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‘GOAT!’ Plaudits roll in for Emelianenko as he destroys Sonnen at Bellator 208

‘GOAT!’ Plaudits roll in for Emelianenko as he destroys Sonnen at Bellator 208
Russian MMA icon Fedor Emelianenko rolled back the years as he dominated Chael Sonnen in the pair’s Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-final in Uniondale, New York – prompting plaudits from fellow fighters and fans.

Emelianenko earned a comprehensive TKO win over Sonnen, ending the fight with a vicious ground and pound with 4:46 gone in the first round amid a raucous atmosphere at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night.

READ MORE: Bellator 208: Fedor Emelianenko TKO's Chael Sonnen to reach Heavyweight Grand Prix final (VIDEO)

‘The Last Emperor’, 42, progresses to the Grand Prix final against Ryan Bader in January, with the Russian veteran gaining his first title shot in almost a decade.

After the fight, praise poured in for Emelianenko – whom many believe to be among the greatest ever to grace MMA.

Bellator president Scott Coker simply tweeted a goat emoji in respect for a fighter who has picked up 7 wins in his last eight fights and looks to be gathering momentum.          

Others lauded what seemed like the unlikely prospect of Fedor clinching the Bellator heavyweight crown despite his advanced years.  

Rapper 50 Cent, who recently partnered with Bellator, was also cageside – just a day after offering Emelianenko’s fellow Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov $2 million for the lightweight king to switch to the promotion amid the fallout from his win over Conor McGregor.   

READ MORE: Rapper 50 Cent offers Khabib $2 million to ditch UFC for Bellator

Emelianenko’s meeting with Chael ‘American Gangster’ Sonnen, 41, saw two veterans of the MMA world face-off – although the action belied their combined age as they engaged in an action-packed and entertaining encounter right from the off, when ‘The Last Emperor’ put Sonnen on his back with his very first punch.   

There was also a touching moment after the bout when Emelianenko presented Sonnen with his team tracksuit, before the pair embraced. Sonnen was heard to joke, “why do you have to hit so hard, and so fast?” with the Russian victor.

Current UFC heavyweight king Daniel Cormier had words of praise for Emelianenko – although he predicted his meeting with Bader in the final could be a bridge too far for the Russian veteran.

Bader, 35, beat Matt Mitrione by via unanimous decision on Friday to book his spot in January’s showdown.   

Former UFC champ Michael Bisping was among those to praise a game Sonnen for even going up against the heavier Russian.   

With Nurmagomedov making the headlines in the UFC, others simply joked that the Russians are taking over MMA.

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