Timofey Nastyukhin SHOCKS THE ! The Russian warrior knocks out Eddie Alvarez at 4:05 of Round 1 to advance in the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix! #WeAreONE #ANewEra #Tokyo #MartialArts pic.twitter.com/YxUV0TSnFR— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) March 31, 2019
Most observers did not expect Timofey Nastyukhin to spoil the promotional debut of Eddie Alvarez at One Championship “A New Era” on March 31 in Tokyo. That it occurred in the quarterfinals of the Singapore-based organization’s lightweight grand prix made it that much sweeter, as Nastyukhin stopped the former Bellator MMA and Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder with first-round punches.
In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, the 29-year-old Russian discussed his stunning upset and what comes next in One Championship:
Sherdog.com: How would you describe your preparation for the fight?
Nastyukhin: Preparation for the fight started three months before, as soon as I found out the fight would be with Alvarez. I spent the first month at home preparing for the fight in Novokuznetsk. I already had an understanding of how to prepare for him. I worked in Thailand for the next two months. All preparation was built around the opponent. There were a lot of sparring partners from all over the world. The main emphasis was on the punching techniques and defending the wrestling. I had to stop his pressure and avoid fighting on the cage. That was the focus.
Sherdog.com: How important is an opponent’s reputation before a fight?
Nastyukhin: I don’t care about my opponent’s reputation. I’ve never chosen my opponents. I was glad that it was me who was fighting Alvarez. Such a chance comes very rarely, so I could not turn down this fight.
Sherdog.com: Do you like to read fans’ opinions about you?
Nastyukhin: It’s simple, the grand prix grid was made for Alvarez. He’s the star, and he truly deserves this status, so he became everyone’s favorite in the fight. However, he was not ready for this fight. He looked past me. His head was already in the final. I was an underdog, and it was not just in the comments on the social networks.
Sherdog.com: How long have you been with Rati, the camp at which you now train?
Nastyukhin: Time flies fast. I’ve been with the Rati team for two years. This is a large, cohesive team. We are able to stay as a family, with many versatile fighters. From the very beginning, I felt the support, and we continue to move forward.
Sherdog.com: You will face Lowen Tynanes in the semifinals of the grand prix. Do you know the date and venue for that fight, and what are your thoughts on Tynanes?
Nastyukhin: As of now, there’s no date and no place. We decided with the managers that I needed a little time to calm my head a little bit. For three months, I was at the training camp, and for three months, I didn’t turn it off. I need to breathe out now. I think that I need at least two months, so I think that the next fight will take place in the summer. Tynanes is a very dangerous opponent with incredibly powerful kicks and a good wrestling base. This is not an easy opponent. We have a lot of tactical work to do in preparation for the fight with him.