Walk-off KO for Fedor less than 2 minutes in.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 23, 2021
Beautiful. Vintage. Crowd going nuts.
Talk about a homecoming -- Fedor Emelianenko returned to Russia and fireworks ensued.
Emelianenko (40-6, 1 NC) put on a vintage display of power punching to finish betting favorite Timothy Johnson via first-round knockout inside Moscow's VTB Arena on Saturday. The heavyweight bout served as the main event to Bellator 269 and the first fight for Emelianenko in his home country since 2016.
In what appeared to be his best physical shape in years, the 45-year-old and well-tanned Emelianenko traded punches with Johnson (15-8) at close range in the opening minute until a trademark combination brought upon the American's demise.
Emelianenko landed a trio of flush punches, with the exclamation point coming on a beautiful right cross to knock Johnson out cold. The finish came without a referee's count at 1:46 of the opening round.
"Thank God that everyone [on Team Fedor] managed to win tonight," Emelianenko said. "We already have two champions and we are going to prepare another one.
"It's a huge event for us and it has been a while since I last fought in Russia."
Johnson, 36, took the bout fresh off an interim heavyweight title loss to Valentin Moldavksy, with Emelianenko in his corner.
Although he didn't speak directly about his future after the win, Emelianenko has talked in recent weeks about fighting once more before retiring.
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Bellator 269 fight card, results
- Fedor Emelianenko def. Tim Johnson via first-round knockout (punch)
- Said Sowma def. Vitaly Minakov via third-round TKO (injury)
- Usman Nurmagomedov def. Patrik Pietila via first-round submission (rear naked choke)
- Anatoly Tokov def. Sharaf Davlatmurodov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)