‘Monstrous KO artist’: Russia’s Nastyukhin stuns Alvarez at One Championship (VIDEO)
Former UFC and Bellator lightweight king Alvarez – considered one of MMA’s all-time greats – was making his promotion bow at “ONE Championship 92: A New Era,” having signed as a free agent on leaving the UFC.
But the 35-year-old American came massively undone against Nastyukhin, 29, who finished Alvarez with 55 seconds left in the first round with a huge barrage of punches.
Timofey Nastyukhin SHOCKS THE 🌏! The Russian warrior knocks out Eddie Alvarez at 4:05 of Round 1 to advance in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix! #WeAreONE#ANewEra#Tokyo#MartialArtspic.twitter.com/YxUV0TSnFR— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) March 31, 2019
Alvarez was taken to a Tokyo hospital as a precaution after the brutal nature of his defeat, which saw his record slip to 29-7 overall, including three losses and one no contest in his last five fights.
For Russia’s Nastyukhin, who will not have been on many fight fans’ radars before Sunday, it was the biggest scalp of his career and means he will now contest the promotion’s lightweight grand prix semifinals, where he will face Lowen Tynanes.
“I feel very good. You know it is my style,” the heavy-handed Nastyukhin said after dispatching his opponent.
“I like to finish in the first round by knockout and I did it. I didn’t think too much. I saw he got hurt. I saw the opportunity and I took it.”
There was a largely stunned reaction to the result on social media, with many saying they had not seen such a comprehensive demolition job coming – despite the Russian’s track record in his 16 fights up to that point, with six of his 12 previous wins coming via KO/TKO.
I'm still pretty stunned after that. Here's Timofey Nastyukhin's finish of Eddie Alvarez, that's not the way many people predicted it would go. Not a happy outcome for the promotion, either. #ONEANewErapic.twitter.com/KSbkw81IDx— Niall McGrath (@niallmcgrath4) March 31, 2019
Nastyukhin getting the better kf@the opening round here. Eddie not quite got the distance yet ..... WOWWWWWWWW the Russian FINISHES ALVAREZ!!! Huge upset #ANewEra— James Edwards (@MMA_Jim) March 31, 2019
Some, however, felt that Alvarez was something of a spent force heading into the bout, coming off the back of two defeats in the UFC.
Eddie Alvarez came into One on the back of two wars with Poirier, the Gaethje classic and the mauling by McGregor.Take nothing away from Nastyukhin but his brain must be like soup after that run.— Andy the MMA guy (@UpTheDarce) March 31, 2019
Definitely picked Eddie to win but I told folks not to sleep on Timofey Nastyukhin.He's not as well known obviously but if you watch this dude fight, you'd see he is a monstrous knockout artist. Proved it again tonight. https://t.co/QNeoLRplVc— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) March 31, 2019
There was also the somewhat snide suggestion that the happiest man would be UFC chief Dana White, given that Alvarez had left the UFC to join One – only to fail in his first fight.
Dana White right now after seeing Eddie Alvarez get Ko’d round one of his debut for one championship pic.twitter.com/vA5zlXb8wI— Polish Caribou (@polishcaribou) March 31, 2019