Shamil Gaziev will take on the biggest challenge of his career so far when he meets Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the main event of UFC Vegas 78 on Saturday night (March 2nd).

The 11 fight card features a host of familiar names, several athletes making their promotional debuts & top prospect match ups.

The main event could well be over as quick as it starts with 23 finishes between Gaziev and Rozenstruik. A staple of the heavyweight division, Rozenstruik is no stranger to taking on up and coming prospects and Gaziev is just that, finding himself in a main event slot in just his second UFC contest.

In the co-main event, the undefeated Vitor Petrino will meet an in form Tyson Pedro in a Light Heavyweight co-main event.

Since joining the UFC on the back of a second round TKO win on the 2022 Contender Series; the Brazilian competed three times in 2023. His promotional debut came against Anton Turkalj and he claimed a 30-27, 30-27, 30-26 unanimous decision.

Four months later and he was back at it, against Marcin Prachinio at UFC 290, where he picked up his first promotional finish with a clean third round triangle choke.

His third and final contest of 2023 came against Modestas Bukauskas and a check hook in the second round helped ‘Icao’ continue his unbeaten run.

Pedro is 3-1 in his last four, with one of the two’s mutual opponents, Bukauskas, handed Pedro his first loss since 2018.

Either side of the loss, Pedro picked up two victories prior with brutal first round finishes against Ike Villanueva and Harry Hunsucker at UFC Fight Night: Lemos vs Andrade & UFC 278, respectively.

After the loss, the Australian picked up where he left off with highlight reel, first round finishes - when a one, two dropped Anton Turkalj before a hammer fist secured the win.

The surging Muhammad Mokaev has made no secret of the fact he wants a title shot against Alexandre Pantoja at 301 if he can secure a win over Alex Perez in their Flyweight bout. Perez has only managed to compete once since 2020, in a loss to the now champion at UFC 277.

If Perez can find a route to victory against, it could well be the biggest win of his career thus far.

One of the contests that could prove to be fight of the night, but is substantially flying under the radar, is the Bantamweight contest between Umar Nurmagomedov and Bekzat Almakhan.

The UFC are expecting big things from Almakhan, as he takes on the 13th ranked Nurmagomedov in his promotional debut. 

Almakhan has established himself in recent years, on the Kazakhstan domestic scene – collecting six wins from six fights on Octagon. With all but one of his wins coming by way of stoppage, the 26-year old has shown to have serious striking potential, of which he will look to display in his UFC debut. 

Much like his cousin, Khabib, Umar Nurmagomedov has looked unstoppable since signing with the UFC in 2021. At 12-0-0, his promotional debut came at UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs Magny when he faced Sergy Morozov. The grappling prowess that has been a formidable force for anyone who trained under Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was on display for everyone to see and he secured his first promotional victory with a second-round submission. 

Over a year since his first UFC win, Nurmagomedov was back in action at UFC 272 when he tied up a first round rear naked choke against Brian Kelleher. His third win came 3 short months later when he cruised to a unanimous decision victory to hand Nate Maness only the second loss of his career. In his last outing, the Russian proved his hands are just as dangerous as his ground game, getting a KO/TKO over Raoni Barcelos in January of 2023. 

Both Eryk Anders and Jamie Pickett will be looking to get their names back in the win column in their Middleweight contest. The pair have struggled to find solid form in their recent outings, with Anders going 2-3 and Pickett 1-4 in their last five. 

Former Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion Christian Leroy Duncan returns to the octagon on the back of securing his first UFC win back at UFC Fight Night: Allen vs Craig, when his eye catching stye captured a second round stoppage against Denis Tiuliulin. 

Opening proceedings, Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady will make his promotional debut since earning his UFC contract with an impressive unanimous decision against Cage Warriors Lightweight George Hardwick on last year’s season of the Contender Series.