It wasn't pretty, but after a two-year slump, the man once considered the greatest heavyweight MMA fighter of all time is back on track. Photo courtesy of M-1 Global

MOSCOW, Russia — Following three straight stoppage losses under the Strikeforce banner in 2010 and 2011, Russian heavyweight MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko(33-4, 1 NC) made a successful return to the ring Sunday in Moscow.

With Russian Prime Minister and fellow Sambo master Vladimir Putin ringside, the former Pride heavyweight champion, now 35, took on Abu Dhabi champion and heavyweight MMA journeyman Jeff Monson (43-13) in the “M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Monson” main event at Olympic Stadium.

For three full rounds Monson struggled unsuccessfully to keep the fight on the ground. As a BJJ black belt and world champion grappler with rudimentary boxing, Monson’s best chance at winning was definitely not on the feet.

The few times the fight went to the ground Monson was on bottom defending against Fedor’s ground and pound. Standing, the fight was all Fedor. He repeatedly attacked Monson’s legs with kicks and unloaded punch combinations that bloodied up the Anarchist’s face and sent him to the canvas more than once.

The few punches Monson threw were single shots that Fedor saw coming. Although “The Last Emperor” was unable to stop the American Top Team fighter, he stuck with a game plan that prevented him from getting into a grappling match and allowed him to systematically pick Monson apart.

The “M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Monson” card also featured a lightweight title match that saw Germany’s Daniel Weichel pick up his fifth straight win by defeating Jose Figueroa via first round knockout. The full “Fedor vs. Monson” fight card results are as follows:

  • Fedor Emelianenko def. Jeff Monson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • (155 Title) Daniel Weichel def. Jose Figueroa via KO (punches) Rd 1
  • Alexander Yakovlev def. Juan Manuel Suarez via TKO (punches) Rd 2
  • Yuri Ivlev def. Jerome Bouisson via TKO (punch) Rd 1
  • Mairbek Taisumov def. Joshua Thorpe via KO (punches) Rd 2
  • Mikhail Malyutin def. Seydina Seck via KO (punch) Rd 1
  • Albert Duraev def. Xavier Foupa-Pokam via submission (triangle choke) Rd 2
  • Salim Davidov def. Sergey Kornev via unanimous decision

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jeff Monson (Fight video: 11-20-11)

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