Alvarez upset by Nasyukhin in One Championship debut
By JIM ARMSTRONG
AP Sports Writer
TOKYO (AP) - Russian Timofey Nasyukhin upset American Eddie Alvarez with a first-round technical knockout in the mixed martial arts One Championship on Sunday at Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo's premier sumo venue.
Nasyukhin floored Alvarez with a right hand to the side of the head with 55 seconds left in the opening round of the lightweight bout, which was Alvarez's debut with One Championship.
Nasyukhin kicked high early and put a two-punch combination together when Alvarez attempted to pressure him backward. He sent the former UFC 155-pound title holder down with a right hand two minutes in.
With a minute left, Nasyukhin again stunned Alvarez who went down on a knee and his opponent was relentless until the referee stepped in.
"This has been the case most of my career, people have underestimated me," the 28-year-old Nasyukhin said. "I knew that he was a better opponent than me and he's an MMA legend but I used that as motivation."
The 35-year-old Alvarez, who hadn't fought since July 2018, was unavailable for comment after the bout as he was taken to a nearby hospital.
American Demetrious Johnson, also making his One Championship debut, won his flyweight bout when he got Japan's Yuya Wakamatsu in a choke hold at 2 minutes, 40-seconds of the second round.
"He's good about crossing distance," Johnson said after the win. "I had a hard time trying to cross distance carefully. I got caught, but sometimes you battle through adversity in the cage or in life, and you keep pushing through it."
Johnson and Alvarez are two former UFC champions who moved to the Singapore-based One Championship this year.
One has staged shows across Asia from Myanmar to China over the past seven years, but waited to take its shot at the martial arts-loving fan base in Japan, where several major MMA organizations have risen and fallen over the years. One also plans to debut in Vietnam and South Korea later in 2019.
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