Bellator 208: Who’s Watching What?

Fedor Bellator 198

Bellator’s second event this weekend is going down tonight in Uniondale, New York, and the card will feature legendary heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko, taking on former UFC contender, Chael Sonnen. Will that bout and the rest of the line-up for Bellator 208 pull strong numbers for the Paramount Network and DAZN? One week after the massive UFC 229 card took place?

The Prelims

As per usual, the prelims for Bellator 208 will be streamed online via various outlets. If you followed yesterday’s weigh-ins, however, then you know the prelims lost two bouts, as a result of fighters not making weight. On of those fights was arguably the most intriguing of the prelims, as┬áJamal Pottinger came in way over for a 175 pound, catch-weight bout with jiu-jitsu force, Robson Gracie Jr., who was set to make his MMA debut.

Generally speaking, Bellator prelims are only watched by die-hard, MMA fans. So, the loss of that fight isn’t going to help. In other words, it might be only the most hardcore of hardcore, fight enthusiasts, who tune into today’s prelims.

The Main Card

While it’s no secret that the star attraction of Bellator 208 is Fedor vs. Sonnen, the main card has several, compelling bouts scheduled.

In the co-headiner, former UFC lightweight champ, Benson Henderson, will take on Saad Awad. Henderson recently ended a two fight losing skid, by submitting Roger Huerta at Bellator 196 in April. The heavy handed Awad, meanwhile, has battled his way back into title contention, via a four fight winning streak. Most recently in June, Awad took out Ryan Couture in the opening round.

In another heavyweight bout, Cheick Kongo will face fellow UFC vet, Timothy Johnson. Although Kongo has been known to take a grinding approach in recent fights, in May, he ended a run of decision wins with a KO victory over Javy Ayala. If you’ve followed Johnson, then you know he’s a rugged, pressuring heavyweight, so that fight could deliver some fireworks.

The main card will also feature a very interesting bout between Russian middleweights, Alexander Shlemenko and Anatoly Tokov. Shlemenko is a former champ, who is ridiculously aggressive, and finishes fights. Tokov is a rising force in Bellator’s 185 division, and the only man to defeat him since 2011 is UFC vet,┬áRamazan Emeev.

Bottom Line?

When you consider that Fedor’s win over Frank Mir in April drew 1.5 million viewers to Paramount, it would be kind of surprising if Bellator 208 tanked. Fedor is still a pretty big deal in the MMA world, and Sonnen is well known name in mainstream circles. Casual fans are also likely familiar with Benson Henderson and Cheick Kongo.

But, where Bellator 208 might get hurt is due to the fact Bellator 207 took place last night, and that UFC 229, and all the madness that went down with it, has dominated headlines this week.

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