Uncasville, CT — Khalid Murtazaliev hasn’t been seen inside the cage in nearly three years. That changed Friday at Bellator 255, with Murtazaliev joining a new home and defeating Fabio Aguiar via unanimous decision.
Prior to that, Murtazaliev’s last action was in the UFC, a dominant 2018 win over CB Dolloway. A USADA suspension followed, leading to a two year ban. Injuries compounded that.
“It’s been an almost three year layover, and injuries and everything,” Murtazaliev observed after the fight. Speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press, he noted that “I forgot that feeling inside the cage. But now after fifteen minutes, going the distance, I feel more comfortable. I will be ready for anyone in my division, top five, top three. I have my coach, Greg Jackson, and I will be ready for anyone in the division, even the champion.”
During the bout with Aguiar, Murtazaliev was warned for a particularly egregious fence grab. Asked about the foul, he replied that “I didn’t mean to grab the cage at all. It was by accident, I just moved my hand and grabbed it by accident.” But, he continued, with all the time away, he did forget the rules, at least a little bit. “After the referee talked to me, I remembered everything,” he added. “All the rules.”
Having settled into his new fighting home, Murtazaliev would love to fight again soon. “I’m ready to fight April 9. Next week,” he joked. But with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan fast approaching, a longer layoff is more likely.
Watch the full Bellator 255 post-fight press scrum with Khalid Murtazaliev above.