Garner too much for Russia’s MMA hopeful (VIDEO)
A hero to cheer on is always welcomed in the sporting world and mixed martial arts fans are no different in that respect.
Fedor Emelianenko has been a true icon for MMA followers for decades. But with the Last Emperor talking of quitting the sport, there is huge demand in Russia for a worthy successor.
Could it be Magomed Malikov?
The Dagestan native had his first 15 minutes of fame in November, when he stunned the crowd by knocking out Fedor's younger brother, Aleksandr, just 23 seconds into their bout.
That performance propelled Malikov into a title bout against M-1 Global's interim heavyweight champion Kenny Garner at home in the Russian capital.
The 30-year-old was considered favorite against the American veteran.
No time was wasted feeling each other out on this occasion as the two giants turned the fight into a rumble from the off.
Garner was first to hurt his opponent, but it was the Russian who looked more dangerous in trading punches.
However, as the fight progressed, it became clear Malikov was running out of gas. The third round saw Garner taking his chance to turn the lights off for Malikov and defend his interim crown.
“I did it. I knocked him out,” Kenny Garner told RT. “That was the game plan. ’Cause I knew he likes to stand up. And I knew if I keep the pressure on him he’s going to tire out sooner or later ’cause he’s got big punches, but it’s taking a lot of energy of him.”
The American is now looking forward to facing reigning heavyweight champion, Georgian-Ukrainian Guram Gugenishvili on June 21.
Meanwhile, the other title bout on the night saw a different weight class, but the same outcome.
Russia's Artur Guseinov and Mario Miranda representing the US were out to settle scores for the M-1 middleweight interim title.
Miranda, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, was constantly taking the fight to the ground where he held a clear advantage.
And that game finally worked in the third round, when the American choked the Russian out.
So it was a disappointing evening for the hosts, but the 2012 fight season is one that's far from over.