On April 8th, 2010, Georgi Karakhanyan shocked Bellator fans by knocking out the highly skilled Bao Quach, thus advancing to the featherweight semifinals. But will Karakhanyan be able to effectively demonstrate his fighting expertise on the road to current featherweight champ Joe Soto?
For starters, Karakhanyan is 13-1-1. His only loss was by split decision early on in his career, and the majority of his wins have come by submission.
However, after personally watching Karakhanyan fight against Bao Quach in Bellator 13, it became evident that Karakhanyan is no ordinary submission artist. He shows promise, though, is due to his ability to adapt to the moment's demand.
Karakhanyan gained his second KO victory against Quach. What started out as a flurry of strikes in the clinch became one strong knee to the chin of Quach, knocking him out cold.
After asking Karakhanyan about that finish, he said it wasn't planned and that he just went with the moment and what seemed right. This kind of immediate adaptation is what a lot of fighters avoid, yet it paid off for Karakhanyan.
Although Quach is known for his standup, the grappler Karakhanyan came in with his own striking capability and advanced to the semifinals. Being that this is Karakhanyan's second KO victory, this proves that his power was no fluke against Quach.
Karakhanyan will soon be fighting Greco-Roman Wrestler Joe Warren, who was nearly submitted in his quarterfinal match against Eric Marriott. Warren was caught in a nasty triangle choke by Marriott, but Warren lasted thirty seconds until the round ended.
Will Warren slip up against the submission specialist Karakhanyan? Karakhanyan will no doubt prove to be tough competition on the ground, although with the recent demonstration of his striking capability, Karakhanyan may actually get another KO victory if Warren tries to stand and trade a bit.
If Karakhanyan does do away with Warren, he will have to face the winner of Wilson Reis or Patricio Pitbull in the finals before facing current champ Soto. Reis is 10-1 and has won his matches by way of submission and decision. Pitbull is 13-0, is a great submission artist and has yet to really be challenged in the cage.
Both Reis and Pitbull are very tough, so even if Karakhanyan did advance to the finals, by no means would it be an easy road to meet Soto. However, with Karakhanyan's ground skills, standup power, and ability to utilize the right moment to strike, he may well be the fighter to provide the best match for Soto at the championship.