NEW YORK — For the second weekend in a row, the main event of the biggest Saturday night mixed martial arts card in the world will see an outspoken, trash-talking antagonist against a proud, decorated Russian fighter.
Just don’t expect a repeat of the controversial brawl that followed last week’s Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov bout when Bellator 208 airs live this week on the Paramount Network from Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum.
It will be the brash Chael Sonnen meeting the distinguished Fedor Emelianenko in a semifinal bout in Bellator’s Heavyweight World Grand Prix.
And while the Bellator combatants may share some traits with their contemporaries in the UFC, one difference was clear Thursday at the news conference at their parent company Viacom’s headquarters in Times Square: It did not appear that “The Last Emperor” was fazed by the frequent barbs from “The American Gangster.”
Not that Sonnen didn’t try.
See photos below from Bellator’s last visit to New York in June 2017, where Sonnen and Emelianenko both competed.
He mocked Emelianenko for having nothing to say at the news conference, as well as for his burly heavyweight physique.
“I agree that my body is not a bodybuilder’s body,” Emelianenko said through an interpreter. “In this case, he is right, but in the cage, there are different measurements.”
Asked if his English is good enough to understand everything that Sonnen had said, Emelianenko said, “I understand everything. There is no necessity for someone to translate that for me.”
“Well allow me to then,” Sonnen interjected. “Everybody wants to know what Fedor is thinking. I can promise you guys he’s up here thinking the same you’d be thinking, which is, ‘Why in God’s name did I get on the wrong side of Chael Sonnen?’ “
Despite Sonnen’s quips, there was little sign Thursday of any similar tension to what spilled over between McGregor and Nurmagomedov last week. The fighters even shook hands prior to their square-off following the media event. Watch a video of their square-off at the top of this page.
It means Bellator President Scott Coker likely does not have to worry about another melee at an MMA event – something he too experienced years ago when running the now-defunct Strikeforce promotion.
“To me, it was a black eye for the industry,” Coker said when asked about the ugly scene at last week’s UFC 229 event. “It’s up to all of us to pick it up and make sure nothing like that every happens again.”
So, if there won’t be the chaos of another postfight brawl, what can the MMA fans that make the trip to Long Island or tune in on Paramount Network expect out of this main event? Sonnen (31-15-1) wasn’t shy about sharing his game plan for combating Emelianenko (37-5, 1 no contest).
“My plan is the same every single time,” Sonnen said. “I’ve been at this sport for a long time. I love to develop a new skill, and I feel like I am still developing and learning, but when I go in there, I go to Plan A every time.
“The second they say ‘Fight!’ I’m going to come across that ring and get in a fight with Fedor. I am going to threaten and dare him the entire time to get him to swing that right hand, and the second he does, I’m going to come underneath him, put him on his ass against the fence and beat a hole into his face for 15 minutes or until he gives up.
“He can know that game plan. That’s my game plan. He may knock me out with one of those right hands. I’ve never dealt with power like I’m going to have to deal with from Fedor, but if I can get to him, it’s going to be a long and annoying fight for him.
“And if he can get to me, it’s going to be a short and embarrassing night for me.”
Steve Feitl: email@example.com; Twitter: @SteveFeitl
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen
Benson Henderson vs. Saad Awad
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Anatoly Tokov
Cheick Kongo vs. Timothy Johnson
Henry Corrales vs. Andy Main
Time: Main card begins at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 (Prelims begin at 6:30 p.m.)
Place: NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.
Tickets: Starting at $65.50 via Ticketmaster
TV: Paramount Network (Streaming on DAZN)
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Source : https://www.app.com/story/sports/2018/10/12/bellator-208-fedor-emelianenko-chael-sonnen-long-island/1604242002/