VTB Arena, Moscow; Bellator 269:
They say you can’t go home again. Well; “they” never met “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko. Twenty-one years after win number one, the Russian Icon picked up win number 40. And he did it in a way only he could, as Fedor flatlines Tim Johnson. Both started cautiously, but once the hands started to fly, it was on.
The finish, his 31st, and 28th in the opening round came at 106-seconds. It was also Emelianenko’s eighth win in his home country, and his first there since 2016. Post-fight he thanked everyone for all their support. He was also pleased that all his teammates walked away with wins in Bellator’s first time in Russia. But he had key words through the translator about success to all the future generations:
“Make sure your desire to participate matches your willingness to work”
Fedor Flatlines Tim Johnson; Is This The End
Ideally, you’d always like to wrap up a career on a win. Doing it in front of your home crowd makes it extra special. So is this a end of the fighting journey for Emelianenko? Probably not. While he may not be able to capture gold, he’s still competitive. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the plan in place for him was: one last fight in Japan, one in Russia, and one in the States. Well, he’s now two-thirds of the way there.
But even after another fight somewhere in the United States, he’s still not getting washed. And although he has duties in Russia, and is always there for his fighters; the man loves to fight. For a 45-year old he doesn’t look too bad. It was his chin that stood up to some fast shots from Johnson, and his super fast hand speed that finished the Las Vegas native.
There are those in sports that hold on way past their time, and you have to hope that won’t be the case here. However, Bellator’s heavyweight division isn’t stacked to the gills. So in theory; he could do another three fights which would get him to 50 in his career.