Anthony "Rumble" Johnson faced some adversity in his return to mixed martial arts Friday night but ultimately came back from his four-year retirement with a bang.
Johnson knocked out Jose Augusto at the 1:30 mark of the second round in the Bellator 258 co-main event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
With the victory, Johnson advanced to the semifinals of the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, where he'll face champion Vadim Nemkov for the Bellator title.
Johnson, a former UFC title challenger, dropped Augusto with a devastating right hand and landed one punch on the ground before the referee waved off the fight.
Augusto, who stepped in on less than a week's notice for Yoel Romero, nearly finished Johnson in the first round in what would've been a massive upset. He stunned "Rumble" with a left punch and then dropped him with a combination. Augusto followed up with strikes against the cage, but Johnson got on top of the Brazilian and recovered.
In his postfight interview, Johnson initially said he didn't think Augusto wobbled him. But when he watched the replay, the 37-year-old admitted that he was hurt and said he didn't remember it happening.
"That's the first time I've been rocked," Johnson said. "Man, I don't even remember it."
Augusto appeared to hurt his right hand in the first round while landing a strike to the top of Johnson's head - before stunning his opponent. The 29-year-old winced after the punch and appeared to be in pain later in the fight.
This was Johnson's first bout since he lost a UFC title fight to then-light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in April 2017, shortly before he retired. He announced his return to the sport last summer and signed with Bellator in December.
Johnson scored his first victory since knocking out Glover Teixeira in August 2016 and is now 4-1 in his past five outings.
Augusto, who entered as a relative unknown, was coming off a win over UFC veteran Jonathan Wilson in his Bellator debut last month. He sees his five-fight winning streak end.