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Bellator 208 results, highlights and interviews for ‘Fedor vs Sonnen’

Fedor Emelianenko Esther Lin

Bellator 208: “Fedor vs. Sonnen” took place last night (Sat., Oct. 13, 2018) at NYCB Live in Uniondale, New York. The Heavyweight Grand Prix continued as Fedor Emelianenko (37-5, 1 NC) went head to head with Chael Sonnen (31-15-1) to fill out the second half of the tournament finals.

Sonnen rushed to the center of the cage and tasted Emelianenko’s power immediately. Fedor chose not to play the ground game, let him back up, and put him right back down again. At first it seemed like this pattern would play itself out to a finish, but Sonnen was actually able to recover and start chaining together takedowns, but Emelianenko swept to the top with a minute left and let Sonnen stand back up. Another right put Sonnen down and left hands on the ground let to a TKO at 4:46.

“The Last Emperor” and his translator talked to John McCarthy afterward:

“Chael worked very hard and it shows that he did prepare very well. Thank God I’m not tired and still can be working. (How does he feel about Bader?) He is a great and very strong fighter. I can see that he’s a very great and very serious opponent.”

Sonnen also got some interview time and talked about Emelianenko’s power:

“He hurt me early. Everything he did hurt. Everything had bad intentions. I was kind of drowning out there. He was very fast, very powerful. Looked like he did on TV, but I could feel it. I had his chin tucked and I thought I could roll him. Oh, those punches hurt. Can you tell they hurt John? Him and Bader is going to be a good fight.”

More Russian fighters could be found on this card as the experienced Alexander Shlemenko (56-11, 1 NC) faced rising star Anatoly Tokov (26-2).

Shlemenko’s strategy was to land a spinning SOMETHING. He tried the backfist, he tried the elbow, but nothing ever landed clean enough to rock Tokov. Tokov out struck his foe throughout round one and also got a takedown for good measure to take a 10-9. Here’s a little highlight of Shlemenko trying to spin his way to a win.

The second round saw Shlemenko land a kick straight up and down to the groin that got Tokov an injury time out and a translator enter the cage to confirm he was okay to continue. Once he signaled he was ready he continued to do more damage on the feet and avoid the whirling dervish of Shlemenko’s attacks to take another round.

Third verse, same as the second and first. Tokov continued to work harder and land more punches in bunches, while Shlemenko would charge forward trying to land a home run and miss wildly. To add insult to injury Tokov took him down multiple times in R3, dragging him down every time he’d get to his feet. This iced a 30-27 X3 unanimous decision for Tokov.

Tokov’s translator hit the cage for the interview with John McCarthy.

“I feel calmness right now. Well I still can not believe it and actually I can not make the opinion on (my win). It’s a big honor for me. I respect Alexander a lot. I grew up on his fights.”

A pivotal Lightweight division match-up found the resurgent Benson Henderson (25-8) against the streaking knockout artist Saad Awad (23-9).

Awad was landing more shots on the feet early, but Henderson got a takedown and spent the majority of the round fishing for submissions and looking for ground and pound. He got away with putting his fingers inside of Awad’s glove though — referee Rob Hinds completely blew the call.

In the second round Henderson dominated with his wrestling technique and almost tapped Awad out with a head and arm choke but Awad was saved by the bell. The third was less dominant but largely similar other than one knockdown punch when Henderson threw a leg kick.

Ultimately the judges returned a verdict of 30-27, 30-26 X2 all favoring “Smooth” Benson Henderson. Instead of talking about his fight with Saad Awad, Henderson seemed to be taking shots at Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“For me guys, it doesn’t matter what you do. You can be a cameraman, a fighter, a reporter. It’s all about how you act. ‘Oh, this guy talked bad, so I jumped off the cage.’ How are you going to explain that to your kids? ‘This kid said something bad to me at school.’ What are you going to say, ‘Go beat him up?’ No!!”

Former UFC star Timothy Johnson (12-4) got his shot against the streaking Cheick Kongo (28-10-2) looking for his seventh win in a row.

Kongo found it 1:08 into the first round when Johnson shot to avoid Kongo’s prodigious punching power, but wound up underneath him taking left hands that caused Todd Anderson to step in for the KO.

Kongo and his translator Tiki Ghosn spoke to “Big” John McCarthy about another first round finish in the Bellator cage.

“First I would like to thank the nation of France for being behind me, my coaches and training partners for this match, I can’t wait to bring Bellator MMA to France. Seven wins right? Guys you know I’m coming. I’m here, at 43 years old, and natural no juice no drugs. See you in competition guys and thank you for the support.”

Rounding out the main card were Featherweight fighters including Bellator veteran Henry Corrales (15-3) and newcomer Andy Main (12-3-1, 1 NC).

Even though Main had a size advantage on paper, that advantage never emerged at any point during the fight. Even when he could tag Corrales, he’d walk through it and land a harder shot in return. The only thing Main did that was .gif worthy was a leg trip takedown that only kept Corrales down for a second in R2.

Corrales spent two straight rounds chewing up Main’s right leg with kicks to the point he could barely stand on it in R3, then dropped Main with the left hook he’d been using the whole fight and quickly hammered out a stoppage with rights on the ground. The time of the knockout was 2:08. Corrales spoke to “Big” John McCarthy afterward.

“I prepared very hard for this fight. I was ready to finish him in the first round but he had other plans. He made me really {*expletive*} work, that’s for sure. That’s four straight now since joining the MMA Lab in Phoenix, Arizona. I’m operating on a different frequency and coming after all these other Featherweights, that’s for sure. We’re going to bring the belt back to that place.”

For complete Bellator 208 results and coverage click here.

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