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Elizeu Zaleski vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov in the works for UFC 254

Elizeu Zaleski
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Elizeu Zaleski’s next task will be to welcome an unbeaten fighter to the octagon.

MMA Fighting confirmed with people with knowledge of the potential booking that Zaleski (22-7) is in talks to fight Kazakhstan’s Shavkat Rakhmonov (12-0) at UFC 254 on Oct. 24 in Abu Dhabi. The matchup was first reported by Combate.

Zaleski, 33, finds himself in a minor slump after winning seven straight fights from April 2016 to March 2019. He has lost two of his last three, most recently dropping a split decision to Muslim Salikhov at UFC 251, which put Zaleski’s UFC record at 8-3. “Capoeira” holds notable wins over Curtis Millender, Sean Strickland, and Max Griffin, among others.

Rakhmonov is undefeated in his first 12 pro bouts with all of his wins coming by way of knockout or submission. The 25-year-old has competed primarily for Russia’s M-1 Global promotion. His UFC debut was twice delayed, with a March 21 booking against Bartosz Fabinski cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, followed by Rakhomonov withdrawing from a July 25 meeting with Ramazan Emeev.

UFC 254 is scheduled to be headlined by a lightweight championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and challenger Justin Gaethje.

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