Sultan Aliev Retires Following Victory at UFC St. Petersburg

Sultan Aliev UFC
Sultan Aliev Credit: Dave Mandel/

After earning his second victory under the UFC banner, Sultan Aliev called it a career following UFC St. Petersburg.

Former Bellator fighter and UFC welterweight Sultan Aliev made the walk to the octagon for the first time in nearly a year at UFC St. Petersburg on Saturday. He also made it for the last time. Following a win over Japan’s Keita Nakamura at the Fight Night event in Russia, Aliev announced back stage that he was hanging up his gloves. The Dagestani-Russian, 34 years old, has struggled with injury in recent years, and appeared just four times in the UFC, making his debut in January 2015, and going 2-2 including the Nakamura win.

Speaking backstage following the fight, Aliev (15-3), said that “since that was the last fight on my contract, I’d like to retire from MMA. I’ve got a family and job – I just can’t find time for everything. And also I’m starting to feel my age.”

He later admitted that he had considered retirement previously, but St. Petersburg — fighting at home and going out on a high note — was the right moment.

Aliev finishes his career with notable wins over Nakamura, Bojan Veličković, and Luis Henrique. He went 1-1 under the Bellator MMA banner, battling Doug ‘The Rhino’ Marshall but ultimately dropping a split decision at Bellator 92 in 2013. That bout was a semi-final in Bellator’s season 8 middleweight tournament.

Another tournament had a happier ending for Aliev: he won the ProFC Light Heavyweight Grand Prix in in 2011, the year he made his pro debut.