Bellator 208 brought an end to the semifinals of the heavyweight grand prix, as Chael Sonnen and Fedor Emelianenko went at it to to determine who would face Ryan Bader for the vacant title early next year.
Emelianenko came out on top in Saturday’s main event at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., as he defeated Chael Sonnen by technical knockout 4:46 into the first round. The Russian dropped Sonnen early and survived a potential submission attempt before eventually overwhelming the American with punches on the ground.
Sonnen is known for his promotional skills ahead of fights and this one was no exception. “The American Gangster” played on the USA vs Russia angle as he was promoting the fight, even doing a promo video dressed like Apollo Creed.
Although the lead up to the fight had the usual promotional angle, the aftermath of the fight saw the two fighters exchange pleasantries backstage. Sonnen told Emelianenko’s trainer that he was a “great coach” and complimented “The Last Emperor” on his KO power.
Emelianenko would ultimately end up giving Sonnen a shirt and a “Team Fedor” track suit. Sonnen responded with surprise, asking, “For me?” The two men would hug it out before Sonnen told his opponent, “I owe you one.”
With Bellator 208 now in the books, Fedor improves his Bellator record to 2-1 with two wins in a row. The Russian started the tournament with a quick first round finish over former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir.
Fedor will meet Bader in the finals of the heavyweight grand prix at the Forum in Los Angeles on Jan. 26.