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Anthony Johnson Beats Jose Augusto with Vicious Knockout at Bellator 258

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2021

Anthony Johnson celebrates after defeating Jimi Manuwa during their light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 191 on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Anthony "Rumble" Johnson made a successful return to the cage with a second-round knockout win over Jose Augusto in the co-main event of Bellator 258.

Rumble reminded everyone what he's capable of in just one punch after a turbulent first round. 

The opening frame was an up-and-down affair. Things looked good for Johnson early. He was the early aggressor and Augusto appeared to injure his hand on a punch that hit his opponent's head. 

However, the Brazilian was willing to sit and the pocket and counter Johnson which paid off. Augusto cracked his opponent with a counter-right and nearly sunk in a submission in the aftermath.

Johnson merely survived the rest of the round and given his past issues with cardio and is age, it was fair to wonder if he'd turn things around. Rumble answered those questions pretty quickly. 

He reminded everyone very quickly how easy it is for him to change a fight instantly. He followed up a left hand with a massive right hand that put his opponent to sleep and sent him to the second round of the tournament. 

UFC fighter Dan Ige gave Johnson props for the big win in his return:

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Bellator president Scott Coker was appreciative of Augusto's effort on short notice. 

The first round was an up-and-down affair. Things looked good for Johnson early. He was the early aggressor and Augusto appeared to injure his hand on a punch that hit his opponent's head. 

However, the Brazilian was willing to sit and the pocket and counter Johnson which paid off. Augusto cracked his opponent with a counter-right and nearly sunk in a submission in the aftermath.

Johnson merely survived the rest of the round and given his past issues with cardio and is age, it was fair to wonder if he'd turn things around. Rumble answered those questions pretty quickly. 

He reminded everyone very quickly how easy it is for him to change a fight instantly. He followed up a left hand with a massive right hand that put his opponent to sleep and sent him to the second round of the tournament. 

UFC fighter Dan Ige gave Johnson props for the big win in his return:

Bellator president Scott Coker was appreciative of Augusto's effort on short notice. 

The fight was Rumble's first since a loss to Daniel Cormier at UFC 210 in April 2017. After losing his shot at light heavyweight gold against DC, he decided to retire. 

However, it was actually watching another Cormier fight that inspired him to get back in the cage. Johnson enjoyed his retirement (and the ability to relax his eating habits) but got the itch to fight once again. 

"I had no desire to truly compete again, especially with how fat I was. But when I watched the (Stipe) Miocic and Cormier fight it lit a fire under my tail and made me want to compete again," he said per Paul Battison of BBC Sport. 

Johnson admitted he got up to 280 pounds in his retirement, but after watching that fight, he got back in the gym and cut the necessary 75 pounds to once again fight at light heavyweight. Throughout Johnson's career, he is one of the few fighters who can say he fought at every weight from welterweight to heavyweight. 

Johnson's best success has arguably been at light heavyweight. His only loss in the division came at the hands of Cormier twice. 

That record is about to be put to the test, though. Johnson was spared fighting a fellow UFC talent in Yoel Romero. The Cuban was forced off the card after failing his pre-fight medical screening

He'll now face current Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov. He'll bring an eight-fight win streak to the table that includes wins over Phil Davis (twice) and Ryan Bader. The winner will face whoever emerges from the semifinal between Bader and Corey Anderson.  

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