At 45, the legendary Russian is advancing towards the final stages of his career but his performance on Saturday left no doubt that he still has plenty of fight left in him. Emelinanko earned his 40th professional win after unleashing a huge right hand that snapped Johnson’s head around and sent the former Bellator interim title challenger crashing to the canvas in a heap.
Emelianenko didn’t have to throw another shot as he just walked away with the referee quickly rushing in to stop the contest at 1:46 in the opening round.
“It’s a huge event for us,” Emelianenko said in celebration with the Moscow crowd cheering him. “It’s been a while since I last fought in Russia.”
There wasn’t much feeling out between the heavyweights with Emelianenko immediately flashing his fast hands with Johnson just biting down on his mouthpiece and winging punches back at him.
Johnson landed a couple straight punches early but Emelianenko just walked through them while looking to set up his signature combinations where he comes after an opponent with a flurry of shots in succession.
After baiting Johnson into an exchange, Emelianenko stepped back and then forward with his combination that started with a left and then followed with the right that ended the fight. As soon as the punch detonated on Johnson’s chin, he crumbled to the canvas and Emelianenko raised his hand in victory.
Stoic but still smiling, Emelianenko soaked in the moment while also paying homage to many members of his fight team who also found success at Bellator 269.
“Thank god that everyone managed to win tonight,” Emelianenko said. “We already have two champions and we’re going to prepare another one.”
With one fight left on his contract, Emelianenko has said that he planned to compete again after Bellator 269 but if he decides to hang up his gloves after Saturday, he’d finish with a highlight reel knockout to cap off his mythical career.