Things did not go to plan for MMA veteran Eddie Alvarez on his One Championship debut in Tokyo as he suffered a brutal first-round TKO defeat to Russias Timofey Nastyukhin.
Former UFC and Bellator lightweight king Alvarez – considered one of MMAs 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.
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 Russias 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 promotions 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 didnt 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 Russians 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
— 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.