You might be surprised by Timofey Nastyukhin’s favorite KO as a ONE Championship athlete.
The Russian wrecking machine shocked much of the world when he knocked out Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez with one of the KOs of 2019 at ONE: A NEW ERA, and though the 30-year-old from Novokuznetsk in southwestern Siberia is proud of his triumph in Tokyo, another moment stands out as his best on the global stage.
Die-hard mixed martial arts fans knew what Nastyukhin was capable of last March thanks to his rich history of finishes, and it is one of his earlier efforts that he looks back on with the most pleasure.
“Well, I think it was my first KO – my debut in ONE Championship against Eduard Folayang when I landed a flying knee,” he says.
Nastyukhin met the Filipino hero all the way back in December 2014 at ONE: WARRIOR’S WAY as an exciting new addition to the roster. He was 7-1 as a professional, but the only blemish on his record was in his debut and he had rebounded with seven consecutive first-round finishes, including four in the opening minute.
Despite his hot streak, it was Folayang with most of the hype behind him as he entered the Mall Of Asia Arena off the back of a pair of exciting wins. “The Landslide” was already one of the biggest stars in ONE thanks to his national mixed martial arts title and a quartet of victories in the Circle.
He was positioned as the national hero in a prominent main card bout that could launch him toward a World Title shot. However, Nastyukhin was determined to spoil the party in the Philippines’ capital.
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“I was also a significant underdog,” he explains.
“Folayang was the star. I was brought to his home – the fight took place in Manila – for him to give a show and run over me and I knocked him out in a spectacular fashion. For me, this is a very memorable knockout.”
The finish came in typically explosive style for the Russian superstar as he took off and struck with a scissor knee. Folayang threw a hook at exactly the same time, but his rival was so fast, he was left swinging at fresh air as Nastyukhin’s left knee crashed into his chin.
That put the man from Baguio City down, and a thunderous hammerfist put him out before he could react and recover.
It was a finish that set the tone for the rest of the Novokuznetsk native’s career in The Home Of Martial Arts as his whirlwind of offense was too much for his opponent to handle. From then on, fans have suspected something equally as wild every time he competes.
Nastyukhin has delivered several more highlight-reel KOs like the famous finish of Alvarez and the record-breaking, six-second stoppage of Rob Lisita, but he insists he never sets out to achieve those kinds of results.
He is ready to battle hard for three rounds whenever he enters the Circle, but if his aggressive approach and startling power means a match does not go that long, he will not complain.
“I don’t plan from the start to KO anyone or finish the fight in the first round,” he admits.
“This is just the way I lead my fights – to always chase down my opponents and when I see an opportunity to strike and connect I go for it. I have powerful strikes, so if I connect at the right spot, at the right time, it’s going to be a KO.
“It’s just my way of fighting. When I fight, it’s like I see if my opponent leaves an opening or relaxes and I see that I can land accurately.”
That game plan makes Nastyukhin one of the most dangerous mixed martial artists in the world and it will take a brave man to face him when he returns to action.
When he does, you can bet he will be ready with the same strategy to put his rival under pressure and deliver the kind of offense that should get fans out of their seats.
“I go out there, look in [my opponent’s] eyes, and I’m ready for anything. I’m ready to fight,” he says.