What's the story?
Fedor 'The Last Emperor' Emelianenko secured a first round TKO victory over Chael Sonnen in the main event of Bellator 208. Fedor finished Sonnen with ground and pound strikes with just 4 seconds left in the first round to advance to the Bellator Heavyweight Grand-Prix Final. Fedor will fight Ryan Bader for the Bellator Heavyweight title.
In case you didn't know..
In the second semi-final of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand-Prix, Fedor Emelianenko battled 'The American Gangster' Chael Sonnen for a spot in the tournament's final against Ryan 'Darth' Bader who secured his spot in the final with his dominant win over Matt Mitrione yesterday at Bellator 207.
There was real hype surrounding this heavyweight clash as one of Russia's biggest combat sports stars of all time and arguably the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time, Fedor Emelianenko,with a pro record of 37-5 was set to face the brash American Wrestler and former UFC middleweight and light-heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen.
Fedor vs Sonnen was built up to be one of the marquee fights on Bellator's schedule this year with the match-up being a classic clash of styles as Fedor's legendary striking was pit against Chael Sonnen's All-American calibre wrestling prowess.
The heart of the matter
The heavyweight match-up delivered as promised as Chael Sonnen put the pressure on Fedor from the starting bell of the fight. As promised by Chael and predicted by most, Sonnen charged forward looking to impose his wrestling and pressure based game on the crafty striker.
Sonnen was hit early in the fight but survived and continued to press for takedowns. Sonnen secured a couple takedowns including an explosive slam off the fence. Fedor always got the better of him in the scrambles and was able to escape without taking substantial damage.
Sonnen established control at times but was unable to land any decisive shots. Sonnen attempted a rear naked choke on Fedor, but was shrugged off by the Russian giant.
Finally in the closing moments of the first round, Fedor caught Sonnen with a looping right hand as he was getting up off the canvas to drop Sonnen. Chael was badly hurt and tried to survive and cover up but Emelianenko continued to land big shots on the canvas.
With just 4 seconds left in the round, referee Dan Miragliotta called a stop to the fight and gave the win to Fedor via TKO.
With the victory and his 14th career knockout, Fedor Emelianenko moved one step closer to getting his hands on the Bellator Heavyweight title.
Fedor Emelianenko will meet the Bellator Light-Heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader in the final of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand-Prix with the Bellator Heavyweight title on the line. Fedor has a chance to add another title in his long storied and decorated MMA career with a win over Bader.
On the other hand, Ryan Bader will be looking to become the first Bellator two-weight champion and also defeat the consensus greatest heavyweight of all time. Both Ryan Bader and Fedor Emelianenko have put on remarkable performances in the tournament. Fedor finished Frank Mir earlier in the quarterfinals via first round KO and now he finished Chael Sonnen via another first round KO.
Ryan Bader has looked equally if not more impressive in his recent run at heavyweight. Bader knocked out Muhammad 'King Mo' Lawal earlier in the quarterfinals in just 15 seconds on the first round and yesterday put on another dominant performance against one of the favourites to win the the title, Matt Mitrione.
Fedor Emelianenko faces another strong American wrestler in Ryan Bader. Much like Chael Sonnen, Bader also employs a wrestling and high pressure oriented game plan but unlike Sonnen, Bader is young and in his athletic prime.
With his recent dominant wins in both UFC and Bellator, Ryan Bader has established himself as one of the top Light Heavyweights and Heavyweights in the world. Fedor has his work cut out for him and it would be a very interesting match-up for the fans to see whether the Russian legend can handle the pressure and grit of the American wrestler to become the Bellator Champion or will Ryan Bader cement himself as the king of two weight divisions.Published 14 Oct 2018, 12:15 IST