Former New York Giants defensive tackle turned mixed martial artist Matt Mitrione earned the signature win of his career Saturday when he knocked out Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator NYC.
The two fighters simultaneously knocked each other out one minute, 14 seconds into their bout at Madison Square Garden. Mitrione fell on his posterior but had the presence of mind to quickly rise to his feet. Emelianenko bent forward and tried to grab him to slow him down. Mitrione caught Emelianenko with a hard right and several more punches to secure the knockout.
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“It’s crazy. Right in the middle of the fight, he’s so smart, he started looking at my hips and watching my feet,” he said. “So, I switched it up with him, and maybe I confused him. I engaged when he engaged.”
Saturday’s fight was originally supposed to happen in February. Mitrione was forced to withdraw hours before the event due to kidney stones. Emelianenko elected to reschedule the bout with Mitrione rather than continue with a different opponent.
“He’s not arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time, he is the greatest heavyweight of all time,” he said.
Mitrione is now 12-5 in his fighting career with 11 wins by knockout.
He signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2002 after playing collegiately at Purdue. Mitrione injured his foot in the 2002 Wild Card Game against the San Francisco 49ers. He had seven surgeries on his foot and was on crutches for 16 months but the Giants released him in 2004. He also had stints with the 49ers and Minnesota Vikings.
Mitrione began training in mixed martial arts in 2009. He appeared in the tenth season of Fox Sports 1’s The Ultimate Fighter.