March 3, 2024
Nurullo Aliev vs. Rafael Alves

Welcome to the MMA News’ Sleeper Scrap! The relentless schedule of the MMA earth means that some enthusiasts don’t have a whole look at a struggle card right until times in advance of the celebration, leaving the promoters to make a decision which bouts you should really be paying out the most attention to.

Absolutely everyone wants to tune in for major gatherings and fights that function well known names, but that means meaningful or possibly motion-packed matchups from elsewhere on fight playing cards at times get lost in the shuffle. A Sleeper Scrap may well spotlight fascinating design and style matchups, fighters with noteworthy storylines, or bouts that merely have the opportunity to be a Fight of the Night contender.

Very last week’s Sleeper Scrap turned out to be a legitimate “sleeper” when William Knight appeared unwilling to toss any strikes against Marcin Prachnio, but the UFC’s routine rolls on this week with UFC Battle Evening 220. The occasion is an in general more powerful providing than previous week’s UFC occasion, and it incorporates an intriguing light-weight bout involving Contender Series veterans Rafael Alves and Nurullo Aliev.

The Fighters

Rafael Alves had presently competed in a full career’s really worth of bouts prior to joining the UFC, and winning Titan FC’s interim lightweight title in 2019 gained the Brazilian a Contender Sequence opportunity the pursuing calendar year.

“The Turn” submitted Alejandro Flores with a guillotine choke in the 2nd spherical to safe a UFC contract, but various canceled matchups still left Alves ready till Might of 2021 to make his advertising debut versus Damir Ismagulov. That bout commenced nicely when Alves dropped Ismagulov early, but he ended up remaining outwrestled for massive portions of the struggle and dropped a unanimous decision.

The 32-12 months-old rebounded from that tough debut by rocking Marc Diakiese and snatching a guillotine choke for his 1st UFC victory, but Alves was stopped by a 3rd-round body shot from Drew Dober in an entertaining scrap that was his only overall look of 2022.

Alves put on an entertaining general performance in a dropping effort versus Drew Dober. (Jerome Miron/United states Today Sports)

Nurullo Aliev may possibly only be 23-years-outdated, but the Tajikistani has by now set collectively a fantastic 8- file and has quickly set up himself as one particular of the top potential customers in the activity.

“Tajik Eagle” strike the floor functioning in 2018 when he debuted in February but was presently 4- by the close of September. That price of action dropped off a bit more than the subsequent several many years, but Aliev utilized his dominant grappling to receive a different a few decision wins while competing in Russia in advance of currently being booked to fight on Contender Collection 2022.

The 23-calendar year-previous experienced only completed just one opponent prior to going through Josh Wick on Contender Sequence, but Aliev manufactured positive to put in a contract-deserving effectiveness by stopping “The White Mamba” with ground and pound late in the 1st spherical.

The Matchup

This matchup is a bit a lot more complicated than simply getting a striker vs. grappler affair, but there’s tiny question that Aliev’s activity approach will include things like having items to the mat at some issue.

The 23-yr-previous ordinarily will not shoot for a takedown appropriate from the get started of a fight, but when he does come to a decision it’s time to hit the canvas he’ll get opponents to the fence and start wanting for a variety of takedown tries. Aliev is relentless once he eventually does get an opponent down, as he’ll rinse and repeat his takedown strategy until eventually he establishes top rated posture and can open up with ground strikes.

Dominant wrestling has outlined Aliev’s MMA occupation so far. (Zuffa LLC)

“Tajik Eagle” has proven some first rate strides in his stand up game, and in his combat with Kirill Kryukov he appeared drastically much more self-confident and keen to throw strikes when compared to prior bouts. The placing strategy isn’t normally the prettiest, but Aliev does a fantastic task of coming forward with large combos in an effort to back again his opponents to the fence and start chaining his takedown tries alongside one another.

Alves is a a great deal much more relaxed striker than Aliev, and the Brazilian’s most perilous weapon is a numerous kicking recreation that’s improved by the velocity with which he throws all those strikes.

The 32-yr-old’s reliance on dynamic, likely battle-ending pictures signifies that he can from time to time be a comparatively minimal-volume striker, but when he’s battling to clear up his opponent’s defense he also likes to instantly blitz ahead with major mixtures. This method authorized Alves to drop Ismagulov in the early moments of their matchup, but oustide of all those blitzes the Brazilian is additional relaxed hunting for significant counter pictures.

Alves is joyful to leap on a guillotine choke after rocking opponents with his hanging. (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“The Turn” is ready to combine in takedowns of his own for the duration of fights, but his desired instrument in close is simply his guillotine choke. Alves threatened the approach following dropping Ismagulov and completed it rapidly immediately after doing the very same to Marc Diakiese, so he’s eager to grab an opponent’s neck in nearly any circumstance for the duration of a battle.

The menace of that choke will need to have to be on Aliev’s head any time he starts off tying up with Alves, but the Brazilian has been outwrestled just before and would certainly like to keep away from ending up on his back again. The truth that “Tajik Eagle” can get a little bit wild when hanging could also play into Alves’ activity on the toes, as it could open up up odds for the Brazilian counter Aliev with a large kick or flying knee.

The Stakes

Alves has revealed flashes of critical prospective throughout his quick UFC occupation, but the Brazilian is at this time 1-2 total in the promotion and has not kept an primarily energetic program.

A few-straight stoppage victories preceded the 32-yr-old’s Contender Collection opportunity, so Alves clearly has ending skills and the dynamism needed to generate emphasize-reel finishes. He really almost concluded Ismagulov in the exact method he applied to quit Diakiese in his next fight, but threatening to finish opponents and creating pleasurable moments can only get you so significantly with out also acquiring a number of wins together the way.

Seemingly every single UFC card this calendar year has featured many debuting fighters, and divisions like light-weight always have adequate talent waiting around in the wings that a further reduction could spell the conclusion of Alves’ run in the UFC to make home for up-and-comers like Aliev.

Aliev is a single of the most promosing young fighters to join the UFC in latest memory. (AMC Fight Evenings)

“Tajik Eagle” will put his undefeated report on the line against Alves, but he’ll also be jeopardizing the considerable quantity of hype he’s managed to accumulate as a youthful fighter with what appear to be some rather dominant expertise on the mat.

Aliev is nonetheless quite early in his profession and has loads of room to round out his competencies, but just one opportunity proving place in this matchup will be how he handles a higher level of competitiveness. The 23-yr-previous was scheduled to make his LFA debut against a fighter on a 4-fight losing streak prior to signing up for Contender Collection, but even a matchup with the 12-5 Josh Wick wasn’t precisely the stiffest check to prove his truly worth to the UFC.

“Tajik Eagle” will presumably try out to get factors to the canvas so he can handle Alves, but the Brazilian’s scrambling ability and terrible guillotine indicate even those people takedown makes an attempt should really offer some intrigue for enthusiasts. “The Turn” is also additional than capable of landing some thing huge on the ft, which places force on Aliev to show off any new developments he’s manufactured and present a glimpse into his all round possible in the UFC.

How do you believe this bout between Alves and Aliev will change out? Are there any other fights from UFC Battle Evening 220 that you truly feel deserve far more interest?