Submitted by PFontaine on Fri, 2016-04-22 15:37
Bellator 153 : Koreshkov vs Henderson is on Spike TV Friday night at 8 pm eastern from Connecticut. The show airs one hour earlier than usual and features the Bellator debut of former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson. He challenges Bellator welterweight champion Andrei Koreshkov in the main event. Bellator mainstay Patricio “Pitbull” Freire fights in the co-main and the show also features the return of “MVP” Michael Venom Page. Mr Cyborg even makes an appearance!
Show opens with a video package with clips of various MMA media talking about the signing of Benson Henderson, including Ariel Helwani, Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice. They made the signing feel very important. This led to footage of Andrey Koreshkov just destroying dudes. Really good opening that made the main event of tonight's show feel like a big deal.
Like last week's show, they are airing the fighter walkouts, which is a nice touch that separates Bellator from UFC. Sean Grande even talks about the MVP "character" but also puts over his fighting ability and style, saying that he vows to do something that fans have never seen before.
Welterweights Michael Page (9-0) vs Jeremie Holloway (7-1) (John McCarthy – ref)
Page has a huge height and reach advantage, as he usually does a 6 ft 3 welterweight. Holloway rushes MVP and gets floored with a punch flush on the face but he recovers quickly. Page with his hands down at his knees and throwing wild punches while Grande says he's part Anderson Silva and part Bugs Bunny, which gets a chuckle from Jimmy Smith. Holloway clinches up on the cage and the fans boo so Big John breaks them up. Actually it was a low blow by Holloway during the clinch. MVP with a huge right and then throws Holloway to the floor. MVP with a reverse ankle lock and gets the quick tap. He then gets in Holloway's face trash talking him after he releases the hold.
WINNER – MICHAEL PAGE (10-0) by submission (toe hold) at 2:15
Page gets some interview time after the fight. Says he's working on his all around game. Jimmy Smith announces that it will be MVP vs Fernando Gonzalez on July 16th in London, which is the undercard of the Kimbo Slice/James Thompson fight.
Lightweights Brent Primus (6-0) vs Gleristone Santos (27-5) (Bryan Miner – ref)
No walkouts aired for these two. Ref Miner bears a slght resemblance to Scott Coker. Santos gets a couple early knockdowns and Primus seems to want to keep it on the ground but Santos stands up to get it back to the feet. Primus has 3 first round subs in Bellator so that would explain it. Primus does get it to the ground at 1:15 and working for a sub from his back. Santos to his feet and landing kicks to the body so Primus gets up as well. Santos is defintely landing more on the feet. Primus misses a takedown attempt badly at 2:30. Santos already tired 4:00 in as he's been throwing a lot of punches. Primus starting to connect with leg kicks. 10-9 Santos but close
SAntos controlling the cage to start the round and still more active early. Primus hit with a low blow 2:30 in but doesn't seem to want to stop fighting. Ref warns Santos and they start fighting again right away. Both guys throwing a ton of shots on the restart. Primus with a takedown attempt but defended well by Santos at 4:00. Primus with a nice punch combo, his best of the fight, at 4:15. Santos with a nice combo right before the bell. That was almost a 10-10 round but I'd give the slight edge to Primus so 19-19 after 2
Jimmy Smith has Santos up two rounds. Primus pulls guard early in round 3. Santos stands up and Primus tries to grab his foot but Santos gets away and they're both standing again. Primus starting to land more punches and connects with a spin kick. Santos with a punch combo of his own at 1:45 that staggers Primus. Primus stuffed on another takedown attempt at 2:45. Santos lands a couple hard rights followed by a body kick and Primus is stumbling. Santos lets up, giving Primus time to recover and Primus gets a takedown at 3:45 and Primus takes his back. Santos rolls out but Primus still in his guard. Primus landing punches and elbows. Santos with a heel hook attempt but Primus escapes and postures up and then lands a hammer fist before going back into Santos' guard. Primus ends the round on top to take the round definitively. 10-9 Primus, 29-28 overall but either guy could take it.
