An enthusiastic crowd at the MegaSport Ice Arena in Moscow got what it came to see Friday, as Russian mixed martial arts legend Oleg Taktarov came out of retirement to win his first fight in nearly ten years.
The 38-year-old “Russian Bear”, who squared off against 37-year-old John Marsh in the main event at Bodog Fight: Russia vs. USA , thrilled his comrades by using a knee bar to submit the American 33 seconds into the second round.
Marsh claimed afterwards that he suffered a shoulder injury while battling the fighter-turned-actor-turned-fighter.
“I felt great coming in and had no nerves,” said Marsh. “Then I blew out my shoulder and I was done. I was literally one-handed at that point. It surprised me, and I thought to myself, ‘Uh-oh!’ It was great fighting Oleg, though. He’s quite the opponent.”
The victory improves Taktarov’s MMA record to 15-5-2, while Marsh falls to 7-7.
In other action, Maryland’s James “Binky” Jones succumbed to a first-round armbar by Vladimir Zenin, Nevada’s Eric “Big” Pele dropped a unanimous decision to Akhmet Sultanov, while Norwegian heavyweight Dan “The Viking” Evensen earned a hard-fought decision over a tough Konstantine Gluhov.
“This was the toughest fight of my professional career,” said Evensen, who improved to 9-2.
“As a Norwegian I know how tough these Russian fighters are. They have some of the toughest athletes in the world, and I am proud to have won this fight. Gluhov was incredibly strong for his size. I outweighed him by more than 20 kilos (44 lbs), but he was just as strong as me!”