Insane Turn of Events: Georgi Karakhanyan in Against Emmanuel Sanchez for Bellator 218 Main Event

Georgi Karakhanyan victorious at Bellator 182
Georgi Karakhanyan Credit: Mike McClory/Cageside Press

Less than two weeks out from the event, Bellator 218 has a change to its main event, as Georgi Karakhanyan returns to the promotion for the first time in over a year to face Emmanuel Sanchez.

What an insane turn of events indeed. Less than two weeks away, Bellator 218 in Thackerville, Oklahoma was set to offer a main event featherweight clash between former title challenger Emmanuel Sanchez, and Ashleigh Grimshaw. However, on Friday, Bellator MMA announced via social media that Grimshaw had been replaced by former Bellator featherweight and ex-WSOF champ Georgi Karakhanyan.

The promotion did not provide a reason for Grimshaw’s removal from the card.

Karakhanyan (29–8–1 (1)), occasionally known as ‘Insane,’ last fought for Bellator in January 2018, suffering a unanimous decision loss against Henry Corrales at Bellator 198. He was released by the promotion shortly after the fight. Karakhanyan, who holds notable wins over Din Thomas, Lance Palmer, and Bubba Jenkins, will now embark on his third stint with Bellator, at a very opportune time. A strong showing could land him a spot in Bellator’s upcoming Featherweight Grand Prix.

He’ll have to continue his recent success, however. After parting ways with Bellator, Karakhanyan picked up two wins in ACB — although the second, a controversial DQ of opponent Timur Nagibin, was overturned to a no contest after ACB officials claimed Karakhanyan embellished an injury after being struck after the bell. It’s a charge Karakhanyan refuted.

In any case, ACB hit hard times, and ‘Insane’ is back in greener pastures for a short notice fight against Sanchez. For ‘El Matador,’ it’s his first fight back after losing a title bid against Patricio Freire last year. That dropped Sanchez’s record to 17–4 .

Bellator 218 takes place March 22 at the WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, OK. The event airs live on Paramount Network and DAZN.