With all the hoopla surrounding UFC 205 this weekend, you would have been forgiven if you forgot that Bellator MMA had a card of its own on Friday, Nov. 11. But the organization brought action to fans from Tel Aviv, Israel, including a welterweight title fight between champion Andrey Koreshkov and Douglas Lima, who sought to regain the belt he lost to Koreshkov last year.
Georgi Karakhanyan def. Kirill Medvedosky by first-round TKO
Karakhanyan continued his march toward his first featherweight title shot in Bellator, as he took the Israeli native Medvedosky to the mat early and often. Karakhanyan attempted submissions but mostly just outworked Medvedosky on the ground, before unleashing some ground-and-pound that finished early when Medvedosky signaled to the referee that he sustained some kind of injury to his shoulder, giving Karahanyan the first round victory. Karakhanyan called out Bellator lightweight Josh Thomson afterward, which I think is a fight any fan can get behind.
Lena Ovchynnikova def. Karla Benitez by unanimous decision
It was revealed before this fight that Ovchynnikova battled a case of nerves before her Bellator debut against Rebecca Ruth earlier this year, which may have contributed to her losing that fight. But Ovchynnikova looked anything but uncomfortable against Benitez, using crisp striking with a mix of jabs and kicks to keep Benitez off-balance throughout. A late surge by Benitez wasn’t enough to turn things in her favor, and Ovchynnikova was awarded a unanimous decision victory in a women’s flyweight division that’s becoming increasingly crowded with talent who are jockeying for position.
Noad Lahat def. Scott Cleve by first-round submission
Lahat made his Bellator debut in this fight after a stint in the UFC, and he didn’t disappoint his countrymen. He also didn’t waste any time. He immediately took Cleve down and proceeded to grapple him into submission, culminating in a quick rear-naked choke victory. Lahat is a guy to keep your eye on in the featherweight division, which is one of Bellator’s deepest weight classes.
Douglas Lima def. Andrey Koreshkov by third-round knockout (Bellator welterweight title)
When Lima lost the welterweight title to Koreshkov last year, his knee was barely functional and Koreshkov took him down at will en route to a unanimous decision victory. But Lima was 100 percent for this fight, which Koreshkov controlled early by using counters to get Lima on the ground.
Koreshkov was clearly ahead on the scorecards going into the third round, but decided to temporarily abandon his strategy of taking Lima down to stand and trade with him, which proved to be costly. Lima caught Koreshkov with a devastating left hook, which sprawled Koreshkov flat on his back and gave Lima the knockout victory and redemption in the form of regaining the welterweight title.
Lima took the opportunity after his win to call out Bellator’s latest free agent signee, Rory MacDonald. Between big fights coming up like Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler facing Benson Henderson, Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas facing Joe Warren for the second time and the rematch between Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef, coupled with the callouts by Karakhanyan and Lima, there is no shortage of big fights on Bellator’s horizon.
Article written by Chris Huntemann