The first of two Featherweight Grand Prix quarterfinal fights saw Emmanuel Sanchez and Daniel Weichel collide for the second time on Thursday. The pair had first met in 2016, with Weichel winning a three-round split decision. At Bellator 252, the duo would have a full five rounds to see who had grown most as a fighter — and who would move on to a title shot in the semifinals.
While Sanchez came out hot with a flying knee to open the fight, Weichel quickly took things down. Interestingly enough, however, he didn’t stay there, allowing Sanchez to move back to his feet. As the round progressed, Sanchez began putting his strikes together, finding a home for his right hand on at least three occasions. Weichel was far from shut out, as he landed more than once as well — but it was Sanchez with the edge in significant strikes. It was his punches having greater effect.
Sanchez was on the attack again in round two, finding a home for the right hand in the opening minute. When he landed it a second time, he had Weichel retreating. The German wound up trapped along the fence, covering up, before long falling to his back after a hook to the liver. Sanchez moved in for the kill, with Weichel somehow surviving. Sanchez stayed tight to his opponent, but every second was recovery time for Daniel Weichel, who made it back to his feet. Sanchez continued to rip to the body at his corner’s urging; he’d briefly gain a clinch and mix in some knees. Putting on a highly entertaining round, Sanchez landed a head kick off a combo, and later took Weichel’s feet out from under him with a leg kick.
Emmanuel Sanchez has Daniel Weichel in trouble early on in round 2️⃣.#Bellator252 is LIVE now on @CBSSportsNet in the 🇺🇸 and with @SkySports in the 🇬🇧.#Bellator #MMA #FeatherweightWGP pic.twitter.com/T9ckI7TUiQ
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 13, 2020
A battered Daniel Weichel was going to want to forget that round the moment it was over. The only positive for the German was that he had survived. And while it was good news that he’d made it to round three, Weichel was down two rounds more than likely, with one a possible 10-8. The leg kicks had begun to pile up, with Weichel’s movement hampered early in round three. Sanchez was fresh enough to fire off another head kick, one that just grazed his opponent. If Weichel was going to have any chance of advancing in the grand prix, he was going to need to gut it out, and find a way to win the final two rounds at the least. That’s if he didn’t need a finish.
The fourth had Weichel briefly threaten to take the back. He’d return to that position later in the frame. But Sanchez was able to fight him off. And he continued to work the body, pick his shots, and lead the dance more often than not. The fifth round had Weichel engage in a clinch early, closing the distance. Sanchez turned the tables, moved back to range, and looked ready to go the distance. He was, after all, firmly in the driver’s seat. Sanchez landed a takedown early in the frame, eating a glancing upkick before wisely getting on top and eating up some of the clock. While they would finish on the feet, where the fight went didn’t matter. Emmanuel Sanchez pretty much dominated from pillar to post.
Official Result: Emmanuel Sanchez def. Daniel Weichel by unanimous decision (48-46, 49-46, 49-45)