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Bellator 208 live results: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen


Preview by Josh Nason

One night after light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader punched his ticket to the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix finals, Fedor Emelianenko and Chael Sonnen will do battle for the chance to face him for the vacant Bellator heavyweight title in January.

Welcome to our live coverage for Bellator 208 from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, live on Paramount Network and DAZN.

As mentioned, the main event will pit Emelianenko vs. Sonnen against each other in an interesting match-up of styles. Sonnen dominated Rampage Jackson in a decision win to get where while Emelianenko defeated Frank Mir by first round TKO in his first tournament appearance.

Also on the main card, former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson vs. Saad Awad, Cheick Kongo faces Timothy Johnson, former Bellator champion Alexander Shlemenko returns to take on Anatoly Tokov, and Henry Corrales faces Andy Main.

Our coverage begins with the kickoff of the main card at 9 PM Eastern.


First up is a featherweight bout between Henry Corrales (15-3) and Andy Main (12-3-1). Rob Hinds is the referee. 

Main is making his Bellator debut after fighting for Pancrase in Japan. Corrales is a Bellator vet with wins over Georgi Karakhanyan as well as former UFC fighters Noad Lahat and Cody Bollinger. 

Main is the taller fighter and landed a lot of punches and kicks from distance early, while Corrales was having trouble finding his range. Crowd was booing toward the end of the round as both guys seemed reluctant to engage at times. Corrales woke up the crowd with a flurry of punches with about 30 seconds left that may have been enough to steal a close round. Main did rock Corrales with a counter shot right before the bell. 10-9 Corrales

Main had a really nice combo in the first minute, right after Mike Goldberg brought up the fact that he has won 4 of his last 5. Corrales' only pro losses were against 2 former champs and Emmanuel Sanchez, who has the next title shot. Most of the action in the first half of the round took place in the center of the cage until Main got a takedown but Corrales got right up. Both guys were landing leg kicks from distance while also throwing occasional punches. Another close round. 10-9 Main, 19-19

Corrales landed a really nice punch combo a minute into the third that rocked Main. Main having trouble walking around from taking all kinds of damage from leg kicks on his lead leg. Corrales drops Main with a punch combo and then finishes him on the ground with punches. 

Offical result - Henry Corrales (16-3) by KO (punches) at 2:08 of the 3rd round

Corrales has now won 4 straight, including 2 KOs. He put over Main as a tough opponent and his fight camp of MMA Lab, who he gave credit to for his winning streak. Benson Henderson is a teammate and will fight later tonight in the co-main. 

Next up is a battle of Russian middleweights featuring former champion Alexander Shlemenko (57-11) vs Anatoly Tokov (26-3). Shlemenko has been splitting his time between M-1 and Bellator and has just 1 win here in the last 4 years, including losses to Tito Ortiz and Gegard Mousasi. Tokov has won his first 2 Bellator fights, both by stoppage. Dan Miragliotta is the referee for this one. 

Tokov is a teammate of Fedor, who of course fights in the main event tonight. He was on the defensive early as Shlemenko controlled the page, landing punches and kicks. They fought for  control in a cage clinch and Tokov briefly took Shlemenko down. Halfway through the round, Tokov got him down again and held him down a little longer. Tokov controlled his back when standing but Shlemenko eventually got away. Tokov back to the cage clinch and Shlemenko was looking to the ref to break it up but eventually got away himself. Tokov back to the cage clinch with 30 seconds left and held him against the cage for the rest of the round. 10-9 Tokov

John McCarthy agreed with me and scored round 1 for Tokov. Shlemenko looking tired and nailed Tokov with a low blow, which should earn him a little longer to rest. Dan Miragliotta gave him a hard warning. Tokov took him down right after the restart. Shlemenko up quickly but Tokov controlling his back standing. Shlemenko got away and thowing a lot of desparation shots with Tokov landing nice counters. Hulk Hogan had a tweet aired on the broadcast in support of Chael Sonnen and Mike Goldberg put him over, doing a Hulkster impression. Tokov back to the cage clinch and again Shlemenko looking to the ref to break it up. They separated on their own and Tokov looking tired now as well. Tokov took the back standing with about 30 seconds left, landing knees to the legs as the round ends. 10-9 Tokov, 20-18 overall

Herschel Walker and Ryan Bader were both shown cageside. Big John has Tokov up 20-18 as well. Shlemenko with a standing guillotine attempt in the first minute but gives it up quickly. Tokov starting to pick off Shlemenko with punches at will so Shlemenko took it to the cage clinch. Tokov broke away fairly quickly and landing shots from distance. Shlemenko looking very tired but does get a flash takedown halfway through the round. Tokov takes the back standing with 90 seconds left. Tokov gets a takedown but Shlemenko up quickly. Tokov hangs onto the back. Tokov took him down a couple more times but Shlemenko kept getting up with Tokov still on his back. Tokov with knees to the head and body as the round ends. 10-9 Tokov, 30-27 overall

Official result - Anatoly Tokov (27-3) by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)

They officially announced a second card in Hawaii on December 14th on Paramount the night before the DAZN card on the 15th. Announced fights are Brent Primus defending his lightweight title against former champ Michael Chandler on the Friday and Hawaiian Ilema-Lei MacFarlane defending the women's flyweight belt against Valerie Letourneau on the 15th. Also on the Saturday card are Lyoto Machida making his Bellator debut against Rafael Carvalho and a first round match in the welterweight Grand Prix between Neiman Gracie and Ed Ruth. 

Speaking of the welterweight tourney, 50 Cent was show cageside. He has committed a 1 million dollar prize to the winner of the Grand Prix. Douglas Lima, who has already advanced to round 2 was interviewed at the desk by Jenn Brown, Frank Mir and Josh Thomson but didn't really have anything of importance to say. 

