Heading into his bout this past August against Bubba Jenkins at Bellator 160, veteran Georgi Karakhanyan knew he not only had to win, but he had to do so impressively, should he want to stay with the promotion.
Luckily for Karakhanyan, he was able to pick up a 53-second TKO win over Jenkins, and secure a continued run in Bellator.
“For me, it was I had to win,” Karakhanyan told MMAWeekly.com. “I was willing to win a three-round decision, but my main goal was to impress Bellator because it was the last fight on my contract, and I knew if I lost, I’m pretty sure they would cut me.
“It was a good pressure moment for me; going through that pressure and overcoming it. I know people say they stopped the fight pretty quickly, and I would have enjoyed punching him a little longer, but it’s not right. The ref did a good job stopping the fight.”
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After getting back on track in August, Karakhanyan (25-6-1) returns in Tel Aviv, Israel, to take Kirill Medvedovski (7-3) in a main card 145-pound bout in Bellator’s debut in the country.
“I know he’s a stand-up kid who likes Muay Thai fights,” said Karakhanyan of Medvedovski. “This is the first show in Israel, so hopefully he and I can show some of the stand-up for the Israeli fans.
“My pace doesn’t change where I fight. It is the same, so whoever Bellator gives me, I’m going to fight. I can’t underestimate Kirill. I’ve got to take him really seriously, and I’m well-prepared for it.”
Having previously traveled as far as Japan for a fight, Karakhanyan made specific preparations to handle the trip to Israel for the fight.
“I’ll push things up maybe two weeks before the fight,” he said. “When it’s around 8-9 a.m. here, it’s about 7 p.m. there, so that’s when I’ll do my hard training. Other than that, I’m pretty well-adjusted to fighting anywhere. It doesn’t bother me that much.”
After re-establishing himself to close out this year, Karakhanyan is looking to make a move up in weight next year and take on a new crop of fighters in 2017.
“The goal next year is to move up to 155 and get the match-ups I wanted,” said Karakhanyan. “I want to fight Josh Thomson or Melvin Guillard, whatever they give me.
“I definitely want to stay busy at 155, and hopefully get in three fights at 155, but if the right fight comes at 145 that makes sense, I’m going to jump on it.”