Bellator 218 Sanchez vs. Karakhanyan 2: Night at the Fights (live updated)
THACKERVILLE, OK- Friday night I will have my boots on the ground once again as I will be heading to Winstar World Casino for a third time covering Bellator MMA. For a fight card that was stitched together in a few weeks time (I was worried it might get canceled) we’re actually getting a pretty decent fight card. Rarley in sports does a fight get better when a fighter pulls out of a fight and is replaced. That is exactly what happened with the main event tonight. Emmanuel Sanchez was expected to face relatively unknown Englishman Ashleigh Grimshaw (20-10) up until about a month ago when Grimshaw pulled out citing an unknown injury. Filling in for the Brit is a man pretty well known to the MMA community- Georgie Karakhanyan makes his third return to the Bellator promotion after leaving for his native Russia where he fought under the Absolute Championship Berkut banner (ACB, now ACA) twice last year going 1-0-1. Drawing him back to America is a massive opportunity against a familiar foe. Emmanuel Sanchez is coming off of his first shot at a world championship where he came up short in five-round decision loss to featherweight kingpin Patricio Pitbull. Before that, Sanchez went on a impressive four-fight win streak that featured wins over UFC veteran Sam Sicillia, former bellator featherweight champion Daniel Strauss, former bellator bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao, and the aforementioned Georgie Karakhanyan in what was a tough three-round split decision win for the younger Emmanuel Sanchez. Georgie has nothing to lose at this point and that has tended to be when he’s at his best- with his back against the wall. (I.e.) the Bubba Jenkins fights. Emmanuel Sanchez has everything to prove as he is often rated as one of the premier talents in the pool of great featherweights’ Bellator has. A spot in the Bellator Featherweight Gran Prix kicking off later this year hangs in balance for the winner of this fight, that’s high stakes at the Winstar World Casino.
The rest of the main card has a very eastern European flair to it as Russians Valetin Moldavsky, and Anatoly Tokov invade southern Oklahoma against fellow established names Linton Vessel of England and Gerald Harris out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Undefeated Hungarian middleweight Norbert Novenyi (4-0) will open the main card, admittedly I don’t know very much about him outside of his father being an outstanding Greco-Roman Olympic gold medalist in the 80′s and him winning impressively in his Bellator debut last year via first round submission.
Also on the fight card is a bluechip prospect Johnny Elben, a University of Missouri standout wrestler- Elben who has an undefeated record of (4-0) with all wins coming by way of stoppage will make his Bellator debut on the prelims and many “in the know” have a keen interest in how he looks in the cage later on tonight.
*The following is live updated results and notes from the card starting at 5:45 local time, refresh your browser for the newest updates*