Filling in on short notice is no problem for Georgi Karakhanyan and he hopes it pays off in a big way.

At Bellator 266, Karakhanyan (31-11-1 MMA, 9-9 BMMA) will fill in for the injured Adam Piccolotti to face Saul Rogers (14-4 MMA, 2-2 BMMA). The bout will be Karakhanyan’s fifth bout with the promotion in the lightweight division, after moving up from featherweight in 2020.

Karakhanyan was already in great shape from training with upcoming UFC featherweight title challenger Brian Ortega, so taking a fight on short notice was no problem for the 40-plus fight veteran.

“I feel good, I just feel like the old Georgi,” Karakhanyan told MMA Junkie Radio. “They (Bellator) were telling me that I wouldn’t be on the Russia card, I said, ‘I’ll be ready, call me. If anyone falls apart, can’t make it, or gets injured, call me.’”

The call did come, but the most important part for Karakhanyan, though, is that this short notice fight will be the last fight on his current Bellator contract. He hopes an impressive performance in this spot will pay off in a big way for his next deal, hopefully with the promotion he considers his home, Bellator. However, if a more lucrative offer is available elsewhere, he may consider his best option.

“Scott Coker and everyone with Bellator has been really cool with me,” Karakhanyan said. “This is my 19th fight actually with Bellator. Me asking to get double what I’m making right now means nothing. I know they pay big money to a lot of fighters, but I wouldn’t mind shopping around to see what’s going on too.”

Since moving to lightweight, Karakhanyan has gone 3-1 in the division, including two submission stoppages over opponents Paul Redmond and Kiefer Crosbie.

Bellator 266 takes place Sept. 18 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.

Check out Karakhanyan speaking on his contract situation in the video above and watch the full interview below.


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