Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix Semfinals: Chael Sonnen (31-15-1) vs. Fedor Emelianenko (37-5)
Nolan Howell: Even at their peaks, Sonnen didn’t really have the skill set to trouble Fedor. While Sonnen is passable standing compared to some of the best tailored striking in the game Fedor had, he doesn’t really have any power to speak of on his punches and taking Fedor down would only lead to being in Fedor’s wheelhouse. There isn’t really any avenue to victory here for Sonnen barring a hail mary shot with a few decades of stored punching power that he hasn’t shown off in his career. Fedor Emelianenko by first-round submission.
Lightweight Bout: Benson Henderson (25-8) vs. Saad Awad (23-9)
Nolan: While the blitzing style of Awad could trouble Henderson and keep him fighting in reverse to a potentially dangerous flurry, Henderson should be able to establish range with the threat of the takedown if Awad gets too close and settle into a rhythm to cruise. Benson Henderson by unanimous decision.
Middleweight Bout: Alexander Shlemenko (56-11) vs. Anatoly Tokov (26-2)
Nolan: It is hard not to worry if Shlemenko is shot at this point, with a Mousasi loss being acceptable but a knockout loss to Bruno Silva being more puzzling. Shlemenko may not be able to fight his fast and loose style anymore and that is a recipe for disaster against a finisher like Tokov. Anatoly Tokov by first-round TKO.
Heavyweight Bout: Cheick Kongo (28-10-2) vs. Timothy Johnson (12-4)
Nolan: While Johnson will have the wrestling advantage on paper, it is Cheick Kongo and expect him to kick dicks and pull on shorts to negate that advantage. With Johnson going to decision consistently aside from a TKO loss, count on Kongo to find a way. Cheick Kongo by split decision.
Featherweight Bout: Andy Main (12-3-1) vs. Henry Corrales (15-3)
Nolan: Henry Corrales by unanimous decision.