We've got a new headliner for #Bellator218 as @GeorgiMMA looks to avenge his previous loss to @ElMatador145.
Watch these two men go to war LIVE and in person on March 22nd!https://t.co/lIWjlOkWCK pic.twitter.com/rYZ2af2sAu — Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) March 8, 2019
On just over two weeks' notice, Georgi Karakhanyan will replacing Ashleigh Grimshaw in the Bellator 218 main event against former opponent Emmanuel Sanchez.
According to Bellator MMA on Friday, Karakhanyan (29-8-1, 1 NC) is stepping up on short notice to face Sanchez (17-4) in a rematch at Bellator 218 in Thackerville, Okla. on March 22. The two men met previously at Bellator 170 in 2017, where Sanchez took a majority decision. While Sanchez was ahead on the scorecards, he was deducted a point in the second round when he threw an illegal knee while Karakhanyan was downed.
Karakhanyan will be stepping in for original headliner Grimshaw, who reportedly suffered an injury while training that will require around six weeks of recovery. A former World Series of Fighting and Tachi Palace Fights featherweight champion, Karakhanyan will be returning for his third stint inside the Bellator cage. In his Bellator career, he holds a .500 record after 12 fights.
Sanchez last competed for the featherweight title inside the promotion, dropping a unanimous decision to Patricio Freire at Bellator 209 in November. Prior to that loss, he was riding a four-fight win streak including wins over former champions Daniel Straus and Marcos Galvao. Owner of three split decision victories under the Bellator banner, he is tied with Daniel Weichel and John Teixeira da Conceicao for the most in promotional history.
Bellator 218 will take place at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. on March 22. Co-headlining the event will be a heavyweight battle between Linton Vassell and Valentin Moldavsky. Making his promotional debut on the card will be highly touted University of Missouri wrestling prospect Johnny Eblen, who will clash with Chauncey Foxworth.