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Unbeaten Aliaskhab Khizriev is the fighter to watch at UFC Columbus

It’s been 18 months since Aliaskhab Khizriev earned his UFC contract. He debuts at UFC Columbus

Aliaskhab Khizriev earned a UFC contract in September 2020 when he scored a first-round submission win over Henrique Shiguemoto on a Dana White Contender Series card. Khizriev’s UFC debut has been delayed several times, but the 13-0 middleweight is set to make the walk to the octagon on Saturday’s UFC Columbus fight card against late replacement Denis Tiuliulin.

“You couldn’t look any better than you looked tonight,” UFC president Dana White said when awarding a UFC contract to Khizriev. “You couldn’t do it any better. You couldn’t look any better. I literally have nothing to say about this kid other than he needs to be in the UFC.”

Prior to his appearance on the DWCS card, Khizriev scored a knockout over former UFC and WSOF veteran Rousimar Palhares on a 2018 Fight Nights Global card. That bout lasted eight seconds longer than the 50 seconds it took Khizriev to submit Shiguemoto. The win gave Khizriev the Fight Nights interim welterweight crown.

Khizriev is incredibly aggressive in his striking and he packs a tremendous amount of power in those strikes. The 30-year-old also has excellent submission skills to go with his striking. Khizriev is the type of fighter opponents want to face in the open. If he can close distance and get within boxing range or wrestling range, he is a problem.

How much of a problem? Well, here’s what his opponent had to say about Khizriev.

“Apparently, I was the only one who expressed a desire (to fight Khizriev on short notice.”

The UFC initially booked Khizriev opposite Abusupiyan Magomedov on Saturday’s card, but Magomedov withdrew from the event.

The time between fights should not hurt Khizriev. After all, he went over two years between his win over Palhares and his DWCS matchup.

This is a fight that Khizriev should win handily and judging from the odds and the quality of Tiuliulin’s past opposition, this matchup should be a showcase fight for Khizriev.

UFC Columbus takes place Saturday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH. The entire fight card is on ESPN and ESPN+.