Bellator 192: “Lima vs. MacDonald” comes to The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., this Saturday night (Jan. 20, 2018), featuring a Welterweight title defense for Douglas Lima, who will collide with “Red King” Rory MacDonald, as well as a Heavyweight Grand Prix match between Chael Sonnen and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
The first Bellator MMA show of 2018 is also the first event on the newly-christened Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV) and will simulcast on CMT. And the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion has made sure to top-load the televised main card with talented fighters in important divisional match-ups for both channels.
One such match pits “Insane” Georgi Karakhanyan (28-7-1) against Henry Corrales (14-3) in a battle of Featherweight contenders. A win for Karakhanyan would be his fourth in his last five outings, while a win for Corrales would be his third straight in a row. Both men will need an impressive win to increase their standing for a shot at current champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. For Karakhanyan, specifically, it would be redemption to re-earn the shot at Freire he lost because of an injury back in 2015.
MMAmania.com recently spoke with Karakhanyan ahead of his Bellator 192 showdown with Corrales this weekend.
“Every fight is important to me. I treat the fight really serious, and like this fight (is) no better than any other fight. The card is on Spike, (now) the Paramount Network, so I’m ready to be on such a great card with such cool fighters.”
One would expect Karakhanyan to take it seriously if he has title aspirations, but during our chat he revealed this is the last fight of his current contract, so a win here is also negotiating leverage.
“On January 20th if I win impressively, then uhh ... you know. It’s my last fight with Bellator, my last fight on the contract, and I haven’t heard about any news about me negotiating (with them) or anything so I’m gonna put on a good fight. Let’s see what happens after that.”
At that moment I felt like a miner with a pick axe in his hand who sees a shiny bit of metal reflecting light on the cave wall — I had to dig deeper. Does Karakhanyan want to stay?
“I’m gonna leave all that to my management. I’m just focused on the fight, and I’m just going put all the trust in my management and see what we can get. But, I do have some stuff left in Bellator that is in the back of my head. As of now I got Henry Corrales so I’m just gonna train really hard and keep all my focus on this performance.”
It seems Karakhanyan is hinting he has “unfinished business” that might include getting back his title shot at Patricio Freire. The timing would be apt given Freire lost the belt after their original match was scratched, but recently won it back from the man he lost it to.
“I also have Emmanuel Sanchez (to revenge), but (with Freire) I didn’t get that chance (to fight). Right now I’m a fighter so I just have to focus. All my focus is on this fight so whatever happens after that happens.”
We’ll talk more about “El Matador” in a minute, but since Karakhanyan is so focused on Corrales I wanted to get his thoughts on an opponent he previously shared a fight card with in New York.
“I think as a fighter he’s good. He fought on the same card as me (in Verona) at Bellator 182. I kinda knew that if we both won we were gonna finally face each other. He’s a well rounded fighter, he’s dangerous, and in all my fights I like to keep it standing (so) it’ll be a good war.”
On paper they are very evenly matched, both standing 5’8” with a 68-inch reach for Karakhanyan and 69-inch for Corrales, although in overall number of fights Karakhanyan has the experience edge. Both fighters also train in California, but Karakhanyan is confident the fans will support him.
“It’s great man. I fought there last year, and The Forum is a very historic place, and it’s a good feeling that it’s only like an hour and a half away from me. As long as we’re fighting, as long as I have a date, that’s all that matters. I mean it’s cool it’s close by but those things don’t matter to me, I just focus on the fight. Bellator gave me the (pre-sale) code so all my fans and all my friends that ask me about the tickets they can get ‘em online. I’m going to have a lot of family members and friends over there for sure.”
And that of course leads us back to Emmanuel Sanchez, who Karakhanyan lost a majority decision to at The Forum at Bellator 170. If Bellator can keep him around, he wants that rematch ... bad.
“I wasn’t happy with my performance with Sanchez. When I go out to fight, I want to be explosive. I feel like you know what? Yeah, he beat me fair, but it is that like one of those feelings that is just, messed up, and I’m frustrated. But he beat Galvao, he beat Straus, and he deserves a title shot so ... good for him.”
I can’t help but feel that’s a little bit sarcastic, but Karakhanyan definitely doesn’t mince his words when it comes to the Heavyweight Grand Prix match between Sonnen and Jackson on this card.
“Oh man, I can’t believe you asked about that fight. They’re both just fighting for the money. I would say ... the referee wins this fight. Chael does really good at talking man, but it’s fucking getting too old. You gotta fucking back it up. I’m tired of this shit. I’ll be the only one to say this — I don’t care about this match.”
It’s probably a good thing that it’s not an Openweight Grand Prix, but that’s why Karakhanyan is “Insane” — he’d take that fight. And on Saturday night he’ll try to take Henry Corrales.
Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Lima vs. MacDonald” resides here at MMAmania.com all week long.
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