15