Legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko scored a lovely knockout of Tim Johnson in his return to house soil at Bellator 269 in Moscow.
It ended up being an exciting second for Emelianenko (40-6 MMA, 4-2 BMMA), however it additionally had the potential to be very unhappy. The betting odds had Johnson (15-8 MMA, 3-4 BMMA) favored to journey into enemy territory to win. That wasn’t unjust, both, as a result of it was exhausting to know what model of the previous PRIDE FC champ we’d be getting after he spent almost two years away from the game.
During Emelianenko’s layoff he celebrated his forty fifth birthday, and in addition had a extreme case of COVID-19 that briefly put him within the hospital. It appeared completely doable he would present up as a deeply compromised model of himself and be in over his head in opposition to Johnson, who had a greater than 30-pound weight benefit.
To the delight of just about everybody outdoors of Johnson, his staff, his household and his mates, Emelianenko turned again the clock and delivered a classic 108-second knockout. It was quick, it was painless (for Fedor not less than), and it was devastating. A very feel-good second all the way in which round.
The query now, nonetheless, is what does Emelianenko do from right here? He has a lot to be proud in his profession, and it’s exhausting to fathom him placing collectively a extra good second than what occurred on Saturday in entrance of his personal folks in Russia. It was good in each sense, and if I used to be his private advisor, I’d strongly encourage him to shut the door on the aggressive chapter of his life.
But as we’ve seen so many occasions earlier than in fight sports activities, virtually nobody retires when it appears to take advantage of sense. Moreover, Emelianenko has one battle remaining on his Bellator contract, and his providers don’t come low-cost. Leaving that cash on the desk can be silly to a level, and it’d be exhausting guilty him for wanting to gather it.
Given that, there appears to be two believable situations for Emelianenko. He can both play it protected and pursue a winnable matchup that increase his probabilities of ending his profession on a win, or he can shoot for the celebrities and attempt to exit on the best of highs.
The reality Emelianenko selected Johnson for this matchup at Bellator 269 hints he’s eager about the latter. Johnson entered the battle No. 2 within the Bellator heavyweight rankings, and Emelianenko picked him as a result of he wished to indicate he belongs on the high of the division and is related to the title.
A rematch with Bellator heavyweight champ Ryan Bader may provide Emelianenko his fairytale end. We noticed how that battle performed out already, and it didn’t go nicely for Emelianenko. However, Bader (28-7 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) has since been knocked out twice and seemed like a extra aged model of himself in current fights. Perhaps which means he’s weak. Or not. But if Emelianenko needs to take the chance and go for glory, then that is the apparent possibility.
It would take some maneuvering, in fact. After Bader bought ousted from the sunshine heavyweight grand prix in opposition to Corey Anderson, he’s focused to return to heavyweight for a title unification bout with interim champ Valentin Moldavsky. Conveniently, Moldavsky is one in every of Emelianenko’s pupils and teammates, and it wouldn’t be stunning if he provided to step apart and let his mentor battle Bader as an alternative.