Brazilian cult hero Zuluzinho has made a dramatic comeback to the fighting world after a controversial battle in a Russian fight promotion.
The 181kg, 1.98m machine, affectionately bestowed with the nickname “Little Zulu”, celebrated prematurely after landing a thunderous right hand that dropped his opponent Yusup Shuaev.
The undefeated Shuaev was rocked and collapsed backwards as Zuluzinho raced in to finish the contest with strikes on the ground in the headline fight of the AMC Fight Nights card in Sochi.
Watch UFC action with ESPN on KAYO. Stream full Fight Night events live plus prelim fights for PPV events. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly
However, he was beaten by the bell as the referee jumped in to stop the contest at the end of the first round.
The stoppage came right at the moment Zuluzinho believed he was being called off for ending the fight with a TKO.
It took a full minute for the 42-year-old MMA marvel to realise the fight was not over.
He celebrated by lying on the floor, soaking up his comeback win. Only then did it dawn that the referee had simply pulled him off after the end of the round.
He went on to lose the fight via a unanimous judges decision with Shuaev dominating the second and third rounds.
The defeat ended a three-fight win streak for Zuluzinho, who had not been involved in a professional fight since 2019.
Zuluzinho famously fought MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko in the Pride FC championship before it was absorbed by the UFC, suffering a first-round TKO in 2005.
15 years later he showed this week he still has it.
It is the second time he has made a comeback, having previously disappeared from the fighting world for eight years before a return in 2018.
He popped up last year, featuring in the Russian Slapping Championships, but his heart clearly lies in the combat inside the MMA ring.
He has not announced any plans to call time on his career following the defeat.