After picking up a win in his first bout of the year against Bubba Jenkins, Karakhanyan’s title shot against then-beltholder Patricio “Pitbull” Freire was called off due to a torn ACL.
Still, Karakhanyan is pleased with how he performed against Jenkins and rebounding off a loss he suffered in his previous bout last year.
“I felt like I made a statement in the division,” Karakhanyan told MMAWeekly.com. “The fight ended really quickly, and I got the title shot, so I was very happy with my performance.
“You have to win impressively. This sport has evolved, and decisions and boring fights aren’t acceptable anymore. That’s how fight fans remember you, that’s how media remembers you, that’s how promoters and matchmakers remember you, so you always want to put on a good show.”
When it comes to his torn ACL, Karakhanyan knew it was better to error on the side of caution than be at a disadvantage to Freire in their scheduled bout.
“While inside of me I wanted to fight, I knew I didn’t want to go out there and fight on one leg and lose to Pitbull,” said Karakhanyan. “I listened to close friends (and took their advice) and went from there.”
Karakhanyan (24-4-1) will get a chance to work his way back to the 145-pound title when he faces former contender Daniel Weichel (35-9) in the co-main event of Bellator 147 on Friday in San Jose, Calif.
“Daniel is a very well-rounded fighter,” said Karakhanyan. “He is a tough fighter without a lot of holes in his game, so it will be a chess match. The day of the fight, though, I’ll find the holes and come out on top.”
Looking to put the second half of this year behind him, Karakhanyan has his mind on Dec. 4 and making the most of his return to fighting following his injury.
“I’m focused on the present, and right now I feel good,” he said. “I’m physically and mentally ready. I’m fighting, I’m getting paid, so I’ve got nothing to complain about.
“Victory is always placed first in my mind. You have to win impressively. I’m not happy with just the win. I want to get more. I want to get the finish.”