At 42 years of age, Fedor Emelianenko is about to compete for another heavyweight championship.
On Saturday night in New York, “The Last Emperor” put away Chael Sonnen with a first round TKO to move into the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.
The former PRIDE champion was the last true heavyweight remaining in the tournament after Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader dominated Matt Mitrione to punch his ticket to the finals just one day ago.
It was a strong showing from Emelianenko as he dropped Sonnen during an early exchange with a monstrous left hand that sent the former UFC title contender crashing to the canvas.
In his prime, Emelianenko would have likely jumped down to the ground and finished the fight with his signature punching power but this time around he allowed Sonnen to get back to his feet again and again.
Sonnen did manage to wrestle Emelinaneko to the mat thanks to his relentless takedown attempts but he couldn’t manage to keep the Russian down for very long.
As time ticked away, Emelianenko appeared to be showing some signs of a wavering gas tank but the was still throwing punches like sledgehammers coming down at Sonnen’s head.
Finally after a scramble on the mat, Emelianenko emerged on top and he began blasting away at Sonnen with punches. “The American Gangster” couldn’t muster any defense to get out of the bad position other than covering up and eating a barrage of shots from Emelianenko.
Finally at 4:46 into the opening round, the referee swooped into stop the contest as Emelianenko got the win to move onto the finals of the Grand Prix tournament.
Emelianenko has now earned two first round TKO wins over Sonnen and Frank Mir to earn his spot in the finals where he will face Bader on Jan. 26 in Los Angeles with the winner being crowned Bellator heavyweight champion.
Here are the full results from Bellator 208 on Saturday night:
BELLATOR 208 MAIN CARD
Benson Henderson def. Saad Awad by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Cheick Kongo def. Timothy Johnson by KO (punches) at 1:08 of R1
Anatoly Tokov def. Alexander Shlemenko by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Henry Corrales def. Andy Main by KO (punches) at 2:08 of R3
Jennifer Chieng def. Jessica Ruiz by TKO (punches) at 1:22 of R1
David Meshkhoradze def. Shaquan Moore by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Tommy Espinosa def. Sukhrob Aydarbekov by submission (armbar) at 1:27 of R1
Nick Fiore def. Jerome Mickle by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jeremy Puglia def. Eric Olsen by TKO (punches) at 3:16 of R1
Dennis Buzukja def. Ryan Castro by KO (punches) at 2:53 of R1
Andrews Rodriguez def. Mike Diorio by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Zarrukh Adashev def. Christian Medina by TKO (strikes) at 1:08 of R1