Bellator just held two days of events featuring decisive fights for its heavyweight GP, which will pay its champion the sum of a million dollars. This Saturday, the most highly anticipated semifinal match took place.
On one side, the Russian legend Fedor Emelianeko, at 42 years of age. On the other, the “American Gangster” Chael Sonnen, who convincingly earned his spot in the semis. They headlined Bellator 208 in a brief bout that ended in round 1 due to a slip by Sonnen.
Emelianeko was superior in the early striking portion. In the subsequent wrestling portion, however, Sonnen did better and took the Russian down. Using his brown-belt-level jiu-jitsu — sharpened by Fabiano “Pega-Leve” — Sonnen reached Emelianeko’s back, and that was when a transition mistake cost the American the win.
With control over his opponent’s back, Sonnen attempted a flashy transition to get Emelianeko off of the all-fours position — a roll designed to pull the Russian up, like Checkmat leader Leo Vieira used to do in tournaments. After the transition went awry, Emelianeko got on top and started a reaction that culminated in a round-1 technical knockout.
Emelianeko will now face Ryan Bader — who beat Matt Mitrione at Bellator 207 last Friday — in a duel slated for January 2019. Watch the video below for the best plays of Emelianeko vs. Sonnen.
(Video by Bellator. All rights reserved.)