LIVE BELLATOR 218 REPORT: Real-time results & analysis of Sanchez-Karakhanyan II, Linton Vassell heavyweight debut

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Bellator 218

Bellator 218
March 21, 2019
Thackerville, OK from WinStar World Casino and Resort
Live on Paramount Network and DAZN (9 PM ET)

Prelim Quick Results

Thanks to MMAJunkie

Deborah Kouzmin def. Ky Bennett via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Johnny Eblen def. Chauncey Foxworth via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
John Teixeira def. Kevin Croom via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 30-26)
Jordan Newman def. Joseph Holmes via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Vladimir Tokov def. Ryan Walker via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Victoria Leonardo def. Malin Hermansson via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 4:49

Main Card

(1) Norbert Novenyi Jr. vs. Will Lavine (Middleweight)

ROUND ONE: Novenyi has a very odd stance he’s using but it’s been fairly effective. It’s like a karate stance by he swings his lead hand back and forth. He got the fight to the ground and took Lavine’s back He ended up in his guard and Novenyi landed some big hammer fists until Lavine got up and worked for a takedown of his own. Novenyi transitioned that into a standing guillotine. He held on and they went to the mat but he lost the guillotine. Novenyi had full control though. Novenyi landed a German suplex and worked for a rear-naked choke. Lavine got up but got caught with an upkick and then a heel hook attempt. The round ended with Novenyi on top. 10-9 Novenyi

ROUND TWO: Lavine just wanted to stand and bang but Novenyi hurt him with a spinning back elbow so Lavine went back in for the takedown. Novenyi took him down and landed a few punches before taking his back. Novenyi landed punches from behind while Lavine tried to cover up but wasn’t fighting back. Novenyi worked for a choke. He eventually got a head and arm choke. Lavine eventually tapped.

Result: Novenyi by submission at 4:05 of round two

Analysis: God bless Will Lavine. He tried hard, but he just doesn’t seem like a very good fighter. Novenyi was better but a quality middleweight would have finished Lavine in seconds. 

(2) Anatoly Tokov vs. Gerald Harris (Middleweight)

ROUND ONE: Harris was on the Rampage-Forrest Griffin season of TUF and then won his first three UFC fights before getting cut after a loss at UFC 123. One of those wins was over David Branch. Harris came out with his lead hand very low. Tokov connected a couple of times early on. Harris threw this big overhand left that landed right on the button and dropped Tokov out of nowhere. A lot of refs would have stopped the fight the way he went down. He did recover though and clinched with Harris to get his bearings back. Tokov then took him to the ground briefly. Tokov then got a trip takedown and landed some punches on the ground. 10-9 Harris.

ROUND TWO: Harris went for that punch again early on. Tokov landed a few and then grabbed Harris’ neck and just like that Harris tapped out.

Result: Tokov by submission at 0:37 of round two

Analysis: Great recovery there by Tokov after getting rocked hard in the first. Outside of that one punch, Tokov was really winning most exchanges so it’s a well-deserved win. Tokov showed good awareness in finding that choke so quickly after hurting Harris with a couple of standing punches. 

(3) Valentin Moldavsky vs. Linton Vassell (Heavyweight)

ROUND ONE: Vassell looks huge and right at home at heavyweight. Moldavsky caught a kick and threw a hard right. He connected with another right hand soon after and Vassell shot in for a takedown. He got him down and worked to posture up from half guard. As he tried to pass to mount, Moldavsky flipped him over and they stood up. Vassell scored another takedown. Moldavsky had a good squeeze on him and Vassell couldn’t get past half guard. 10-9 Vassell.

ROUND TWO: Moldavsky dropped him with a right hand early on. He lost a scramble and Vassell ended up on top, in Moldavsky’s guard. They stood up and Vassell just took him down again. Moldavsky reversed and ended up on top. He landed a few punches but nothing big. He then was able to get an arm triangle but Vassell was able to defend it well. 10-9 Moldavsky

ROUND THREE: Moldavsky took him down right away. He landed some punches with Vassell lying on his side. Vassell seemed too tired to be able to get up and just ate punches on the ground. Moldavsky worked for the arm triangle again. With a minute left, Moldavsky postured up and started unloading on him. Not enough to get the stoppage but enough to solidify the round for him for sure. 10-8 Moldavsky, 29-27 Moldavsky.

Result: 29-27 x 3 Moldavsky by unanimous decision

Analysis: I agree with that scorecard. Vassell simply got tired in the second half of that fight and had no answer the pressure Moldavsky was putting on. Good showing for Moldavsky in an always fluid Bellator heavyweight division. 


(4) Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (Featherweight)

ROUND ONE: Karakhanyan countered a leg kick with a left hook right away. They were traded punches in the center of the cage. Karakhanyan went in low for a takedown. He completed it while Sanchez worked for a triangle. Karakhanyan landed some punches from guard while Sanchez threw elbows from the bottom and worked to get the triangle choke. More of the same as the round ended. 10-9 Karakhanyan.

ROUND TWO: Karakhanyan went for the takedown immediately and he got it. Sanchez had his back to the cage and tried to stand up. He was able to shift positions and be on top of Karakhanyan who had ahold of his leg. Referee Jason Herzog stood them up. Sanchez got a takedown of his own. Sanchez had his back and threw punches while waiting for the opening for a rear naked choke. He rolled onto his back. Karakhanyan was controlling Sanchez’s hands. Sanchez got a hand free. Karakhanyan did a good job of protecting his neck. Sanchez landed some big hammer fists from behind. 10-9 Sanchez, 19-19.

ROUND THREE: Sanchez stuffed an early takedown attempt. Karakhanyan kept working for the takedown for the first two minutes of the round. He had Sanchez on his butt. Sanchez kept working to get up. They were at a bit of a stalemate so the ref stood them up. Karakhanyan went for a takedown that Sanchez initially stopped but he eventually completed. Karakhanyan had his back on the ground. Sanchez sat up and turned in to gain top position. He landed some punches including a big left after standing up momentarily. He threw some big hammer fists and Karakhanyan stuck his tongue out to mock him. Sanchez went for a kimura as the fight ended. 10-9 Sanchez, 29-28.

Result: 29-28 x 3 Sanchez by unanimous decision

Analysis: That fight was mostly contested on the ground so it wasn’t too exciting but it had its moments. Karakhanyan’s takedown pressure was good, but Sanchez worked hard from the bottom and was able to reverse position and get some takedowns of his own to take the fight. Sanchez also took better advantage of the time he had on top than Karakhanyan did. Sanchez is still one of the better featherweights outside of UFC. It’s probably too soon for another Bellator title shot for him, but still a good showing. 


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