One to Watch at UFC Vegas 30: Timur Valiev

Timur Valiev (17-2) faces the biggest fight of his career so far at UFC Vegas 30. He takes on Raoni Barcelos (16-1) in a battle of peak prospects aiming at a top 15 ranking. Before a dominant second fight in the octagon, Timur and first UFC opponent Trevin Jones engaged in an absolute barnburner with both men being knocked down. Ultimately a no-contest due to a Jones positive drug test, if that bout is any indication this week’s fight will be even crazier.

The 31-year-old was born in 1990 in Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia, now known as the hotbed of MMA prospects. “Lucky” grew up participating in all sorts of martial arts, but his passion lied on the pitch. Valiev was mainly a soccer player until he grew tired of riding the bench on his Republic’s National Team. He followed a friend to a Wushu Sanda school and got back into MMA big time.

Timur Valiev entered many grappling tournaments before transitioning full-time to pro MMA. He won multiple titles in Europe and Russia for Wrestling/Grappling, Pankration, and Sambo. He studied and completed his Master of Sport in Sambo, a certified expert recognized by the governing body. He made his pro debut in 2010 and has since piled up 17 victories to only two losses.

Valiev now trains stateside in New Jersey with striking coach Mark Henry and BJJ coach Ricardo Almeida. Training alongside UFC will-be Hall of Famer Frankie Edgar, Timur found his way to the UFC octagon in 2020. He made quite an impression early in his first fight, knocking down Trevin Jones and almost finishing him. However, he got a little overzealous and suffered a similar fate next round, though Jones was able to finish the job. It didn’t count as a loss because of the flagged drug test but Timur took it as one and bounced back as well as he would like in 2021. He won a unanimous decision and took some 10-8 rounds off his opponent, showing how dominant he can be.

Valiev’s skills seem poised for a top 15 spot in the Bantamweight rankings and he can send his stock soaring at UFC Vegas 30 on Saturday, 6/26. He takes on fellow top prospect Raoni Barcelos (16-1) who hasn’t lost since 2014. This fight takes place on the main card and it all goes down at 7 PM ET.

Timur “Lucky” Valiev | 17-2 | 5’6 135 lbs. | Age 31 | Reach 67” | Orthodox Stance | Fighting Out of Tom’s River, New Jersey

Check out our highlights on fellow UFC Vegas 30 fighters >

Cyril “Bon Gamin” Gane

Jai “The Black Country Banger” Herbert

Shavkat “Nomad” Rakhmonov

Julia “Raging Panda” Avila

Justin “Guitar Hero” Jaynes

Follow Timur Valiev on Twitter > @timurvaliev_df

Follow Tap In on Twitter > @tapinufc

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