It wasn’t pretty, but the Last Emperor has advanced to the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Given Fedor Emelianenko’s extensive Sambo background, the Russian legend was unusually hesitant to engage on the ground with Chael Sonnen during their Bellator 208 main event fight. That led to a lot of interesting exchanges where Emelianenko would toss, trip, and throw Sonnen to the canvas without following up. Multiple scrambles ended with Fedor disengaging, forcing Chael back to his feet where Fedor hit him with pinpoint bombs and potshots.
To his credit, Sonnen stayed game through the fight, chasing Fedor down and throwing caution to the wind with endless takedown attempts. Even when he managed to land in an advantageous position, though, Fedor would soon reverse or escape.
The end came at 4:46 of round one when Fedor finally followed up with some ground and pound, forcing Sonnen to cover up. Watch the finish here:
The win sets up a final between Fedor and Ryan Bader, who defeated Matt Mitrione on Friday’s Bellator 207 card by dominating (if not very exciting) decision. That fight will go down January 26th at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
For all the highlights and play by play from Bellator 208, click here!