Fedor Emelianenko may not have had much left in the tank, but there was enough there to embarrass Quinton Jackson.
The former Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight titleholder brought down Jackson with a lightning bolt of a right hand in the first round of their Bellator 237 headliner on Saturday at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Emelianenko (39-6, 3-2 Bellator) drew the curtain 2:44 into Round 1, then appeared to lean toward retirement from mixed martial arts.
Jackson (38-14, 5-3 Bellator) was a 265-pound stationery target. Emelianenko tore into “Rampage” with three-, four- and five-punch volleys, reset and attacked again, even mixing in a pair of kicks, one to the leg and another to the body. The 43-year-old caught Jackson moving forward and connected with a quick but powerful straight right that planted his counterpart face down on the canvas and necessitated the stoppage.
Chandler Wrecks Replacement OutlawThree-time Bellator MMA lightweight champion Michael Chandler disposed of Sidney Outlaw with punches in the first round of their co-main event. A short-notice substitution for the injured Benson Henderson, Outlaw (14-4, 2-1 Bellator) saw his career-best nine-fight winning streak grind to a halt 2:59 into Round 1. The loss was his first in more than three years.
Chandler (20-5, 17-5 Bellator) zeroed in on the body with punches, steered clear of danger and probed for openings. A laser-guided straight right penetrated Outlaw’s defenses, impacted behind his ear and folded the former Titan Fighting Championship titleholder where he stood. Chandler then exploited his dazed and defenseless opponent and connected with a chopping standing-to-ground right hand before referee Bryan Miner could arrive on the scene.
The 33-year-old Chandler has won eight of his past 10 bouts.
Flawless Page Tools AnzaiLondon Shootfighters star Michael Page cut down former Pancrase champion Shinsho Anzai with a dazzling array of standup weaponry, prompting a stoppage in the second round of their welterweight showcase. Anzai (11-4, 0-1 Bellator) met his end 23 seconds into Round 2.
The 32-year-old Page (17-1, 13-1 Bellator) toyed with the respected veteran for five-plus minutes, as he connected with flying knees, lunging uppercuts, standing elbows and a clean two-punch combination that sat him down in the first round. Woozy and undoubtedly discouraged, Anzai emerged for the middle stanza with a sense of resignation surrounding him. Page caught him moving forward inside the first 30 seconds, planted a right cross on his chin and let referee Jason Herzog do the rest.
Page has pieced together a three-fight winning streak since his May 11 defeat to current Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima.
Surging Larkin Outclasses NakamuraMillennia MMA standout Lorenz Larkin posted his fourth win in as many appearances, as he took a unanimous decision from former Sengoku, Deep and Shooto Pacific Rim champion Keita Nakamura in a featured welterweight clash. All three judges sided with Larkin (22-7, 4-2 Bellator): 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26.
Nakamura (35-11-2, 0-1 Bellator) was game but outmatched. Larkin confronted him with side kicks to the thigh, stiff jabs, body kicks and stabbing right hands that snapped back his head on more than one occasion. Unable to secure a takedown, Nakamura found himself trapped on the feet with a vastly superior striker. Larkin did some of his best work in Round 3, where he opened a cut near the Japanese veteran’s left eye and cut off an attempted single-leg with a volley of slashing elbows to the side of the head that resulted in further bloodshed.
The 35-year-old Nakamura has alternated wins and losses in each of his last nine outings.
Undefeated Watanabe Handles JoanneKana Watanabe kept her unbeaten record intact, as the Japanese judoka put away Ilara Joanne with punches in the third round of their women’s flyweight feature. Joanne (9-5, 1-1 Bellator) succumbed to blows 4:39 into Round 3, her three-fight winning streak having run its course.
The 31-year-old Watanabe (9-0-1, 1-0 Bellator) waded through significant adversity in the first round, where the Brazilian met her with sweeping hooks from both hands, multi-punch bursts and clubbing overhand rights. Joanne even threatened with a triangle choke, to no avail. Watanabe leaned on her world-class judo skills across the final 10 minutes, as she grounded the Pitbull Brothers export repeatedly, utilized suffocating top control and applied her ground-and-pound. Joanne faded late, surrendered her back and failed to withstand a sustained barrage of unanswered punches.
Watanabe has won seven fights in a row, five of them finishes.
Calculated Yamauchi Throttles CruickshankGoiti Yamauchi submitted “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 alum Daron Cruickshank with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their lightweight showcase. Cruickshank (22-13, 0-1 Bellator) conceded defeat 3:11 into Round 1, as he suffered his third consecutive loss.
Yamauchi (25-4, 11-3 Bellator) made the Michigan Top Team rep uncomfortable with a series of lead-leg kicks, moved to the back on an ill-advised spinning back elbow from the American and climbed to a dominant position before pushing off the cage to get the fight to the floor. He threaded his hooks without much resistance, coiled his arms around Cruickshank’s neck and tightened his squeeze for the tap.
The 26-year-old Yamauchi has rattled off three straight victories.