If this was the end, what a fitting end it was.
Former Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight titleholder Fedor Emelianenko was in vintage form, as he wiped out Pedro Rizzo in less than 90 seconds on Thursday in the M-1 Global “Fedor vs. Rizzo” main event at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Afterward, the 35-year-old announced his intention to retire from the sport, according to multiple news outlets.
Rizzo (19-10), who had not competed in nearly two years, lay unconscious 1:24 into round one, the latest in a long line of men victimized by Emelianenko’s power and speed.
The Russian icon set the tone from the start, as he put Rizzo on his heels with a crisp left hook roughly 40 seconds after the fight began. Later, he followed a quick kick to the Brazilian’s left leg with a thudding overhand right behind the ear that sent Rizzo crashing to the canvas. Dazed and vulnerable, the former UFC heavyweight title contender was a sitting duck. Emelianenko followed him to the canvas and flipped the off switch with a series of vicious haymakers.
Emelianenko, who turns 36 in September, has pieced together a nifty three-fight winning streak, albeit against less-than-stellar opposition. His latest run of success comes on the heels of back-to-back-to-back losses to two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Fabricio Werdum, onetime EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva and former two-division Pride titleholder Dan Henderson that resulted in his unceremonious release from Strikeforce.