UFC: Newcomer Nurullo Aliev to Face Rafael Alves on Feb. 25

Nurullo Aliev set to make UFC debut opposite Rafael Alves
Nurullo Aliev, Dana White's Contender Series Credit: Getty Images/Zuffa

A highly touted lightweight prospect who earned his shot in the UFC on Dana White’s Contender Series last year has drawn a tough first assignment.

Tajikistan’s Nurullo Aliev (8-0) will face Rafael Alves (20-11) in the octagon debut of the “Tajik Eagle” on February 25, 2023.

MMA Junkie was first to report news of the booking, with Aliev later confirming the bout, adding on social media that “February 25th, in sha Allah I will make a statement.”

Aliev made a statement on DWCS last year, defeating Josh Wick inside of a round to earn a UFC deal. The 23-year old turned pro in 2018 and has faced solid competition ever since, having never fought an opponent with a losing record.

Alves is an ex-Titan FC champ coming off a loss to fan-favorite Drew Dober last year. He appeared on the Contender Series in 2020, but has gone 1-2 inside the octagon thus far.

The UFC’s February 25, 2023 Fight Night card is expected to be headlined by Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann in a light heavyweight match-up. Thus far, the following fights have been reported for the event:

  • Nikita Krylov vs. Ryan Spann
  • Mike Malott vs. Yohan Lainesse
  • Cortney Casey vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius
  • Victor Martinez vs. Jordan Leavitt
  • Hailey Cowan vs. Ailin Perez
  • Ode’ Osbourne vs. Denys Bondar
  • Erick Gonzalez vs. Darrius Flowers
  • Andre Fili vs. Lucas Almeida
  • André Muniz vs. Brendan Allen
  • Augusto Sakai vs. Don’Tale Mayes
  • Garrett Armfield vs. Jose Johnson
  • Alex Reyes vs. Trevor Peek
  • Tatiana Suarez vs. Montana De La Rosa
  • Rafael Alves vs. Nurullo Aliev