Top-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko cemented his status as the sport’s best heavyweight on Saturday night in front of a capacity crowd of 13,228 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, rebounding from a sluggish start to score a first-round knockout of Andrei Arlovski in the main event of Affliction: Day of Reckoning.
Arlovski’s highly-touted boxing gave him the edge early as “The Pitbull” inflited damage with numerous punches and kicks in the opening minutes. However, his early success turned to over-confidence as Arlovski used a push kick to setup a flying knee midway through the frame. With his hands held low, Arlovski’s over-aggressiveness was the only opening Emelianenko needed, connecting with a right to Arlovski’s chin in midair that immediately collapsed the former UFC title-holder to the canvas at the 3:34 mark of the opening round.
“I feel great. I feel really good about it,” said Emelianenko following the win. “I want to thank God for my victory and thank everyone that was behind me. I really didn’t think I would knock him out but it happened. You don’t expect it to happen but it did.”
With the win, Emelianenko retained the WAMMA heavyweight title and improved his career record to 30-1, while Arlovski falls to 15-6 with the loss.
In other featured action, Josh Barnett forced a game Gilbert Yvel to tap out due to strikes in the third to secure a likely future matchup against Fedor, Vitor Belfort scored a chilling 37-second knockout of highly-regarded middleweight Matt Lindland that left “The Law” out cold on the canvas before eventually stumbling to his feet and heading to the hospital, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou continued his recent downfall with a second-round submission loss to Renato Sobral, Paul Buentello battered Kiril Sidelnikov en-route to a third-round doctor’s stoppage, and Dan Lauzon overcame a trio of groin shots to secure a late first-round submission of late replacement Bobby Green.
On the preliminary card, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira overcame a slow start to knockout Vladimir Matyuskenko late in the second round, Jay Hieron needed just 64-seconds to knockout Jason High in a swing following the evening’s main event, L.C. Davis rebounded from a first-round beatdown to top Bao Quach on the scorecards , Albert Rios scored a unanimous decision victory over Antonio Duarte, and Brett Cooper kicked off the evening with a second-round TKO of Patrick Speight.
The event’s official results were:
- Fedor Emelianenko (c) def. Andrei Arlovski via KO (punch) — Round 1, 3:34
WAMMA Heavyweight Championship
- Josh Barnett def. Gilbert Yvel via submission (strikes) — Round 3, 3:05
- Vitor Belfort def. Matt Lindland via KO (punches) — Round 1, 0:37
- Renato Sobral def. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou via submission (anaconda choke) — Round 2, 2:36
- Paul Buentello def. Kiril Sidelnikov via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) — Round 3, 4:18
- Dan Lauzon def. Bobby Green via submission (rear naked choke) — Round 1, 4:55
- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Vladimir Matyushenko via TKO (strikes) — Round 2, 4:26
- Jay Hieron def. Jason High via KO (punches) — Round 1, 1:04
- L.C. Davis def. Bao Quach via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Albert Rios def. Antonio Duarte via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Brett Cooper def. Patrick Speight via TKO (strikes) — Round 2, 4:10