WINNER – BRENT PRIMUS (7-0) by split decision (29-28 x 2; 28-29)
Jimmy Smith scored all 3 rounds for Santos, which is questionable. Primus gets some mic time and asks for a top 10 fighter to help him move up in the rankings. He thanks God and Scott Coker for believing in him and letting him fight on the main card. Charisma isn't exactly his strong suit.
Good pre-fight video package for the next fight. Ward is promising a quick explosive fight in front of his hometown fans. Bellator is back in this venue in October and Ward will get a title shot with a win tonight.
Welterweights Brennan Ward (13-3) vs Evangelista Santos (20-16) (Todd Anderson – ref)
These guys are big enough stars to get televised walkouts. Santos is better known as Mr Cyborg and is the ex-husband of Cristiano Justino aka Cris Cyborg. He is a former Strikeforce fighter making his Bellator debut and he once fought Nick Diaz. He's also fought in Pride. Ward is a big star to the locals and comes out to Irish folk music with Irish flags everywhere like he's on a Conor McGregor undercard. When Bellator did their UK vs USA tentpole show last year, he was on the UK "team" before turning American in his post-fight interview. This should end quickly as between the two of them, they've got 28 stoppages in 33 career wins, most of those coming in the first round.
Ward catches a Santos kick and takes him down right away. Cyborg with a heel hook and gets the quick tap.
WINNER – EVANGELISTA SANTOS (21-16) by verbal submission at 30 seconds (heel hook)
Cyborg says he's after the belt and not much more in his post fight promo.
The "Fighters First" promo from last week aired again and it's still great. Matt Mitrione's debut was announced for Dynamite 2 in June against a Samoan fighter that I've never heard of. They are running tentpole shows in each of the next 3 months with regular shows mixed in as well so it's going to be a big few months of fights for Bellator as well as UFC.
Featherweights Patricio Freire (24-3) vs Henry Corrales (12-2) (Kevin MacDonald – ref)
Both guys get walkouts with Pitbull getting AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" as his song, preceded by barking pitbulls. Pitbull controlling the cage early. Corrales landing single punches from distance but neither guy doing much through 2 minutes. Pitbull with a takedown attempt at 2:15 and ends up taking the back of Corrales standing. He completes it at 2:30 and into mount quickly. Pitbull working for an arm triangle but gives it up quickly. Corrales works him back into guard but eats some elbows. Corrales to his feet at 3:45. Crowd booing heavily at 4:30 as neither guy has done a thing since they stood up. They have a quick punch exchange right before the bell. 10-9 Pitbull
Carl Seumanatafa is the name of Mitrione's opponent in June. Announcers saying that Pitbull may have suffered a rib injury in the first round. He does seem to be very tentative. Nice punch combo from Corrales at 1:30. Crowd booing again at 1:45. Pitbull with cage control but neither guy doing much of anything, much like the main event of last week's show, although this one has slightly more action. Pitbull connects with a flying knee at 3:00. Pitbull with a nice punch combo at 3:15 and then gets a takedown. Pitbull landing light punches to the body from the top but then stands up and locks in a standing guillotine and gets the quick tap.
WINNER – PATRICIO FREIRE (25-3) by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:09 of the 2nd round
In his post-fight interview, Pitbull says he was a "little hurt" after round 1 but he took his corner's advice and submitted his opponent in Round 2. Says he's the most complete fighter in the division and vows to take his belt back from Daniel Straus.
A prelim fight between Djamil Chan and Richard Patishnock aired next. Chan moves to 13-2 with a first round KO and looked really good.
Main Event for the Bellator Welterweight Championship – Champion Andrei Koreshkov (18-1) vs Benson Henderson (23-5) (John McCarthy – ref)
Henderson got to take his "Awesome God" entrance music with him from UFC and Koreshkov is out to the Russian national anthem followed by what sounded like the Imperial Death March. It would've been a great entrance song for Rusev when he was a Russian sympathizer. After bringing in Road Warrior Hawk a couple years ago, I was very disappointed that Nikolai Volkoff was nowhere to be found. Henderson is the huge crowd favorite and his "notable wins" record is the best lineup I've ever seen in Bellator.
