Bellator 82 is finished, and we have a new Welterweight tournament champion, as Andrey Koreshkov emerged victorious over Lyman Good. He now moves on to challenge for the Bellator Welterweight title against the winner of Ben Askren vs. Karl Amoussou (in other words, Ben Askren). The 22 year old undefeated Russian has firmly established himself as a name to watch this season, with some very impressive striking on display, particularly in this fight and the semi-finals. He still has issues with his wrestling, which is a horrible area of weakness when you are gearing up for Askren, but I definitely look forward to seeing if the underdog Koreshkov can once again outstrike his way to a win. Let's hope he's not stuck on the shelf for too long waiting for his title fight.
Andrey Koreshkov def. Lyman Good by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
This was a very good 15 minute battle. One of the keys to the fight was range, and in round 1, it was Koreshkov who controlled that range. He kept the former champion at bay with his jab, again effectively using his reach to claim the round, outstriking Good and dropping him at one point with a nice uppercut. In round 2, Good used his grinding style, taking Koreshkov down to tie things up. Round 3 came down to endurance and heart. Koreshkov seemed to fade a bit in the round, but mixed things up by taking Good down and ending the round in a dominant top position to claim the win. I underrated Koreshkov heading into this one, but I was happy to be proven wrong. He's an exciting, talented fighter, and if he uses this time to seriously focus on escaping from his back, he could provide an interesting challenge for Askren.
This was a Catchweight fight at 160 pounds, as former Welterweight Caveman Rickels works on making the drop down to 155 and Lightweight. And for the first round, it seemed that the weight cut was perhaps too much, as the normally aggressive and exciting Rickels was somewhat lethargic (by his standards). Rickels came back strong in round 2, making it a scrappy fight with his trademark unconventional style, then closing out the round strong with some big ground and pound. In the third round, Rickels was often on his back, but was still the aggressor, attacking with submissions, including a nice armbar that Fischer escaped by stepping with all of his weight directly onto Rickels' throat. Ouch. In the end, it was a tough fight to score, and I could have seen it going a lot of different ways, though I think Rickels deserved the win. I'm interested to see more from both men, particularly how Rickels continues to adapt to the lower weight. Fun fight.
Well, this was definitely fast. As expected, these two came out swinging. Not a ton of technique on display, but both were absolutely going for it right from the opening bell. Hose managed to grab a Thai clinch and hit a knee that seemed to stun Marshall, but as Hose moved on to capitalize, the former WEC champion fired back with a left hook that caught Hose right behind the ear and put him down and out for the fast KO. Nice job on the quick stoppage from the referee as well. I'm not confident that Marshall has a huge future in Bellator, but that was certainly a good time.
Pre-fight, I said this looked like a clear Tiger Sarnavskiy rebound fight, and that's how it played out. After losing in his Bellator debut, the Russian fighter was intent on a win here, and he got it with a dominating, if a bit safe, performance. Sarnavskiy used grappling to stifle the more stand-up oriented Hervey, controlling him on the mat and at times in the clinch. Sarnavskiy was never in real danger, but outside of one solid armbar attempt in the 1st round, he also never seemed to go for the stoppage. Clearly, he badly wanted the win and was willing to play it safe to get it. It's a smart strategy, but I hope he brings some more urgency next time out. Highlight of the fight came from breakdancer Hervey, who at one point attempted to run and flip off the cage to escape the clinch. It didn't work, and he nearly broke his neck in the process, but it sure looked cool.