After his thrilling out-of-nowhere knockout win against Todd Duffee last May, Mike Russow returns to the Octagon on Saturday.
The Chicago police officer broke his arm in the first round, which limited his ability to grab and go for his preferred submissions. But he showed a solid chin, absorbing much punishment from Duffee, a powerful striker.
Then in the middle of the third, he stunned everyone with a one-punch knockout — the first of his career — to earn the win and a $60,000 knockout-of-the-night award. After sitting out the summer mending his broken arm, he returned to the gym in September, happy to be healthy.
“Last year was rough. I had my elbow surgery in December  and then I broke my arm in May, but I’m doing good right now.”
He’ll return to action at “UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis,” taking on former training partner Jon Madsen. Russow and Madsen have trained with former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar at his DeathClutch gym in Alexandria, Minn.
“It’s a bit awkward,” Russow said. “I’ve trained with him recently for ‘‘The Ultimate Fighter’’ show in Vegas. I was out there in Vegas for two weeks. I’ve trained with Jon. It’s a little awkward, but it’s just business.”
The fight, along with four others, will be broadcast on the UFC’s Facebook page (facebook.com/ufc) at 6:30 p.m. before the main card begins at 9 p.m. on Spike.
There certainly will be no surprises between the two heavyweights. They are well aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“I think both of us know what we’re going to do. We’re both good wrestlers. Jon’s more of a counter-striker and ground-and-pound fighter,” Russow said.
Russow (13-1, 1 NC) emphasized improving his cardio in his preparation for the fight against Madsen (7-0). His last fight was the first in which he fought a full three rounds completely standing up.
“My cardio is a lot better than last time,” Russow said. “I also worked on my stand-up, and mentally I’m more focused. I’m more comfortable on my feet.”
With both fighters having a wrestling background — Madsen won an NCAA Division II national championship as a freshman at South Dakota State — Russow thought that neither would have an advantage, and more likely the fight, like his last bout, would remain standing.
“I like Jon. I’ve stayed in the [training] house with him for a week,’’ he said. “It will be tough, but after the fight, everything will be fine.”
Hooks and jabs
In Saturday’s main event, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will face Phil Davis in a light-heavyweight matchup. The Brazilian veteran “Lil Nog” will be a great test for the undefeated, promising Davis. Also on the main card, welterweight Dan Hardy battles Anthony Johnson, and former ‘‘TUF’’ winner Amir Sadollah takes on welterweight DaMarques Johnson.
◆ Tickets are on sale for X-treme Fighting Organization’s next event, XFO 39, which takes place at 7 p.m. May 13 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. Headlining the card are former WEC veteran Jeff Curran vs. Joe Pearson and former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner vs. Tyler Combs. Tickets begin at $25 and are available at www.searscentre.com or by calling 1 (888) SEARS-TIX.