The usually boisterous Chael Sonnen was a bit tame in his Bellator 208 main event with Fedor Emelianenko. And “The Bad Guy” also displayed a more subdued side following the fight.
Sonnen didn’t make it out of the first round against Emelianenko but did have his moments, albeit briefly. Sonnen added some insight as to what he believed went wrong inside the cage during the post-fight press conference.
Where Sonnen Went Wrong
“I would call him explosive,” Sonnen told the media when asked to assess Emelianenko’s skills inside the cage. “With his punches, there wasn’t a ton of set-ups, they just came and they came hard. Even on the ground, I had some good positions on him and he would just explode. It weren’t exactly technique-based. It was impressive. He’s an impressive athlete.”
Despite being dropped in the first 60 seconds of the fight, Sonnen regained his composer. “The American Gangster” looked to be fairing well but then inexplicably dove over Emelianenko thus losing position.
“The dive roll, I was going to lose that position anyway,” said Sonnen. “I was falling over the top so I tried to tuck his chin and go. I used to do that move all of the time in college and I always got it. But I missed it tonight. I rolled right over.”
Fedor would capitalize on Sonnen’s mistake and make him pay. “The Last Emperor” went vintage Pride Fighting Championship on West Lins bad boy. Battering Sonnen with a flurry of punches forcing the referee to stop the fight.
How Hard Does Fedor Hit?
“I don’t think I’ve ever been ground-and-pounded like that,” Sonnen said. “I thought there was opportunity there, I was covering up and I thought that he was slowing down. The referee warned me — he said, ‘If you don’t move I am going to stop this.’ But I didn’t think he would because they were going into my hands. I thought I was blocking them, I thought I was having a rope-a-dope moment. I thought I was luring him in. That was a bad strategy it turns out. That was a bad plan.”
Emelianenko will move on to face Ryan Bader in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.
As for Sonnen, his future is a little less certain. That’s not to say he doesn’t have options. If he has it his way, Sonnen would prefer a return to his more natural fighting weight of 205 pounds.
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“We’ll see what happens,” said Sonnen. “If they want to do a losers ball and play this thing all the way out to third [place] then maybe we do that. But I don’t know. That’s up to (Bellator president) Scott Coker. If you ask me what weight class I’d rather be in, I’d say 205 is more appropriate.”