TUF 31: Who is Timur Valiev?


TUF 31 Bantamweight: Who is Timur Valiev?

The Ultimate Fighter is back. Season 31 will premiere on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, on ESPN at 10 p.m. ET. Connor McGregor and Michael Chandler will coach fighters from men's bantamweight and lightweight. In addition, TUF 31 will have a mix of former UFC fighters and rising prospects.

Timur Valiev is seeking redemption at bantamweight at TUF 31.

Valiev, 33, has a record of 2-1 and one no-contest in the UFC. Previously he fought in the World Series of Fighting, where he earned a shot at their bantamweight title but had to pull out of the fight due to an elbow injury. Valiev's WSOF run also included two contests versus 13th-ranked UFC bantamweight Chris Gutierrez, losing the first and then immediately avenging the loss. After three wins in the PFL, Valiev signed with the UFC in 2020 on a six-fight winning streak. Valiev, from Dagestan, Russia, hopes his nickname "Lucky" rings true on TUF.

Timur Valiev has won a Fight of the Night bonus in the UFC

Valiev has had some success in his limited run previously in the UFC. He earned a Fight of the Night bonus, defeating Raoni Barcelos after being dropped twice in round two. Unfortunately, Valiev's last UFC fight was a very competitive loss to UFC prospect Jack Shore in March 2022, and was cut from the UFC roster in June 2022. A Master of Sport in Combat Sambo, he fights with a lot of movement, strong leg kicks, and good feints.

Valiev has been well-prepared throughout his career. During his last stint in the UFC, he split camps between Dagestan and Tom's River, NJ, where he lived and trained with the legend Frankie Edgar. In addition, the incredibly talented Zabit Magomedsharipov is also a former training partner of Valiev's.

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Although this is an excellent opportunity for all fighters, they face a steep climb to the top of bantamweight if they can win TUF. Hot prospect Adrian Yanez is down at No.12, and the top five are insane.