Henderson giving up a lot of size here, although it's not as bad as when he fought Brandon Thatch last year. Henderson staying on the outside, landing body kicks from distance. Koreshkov pushing the pace early. Henderson connecting with leg kicks as well. Koreshkov catches a kick and pushes Henderson to the ground at 2:15 but lets him back up. Koreshkov lands a hard body kick right after that. Koreshkov with a punch combo that backs Henderson up at 3:15. Henderson misses badly on a takedown attempt. Henderson continuing to connect with leg kicks, which could come into play later. Koreshkov knocks Henderson down with 10 seconds left and all over him with punches as the round ends. 10-9 Koreshkov
Koreshkov advancing again and Henderson with his back to the cage early. Koreshkov lands a spinning head kick and Henderson misses on another takedown attempt. Flying knee by Koreshkov and then a punch combo but Henderson weathers it. Another weak takedown attempt by Henderson. Henderson continuing to land leg kicks, but that's all he's connecting with. Another failed takedown attempt from Henderson at 3:15. That one was closer. Henderson missing wildly on his punches as well. Henderson with a body punch that seemed to hurt Koreshkov a bit and he gains cage control for a short bit. Body kick by Koreshkov staggers Henderson at 4:30. Cage clinch with 10 seconds left and Koreshkov landing punches to the body and head. 10-9 Koreshkov, 20-18 overall
LETS GO BENSON chants from the crowd to start round 3. Left hook staggers Henderson and he shoots for a takedown. Koreshkov landing elbows and punches to the head but Henderson won't let go of his waist. Koreshkov with his back on the cage and Henderson just holding him there, not landing anything. Henderson with a couple of elbows to the head that connect. Koreshkov sprawls and landing hard knees to the body. They separate at 3:30. Koreshkov landing hard leg kicks as the crowd starts a USA chant. Spinning head kick from Koreshkov with 10 seconds left. Another round for Koreshkov, 30-27.
Koreshkov advancing to start again and landing leg kicks early. Henderson with a takedown attempt and Koreshkov sprawls out. Henderson ends up on his back and just misses with a hard upkick and Koreshkov backs off, forcing Henderson to his feet. Henderson wtih a takedown attempt that ends up in a cage clinch at 2:00. Henderson landing a lot of leg kicks from the clinch. Koreshkov gets seperation at 3:00. Koreshkov continuing to advance. Koreshkov knocks Henderson down with a punch but stays on his feet, landing punches while Henderson is sitting on the canvas. Koreshkov with a standing guillotine at 4:30 and drags him to the canvas but lets go quickly. Henderson to his feet at 4:45. 10-9 Koreshkov, 40-36
Benson's corner told him "we're down a lot" between rounds. Henderson with leg kicks to open and connects with a head kick. Henderson landing more this round as he has to go for it. Koreshkov looks as fresh as he did in the first and lands another spinning head kick. Henderson with a takedown attempt and Koreshkov sprawls out again. Koreshkov with a massive body kick as Henderson was shooting for a takedown. Henderson stayed down but Koreshkov backed off, forcing him to his feet. Henderson with another weak takedown attempt. Henderson landed a couple of kicks from his back and Koreshkov backed off. Henderson misses wildly with a punch and then drops to his back but Koreshkov having none of it and backs off. Koreshkov still advancing at 4:00 and lands a spinning back fist. Koreshkov drops Henderson with a punch but doesn't go to the ground with him. Henderson connects with an upkick but Koreshkov in with a vicious knee to the body with 10 seconds left. Koreshkov with a guillotine right before the final bell. 10-9 Koreshkov, 50-45
WINNER – ANDREY KORESHKOV (19-1) by unanimous decision (50-45 x 3)
Both guys get interview time. Koreshkov says that his coach told him that he would win every round and he did. Henderson says he's sad cause he doesn't like losing. When asked what's next, he was supposed to say he's going back to 155 but instead said "I dunno, whatever the bosses say". Announcers were pushing potential fights with Josh Thomson and Michael Chandler. Koreshkov will probably get the Koscheck-Daley winner next.