Georgi Karakhanyan Fights Bubba Jenkins at Pechanga 

By David A. Avila
Georgy Karakhanyan has fought long enough to know that in the world of MMA the roads to success can be as slippery and unpredictable as a snow laden mountain road.

What are the odds that the Riverside prizefighter has to fight yet another former national wrestling champion? 

Riverside’s Karakhanyan (23-4-1) finally performs near his hometown when he faces Bubba Jenkins (8-1) in a featherweight clash at the Pechanga Resort and Casino on Friday Jan. 16. The Bellator promoted event will be televised on Spike TV. 

For the third consecutive time Karakhanyan faces a former wrestling champion of repute. Jenkins is a two-time All American from Arizona State. It seems Karakhanyan can’t avoid facing former wrestling champions. 

“This is an MMA fight. I have no choice,” said Karakhanyan, 29. “There was Joe Warren a three time Greco champion, Lance Palmer an NCAA champion and Rick Glenn.”

MMA attracts wrestlers by the bushel but it doesn’t bother Karakhanyan who prepares for every kind of fighter. Whether it’s another wrestler or not.

“He’s a very good wrestler. Two time national champion. The kid is a great wrestler, but MMA is not about how good a wrestler you are,” notes Karakhanyan. “Nobody is throwing punches or kicks at you in wrestling.”

Karakhanyan finally fights in front of a hometown crowd. He had departed for another MMA organization where he captured the WSOF featherweight title. 

“I’m so happy, he said. “I haven’t fought in California in three or four years.”

In his last fight, though he seemed headed toward victory, the fight suddenly changed and he was forced to retire in the third round because of an injured rib.

“I couldn’t breathe right when I took him (Glenn) down I tore my cartilage. I could not breathe at all,” recalled Karakhanyan of his last fight that took place in Las Vegas. “It took three months for the ribs to heal.”

The Riverside prizefighter took to the mountains to help prepare for his return to the cage. But like MMA, the mountains can be just as unpredictable and treacherous. A simple drive up the mountains nearly took the MMA fighter down.

“It was on New Year’s Eve. I had to go to the grocery store. I was going up the hill and I ended up sliding down the hill. I had never been so stressed. I thought this car is going to flip. Nothing would go, I was just sliding down the hill,” said Karakhanyan who was familiar with driving in the snow, but not in the mountains. “I was just telling myself I got to jump out of the car. I didn’t. 
One of the people that live there saw me and he came and said ‘I think I need to help you out.’ He came with a big truck and pulled me out of the side.”

Karakhanyan decided to enroll in a snow driving class to prepare for the dangers of a frozen road. Life’s precious but in his mind you can prepare for anything, even mountain driving or facing wrestling champions.

“I have a different mentality. The only way you can finish me is to KO me or kill me,” Karakhanyan said.