While the first half of his 2018 didn’t play out the way that featherweight Georgi Karakhanyan would have liked, he was able to close out the year on the winning side of things.
Following a loss to Henry Corrales at Bellator 192 in January, Karakhanyan rebounded with a win over Alexey Polpudnikov at ACB 86 in May before finishing the year out in November with a no contest versus Timur Nagibin at ACB 90.
“It didn’t start out well because I lost in Bellator and then I got cut, which is a fair shot on their side because I wasn’t performing well,” Karakhanyan told MMAWeekly.com. “I needed to change a lot of things up, and I did and partnered up with The Treigning Lab. I got pushed to a different level.
“I signed with ACB and fought a couple of guys and did well against them.”
Working with a new team at The Treigning Lab, Karakhanyan feels like he’s continuing to evolve his game over 10 years into his career and believes himself to be a much different fighter in 2019 compared to years past.
“I feel like I’m still learning,” said Karakhanyan. “I wake up every day and I’m happy doing what I do. I train, I get beat up, I don’t mind getting hit, and keep evolving.
“I don’t go out. I stay home a lot. I train Monday through Saturday. This is my lifestyle. These next five years are very important for me. I’m going to take it one fight at a time and enjoy every single experience.”
This Friday in Thackerville, Oklahoma, Karakhanyan (28-8-1) steps in on short notice to rematch Emmanuel Sanchez (17-4) in the 145-pound main event of Bellator 218.
“There’s a lot of rematches I want to do in Bellator and this is one of them,” Karakhanyan said. “(Sanchez is) a fighter who comes forward, which is what I like a lot, and I have to break his little habits.
“Our first fight I thought was controversial because I feel like I won the first and third rounds, but you can never leave it to the judges because they can ruin your career. This time I’m going out there and going for a finish. I’m either going to finish him or get finished – I don’t care – I’m going to put everything on the line.”
Never one to seemingly having a conventional year, Karakhanyan is just looking to focus on each fight as it comes and enjoy the opportunities as they come his way in 2019.
“This sport is so crazy, a couple weeks ago I had no home and then I got signed to Bellator and got this call to fight in the main event,” said Karakhanyan. “I’m going to enjoy every second and take it one fight at a time.”