A punch or two away from losing in his home country, Russian fighter Fedor Emelianenko found a way back to his feet.
His legs nearly gave out several times as he wobbled his way around the cage in the first round against Fabio Maldonado.
Somehow, “The Last Emperor” made it through a punishing assault from the Brazilian striker to finish the round at EFN 50 in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday.
Emelianenko rallied in the second and third rounds to beat Maldonado via majority decision, with the judges scoring it 28-28, 29-28, 29-28.
Emelianenko (36-4-1) opened the second round the same way he did the first, with a series of heavy punches toward the head as Maldonado covered up. Maldonado (22-10), a former professional boxer, has been known to be able to take a punch or 20 in his MMA career. Maldonado has only been stopped via TKO twice in his 16-year career, once by punches from Stipe Miocic in 2014 and once by doctor’s stoppage against Glover Teixeira in 2012.