In one of the most anticipated fights in Bellator MMA's history, "The Last Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko turned back the clock, putting fellow legend Frank Mir out of the fight in the first round Saturday night. Fedor earned his first knockout victory since a 2012 stoppage over Pedro Rizzo and his first victory under the Bellator banner. In doing so, Fedor advances to the second round of Bellator's heavyweight tournament, where he will face another former UFC star, Chael Sonnen.

The Last Emperor reigns

Fedor's legendary reputation is built on the back of countless classic fights against the toughest opponents, and while this one didn't last long, there was no shortage of action.

Despite the grappling pedigree of both Fedor and Mir, the two started out by throwing heavy shots at one another, Mir catching Fedor early and dropping the Russian to the canvas. Just as it appeared to be an early night for Emelianenko, he recovered and landed a perfect hip throw takedown to gain a dominant position.

The ground fight didn't last long, and the two continued headhunting one another. Both landed glancing blows, before Fedor caught Mir with a short left hook on the end of a combination, sending Mir to the ground and into the turtle position. From here Fedor was able to finish the fight with a succession of strikes on the ground, referee Mike Beltran stepping in after just 48 seconds, as Mir had no answer for the pinpoint ground-and-pound.

Fedor now holds a 6-1 record over his last seven fights, although that stretches back to 2011, including several fights in which the Russian has looked a severely diminished version of his previous self.

Victorious in the USA

Fedor is looking to turn around a reputation for struggling on American soil. In 2009, his record stood at an incredible 31-1, the majority of his fights taking place in the Pride Fighting Championship in Japan. His attempt to cross over into the US market hit a wall when he lost three fights in a row in the Strikeforce promotion, to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva, and Dan Henderson, and most recently lost his Bellator MMA debut, knocked out in the first round by Matt Mitrione in June 2017. Saturday's win was Fedor's fifth in the USA, but his first since 2009.

He will fight veteran Chael Sonnen in the semifinals of Bellator's Grand Prix tournament, after Sonnen's unanimous decision victory over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in January.