The stoppage streak at UFC St. Petersburg came to an end when Sultan Aliev used his wrestling to win a decision over Keita Nakamura.
Sultan Aliev is a former sambo world champion who came into the UFC with just one loss on his record and four straight knockouts. Aliev is 1-2 in the Octagon with the one win being a split decision against Bojan Velickovic. The Russian is looking to bounce back from a stoppage loss to former top prospect Warlley Alves.
Keita Nakamura faces Aliev in the place of Emil Meek, who was removed from the card for undisclosed reasons. Nakamura first fought in the UFC way back in 2006, where he went 0-2 and 0-1 in two separate stints in a three-year span. The Japanese fighter fought his way back to the Octagon in 2015 with the DEEP welterweight title to his name. He’s alternated wins and losses in seven fights since returning, with notable wins over Li Jingliang and Kyle Noke.
Nakamura lost his mouthpiece within 20 seconds of the first round, then both fighters landed straight punches. There were several brief exchanges before Nakamura landed a body kick followed by hooks from both fighters. Aliev initiated a clinch then was tripped by Nakamura, but Aliev rolled into top position. Nakamura escaped but was taken down again by Aliev. Nakamura then used the fence to stand up, which is where Aliev kept him pinned for the remainder of the round.
Cageside Press Scores the First Round 10-9 Sultan Aliev
The second round got off to a slow start until Nakamura was able to back Aliev up to the fence with a combination. A body kick came up short from Nakamura, then he was turned around by Aliev. Aliev landed a jab then a hard right hand and regained control of the round. Aliev took Nakamura down along the fence and Nakamura was unable to escape his grasp for the remainder of the round. The round ended with Nakamura pinned against the fence.
Cageside Press Scores the Second Round 10-9 Sultan Aliev
The third round got off to a similar slow start, with Nakamura unable to land anything of significance before Aliev got a hold of him. Aliev scored another takedown against the cage and took the back of Nakamura as he was attempting to stand up. Nakamura was able to spin into a sprawled position, then stand up against the cage. Nakamura escaped the clinch and reset the fight to the center of the cage. Nakamura was attempting to land heavy strikes but couldn’t connect with anything, even eating a straight right from Aliev.
Cageside Press Scores the Third Round 10-9 Sultan Aliev (30-27 Aliev)
Sultan Aliev def. Keita Nakamura by Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)