Heavyweights Cheick Kongo (28-10-2) and Timothy Johnson (12-4) are next up. Kongo is one of only two fighters to have picked up at least 10 wins in both Bellator and UFC. Johnson is making his Bellator debut after going 3-3 in UFC. They share a common former opponent in former Bellator champ Alexander Volkov. Kongo beat him by decision in 2015 while Johnson lost via split decision last year. An interesting note is that Kongo is higher ranked at heavyweight according to than 6 of the 8 fighters in the Grand Prix but didn't get a spot in that tourney despite 6 straight wins in Bellator. 

Todd Anderson gets the officiating duties for this one. Both guys keeping their distance early. Johnson moves in to clinch on the cage but Kongo takes him down and finishes him quickly with punches on the ground. 

Official result - Cheick Kongo (29-10-2) by TKO (punches) at 1:08

That's two straight first-round finishes for Kongo. Kongo, in his post-fight interview asked for Bellator to bring a card to France. Kongo asked for a fight with the winner of the tournament and even said he could fight in a few weeks if needed to. He said he's still going strong at age 43 and is drug-free. 

Former UFC and WEC champion Benson Henderson (25-8) takes on Saad Awad (23-9) in a lightweight bout next. Rob Hinds gets the reffing duties. Saad Awad ties Alexander Shlemenko for 3rd all-time in fights with 18th here tonight. 

Both guys throwing mainly kicks early. Henderson looks to be giving up size to Awad, who has fought at welterweight in the past. Awad with a standing guillotine after Henderson moved in for a takedown. Henderson completes the takedown and escapes the guillotine. Henderson takes the back with 2 minutes left and secures a body lock. Awad escapes and ends up in top position with a minute left. Awad with a D'Arce choke attempt. Henderson escapes and lands punches and elbows. Henderson takes the back again and working for a rear naked choke. Awad escapes and throwing upkicks after Henderson stands up. 10-9 Henderson

Awad pushing the pace early in round 2. Henderson with a takedown 90 seconds in but Awad reverses and ends up on top. Awad with a guillotine but loses position and Henderson escapes and ends up on top. Awad to his feet but Henderson controls his back and drags him down again. Awad escapes and to his feet but Henderson takes him down again. Henderson takes the back and landing punches and knees to the body with a minute left. Henderson landing elbows and punches to the head while setting up a head and arm choke. He secures it with 15 seconds left but the bell saves Awad. 10-9 Henderson, 20-18 overall. Almost a 10-8 round but not quite

McCarthy has it 20-18 as well. Awad sprawls out of a takedown attempt early and lands a nice knee to the head that rocks Henderson. He lands a takedown shortly after that but Awad landing punches to the head while Henderson is just trying to maintain position. Henderson takes the back and landing punches to the head. Ref breaks it up because Henderson was grabbing the cage and told him he'd take a point if it happened again. Awad defends a couple of takedown attempts but Henderson ends up trapping him in a cage clinch. Awad knocks down Henderson with a punch but he gets right up and takes Awad down with 90 seconds left. Henderson with an arm triangle attempt with 30 seconds left. Awad gives up his back. Henderson with a rear naked choke but time runs out. 10-9 Henderson, 30-27 overall

Official result - Benson Henderson (26-8) by unanimous decision (30-27; 30-26 x 2)

Henderson cut a promo calling out fighters who act like morons and then say they were just building up a fight, obviously referring to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Crowd did not like this at all and booed him pretty noticeably. 

Ryan Bader was interviewed cageside by Mike Goldberg and John McCarthy. Bader joked that he hasn't been hit yet in the tournament and the only damage he's taken is mat-burn on his knees. He seemed to indicate that Chael Sonnen might be a tougher matchup for him but did admit that Fedor's power worries him. He thinks that for his legacy, he'd rather fight Fedor in the finals. 

Main event time. Fedor Emelianenko (37-5) vs Chael Sonnen (30-15-1) in the semi-finals of the Bellator heavyweight Grand Prix. Winner faces Ryan Bader in early 2019 to determine the winner and new Bellator heavyweight champion. Dan Miragliotta is the ref. 

They didn't touch gloves at first but Miragliotta asked again and they did. Fedpr knocked Chael down with the first punch of the fight but let him up. Chael goes down again from a shot but again Fedor lets him up. It seems to be on purpose to get Fedor to the ground. Chael takes him down but Fedor reverses into top position. This is all in the first minute. Fedor to his fet and sonnen shoots for a takedown but gets stuffed easily. Sonnen gets a takedown  and takes Fedor's back but Fedor shakes him off. Fedor all over Sonnen with punches but he weathers it. Fedor into side control at the 2 minute mark. Sonnen to his feet at 2:30. Fedor ducking away from Chael's punches, which are coming in slow. Sonnen gets a takedown at 3:00. USA chants from the crowd even though they were cheering Fedor during the intros. Chael just laying on Fedor and ref warns him to work. Fedor landing body punches. Chael into mount but Fedor immediately reverses and gets to his feet. Chael misses a takedown and Fedor lands some heavy punches and back into top position. Fedor all over him with punches and the ref stops it since Sonnen wasn't fighting back. 

Official result - Fedor Emelianenko (38-5) by TKO (punches) at 4:46

Fedor says Ryan Bader's a great fighter and a serious opponent for him. 

Chael was interviewed as well and said that everything Fedor did hurt him and that he thinks that he and Bader will be a great fight. 

Bader and Fedor squared off in a pose and then shook hands. 

Amazingly, every scheduled match in this tourney took place and the finals are set for LA on January 26th.