Raulian Paiva (left) knocked out Mark De La Rosa in his last appearance inside the octagon. | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Zhumagulov (13-3) signed with the UFC after winning seven of his last eight bouts under the Fight Nights Global banner between 2016 and 2019, winning and defending the company’s 125-pound title in the process.
“Zhako’s” UFC debut was originally scheduled for a planned event in his native Kazakhstan, but a match with Jordan Espinosa fell through after the entire show was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Paiva (19-3) is coming off an impressive second-round knockout victory over Mark De La Rosa in February, which returned him to the win column after back-to-back defeats to Kai Kara-France and Rogerio Bontorin in 2019. Paiva won 18 of 19 bouts before signing with the UFC in 2018.
UFC 251 will air live on pay-per-view and feature a trio of championship bouts, with a welterweight showdown between champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Gilbert Burns headlining the UFC’s “Fight Island” debut.
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway and Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo for the featherweight and bantamweight belts, respectively, are also on for the event. The pay-per-view portion also includes a rematch between Jessica Andrade and Rose Namajunas, and Amanda Ribas vs. Paige VanZant.