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With Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos out, Alex Oliveira steps in to face Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 254

Alex Oliveira continues to live up to his “Cowboy” moniker.

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos has been forced out of UFC 254 and Oliveira (21-8-1 MMA, 11-6 UFC) will step in on short notice to face Shavkat Rakhmonov (12-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. MMA Junkie confirmed the replacement with multiple people with knowledge of the booking following an initial report from Ag Fight.

After dropping three straight for the first time in his career, Oliveira rebounded with back-to-back wins over Max Griffin at UFC 248 and most recently Peter Sobotta at UFC on ESPN 14 in July.

Rakhmonov will finally get to make his octagon debut after his first three UFC fights were canceled. The undefeated Kazakhstani fighter last competed in June 2019, when he defended his M-1 Challenge welterweight title by stopping Tiago Varejao in the first round. All 12 of his pro wins have come via finish.

With the change, the UFC 254 lineup includes:

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje – for lightweight title
  • Jared Cannonier vs. Robert Whittaker
  • Walt Harris vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Rafael dos Anjos vs. Islam Makhachev
  • Cynthia Calvillo vs. Lauren Murphy
  • Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba
  • Phil Hawes vs. Jacob Malkoun
  • Stefan Struve vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Alex Oliveira vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
  • Sam Alvey vs. Da Un Jung
  • Liana Jojua vs. Miranda Maverick
  • Sergey Morozov vs. Umar Nurmagomedov
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