Vladimir Matyushenko left his gloves in the cage on Friday night. | Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
On Friday night, “The Janitor” punched the clock for the final time.
UFC veteran Vladimir Matyushenko officially retired from mixed martial arts in the wake of a third-round submission defeat to Joey Beltran at Bellator 116, which took place at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif.
Matyushenko acquitted himself well in his Spike TV-broadcast bout, but Beltran ultimately proved to be the fresher man in the bout’s final round. “The Mexicutioner” first went to work with an accurate body attack before taking Matyushenko down and applying a fight-ending north-south choke.
The defeat was just the eighth of Matyushenko’s career, which has spanned 35 fights over more than 16 years. The 43-year-old took his first pro fight in 1997 and went on to join the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2001, challenging then-champion Tito Ortiz for the light heavyweight title at UFC 33.
Though the Belarusian would come up short in that encounter, Matyushenko would win International Fight League gold in 2007, defending the belt once successfully before rejoining the UFC in 2009. Matyushenko posted a 4-3 record during his second Octagon stint and then signed with Bellator following his UFC release, outpointing Houston Alexander last September in his debut for the Viacom-owned promotion.
Long lauded for his excellent wrestling skills, Matyushenko collected notable victories over the likes of Yuki Kondo, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Pedro Rizzo and Vernon White. He now ends his career with an overall record of 27-8, with 16 of his wins coming by either knockout or submission.