Fedor Emelianenko returned to Saitama Super Arena in Japan and devastated Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson at Bellator Japan.

On the first leg of his retirement tour, a nostalgic throwback between ‘The Last Emperor’ and ‘Rampage’ headlined Bellator 237 and did not disappoint. Many questioned Jackson’s ability to compete at heavyweight and they were right to be concerned.

Visibly slower, likely due to the weight gain, and coming off a long period of inactivity Jackson looked a shadow of the fighter who made his name with Pride and the UFC. With a limited amount of offense, he barely threw any punches and spent most of the exchanges covering up.

Patented right hand

Midway through the first frame, Fedor realized that Rampage was looking to counter and started to open up with a variety of strikes. The Russian was having a field day and growing in confidence.

In the end it was Fedor’s patented right hand that had Jackson falling face-first into the canvas.

After being finished by Ryan Bader earlier this year, Fedor (39-6) picks up his 15th knockout and ends 2019 on a high note where it basically all began, in Japan. He still has the USA and Russia left on his retirement tour so 2020 seems to be the last year we will see the legend fight.

Jackson (38-14), on the flip side, has lost his last three of four and looks to be well past his prime It will be very interesting to see what the next step will be for the former UFC light heavyweight champion.

Superior striking

The co-main event had multiple time lightweight champion Michael Chandler facing off against surging newcomer Sidney Outlaw. Stepping in on short notice, Outlaw planned to have his moment by upsetting Chandler but that is not what played out.

By utilizing his superior striking, Chandler worked the body and set up a beautiful finish in the first round. With a powerful straight right down the pipe, Outlaw was flatlined at the point of impact.

Chandler (20-5) bounces back in destructive fashion after losing his 155-pound title via knockout earlier in the year to Patricio Pitbull while Outlaw (14-4) tastes defeat for the first time since 2016 and slows his ascension.

In the highlight of the postlims, which were not broadcast, Yusuke Yachi (21-9) scored a soccer kick knockout over Hiroto Uesako (16-9) in the third round. Yachi connected with a dizzying right hand that floored his opponent and then followed up with a perfectly placed kick to the face that forced the referee to jump in and stop the fight.

Bellator Japan, Tokyo, December 29th
Fedor Emelianenko def. Quinton Jackson via KO (punch) at 2:44 of round one
Michael Chandler def. Sidney Outlaw via KO (punch) at 2:59 of round one
Michael Page def. Shinsho Anzai via KO (punch) at 0:23 of round two
Lorenz Larkin def. Keita Nakamura via decision (unanimous)
Kana Watanabe def. Ilara Joanne via TKO (strikes) at 4:39 of round three
Goiti Yamauchi def. Daron Cruickshank via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:11 of round one
*

* postlim results still to come