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Bellator 164 predictions, preview for 'Koreshkov vs Lima 2' on Spike TV

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Bellator MMA

Bellator 164: "Koreshkov vs. Lima 2" takes place at Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel, airing via tape delay tomorrow night (Fri., Nov. 11, 2016) on Spike TV. The main event features a Welterweight title bout between current champion, Andrey Koreshkov, and former 170-pound roost ruler, Douglas Lima. Koreshkov can affirm his place on top with his seventh straight win, while Lima can reaffirm that he's still "The Phenom" of Bellator MMA.

The fun four-fight main card will also showcase a mix of local favorites and Featherweight contenders, as well as a kickboxing star in search of her first win under the Bellator MMA banner. The event clearly banks on the drawing power of the main event, but the non-title fights have some intriguing potential, too.

Let's break them down:

170 lbs.: Andrey Koreshkov (19-1) vs. Douglas Lima (27-6)

Both fight fans and Koreshkov's opponents have underrated him throughout his career largely based on one Bellator fight where former champion Ben Askren took him to the ground and rode on him for four rounds until earning a technical knockout stoppage. Since 2013, Koreshkov has improved in every aspect of his game since that humbling loss. The six straight wins he has accrued since -- and his dominating title defense over Benson Henderson -- should finally be the wake up call.

It's too early to count out Lima in this fight, though. Before losing the title to Koreshkov the first time they met at Bellator 140, he had been on an equally dominant run of five wins with five (technical) knockout finishes. Lima is not necessarily making excuses when he talks about having four surgeries and a nasty infection to deal with, but it is fair to say that from the time he won the title until his return against Paul Daley this year, he wasn't fighting at 100 percent. Indeed, a healthy Lima was able to beat Daley at his own game in what turned out to be a No. 1 contender eliminator match.

Who then has the edge in the rematch? I liked Koreshkov's chances last time ... and I like them again here. They are both 6'1," but the reach advantage goes to Koreshkov at 74" to 71." Koreshkov wins a higher percentage of his fights by knockout (52 percent) compared to Lima (44 percent) as well. Two out of three judges gave every round to Koreshkov last July, and that's where I view there being the most improvement for Lima. He may take a round or two -- and he may even wobble Koreshkov with a good shot -- but Koreshkov has only been finished once in his whole career. And it wasn't from standing strikes. Since his chin held up the last time he met Lima, I don't see why it would fail him now.

Final prediction: Andrey Koreshkov retains the Welterweight title via decision

145 lbs.: Noad Lahat (9-2) vs. Scott Cleve (15-5)

After UFC cut Featherweight fighter Noad Lahat in June, the door was open for Bellator MMA to not only sign the promising prospect, but feature him on a show in his home country of Israel. He's only had two losses as a professional, and in an ironic twist, both came by way of a flying knee. Other than that he's shown both durability and versatility in his nine professional wins, compiling two knockouts, four submissions, and three victories that went to the judges. He has never been tapped out and never lost a decision which in MMA is about as unblemished as a two-loss fighter can be.

If it feels like Scott Cleve is the fall guy facing the hometown hero who is a proud veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, you're absolutely right. He's not a cakewalk, though; in fact, far from it. Cleve has a great amateur wrestling background, which he transitioned very successfully into MMA, becoming adept enough with his hands to score knockouts in nine out of 15 fights. He's picked up wins over quality opponents like Abel "Killa" Trujillo, Derek Campos and Matt Bessette on the road to this spot, so he won't be intimidated by Lahat.

Both fighters stand 5'9," but Cleve holds the 4" reach advantage with a 73" wingspan. Lahat is the younger fighter by two years at 32, but that's not likely to be a huge difference. Cleve may be tempted to fall back on his wrestling credentials, but given Lahat's got more wins on the ground via submission (four to two), I wouldn't risk it. His best bet is to force Lahat out of his comfort zone and force him to backpedal to avoid the reach, whereas Lahat's best bet is to engage quickly and get inside on Cleve to make it a grueling clinch war. I don't normally think you should count hometown or country as a factor -- we've seen plenty of Brazilians lose in Brazil -- but this one is special for Lahat and he's going to be as motivated if not more than anybody else on the card.

Final prediction: Noad Lahat goes the distance for a unanimous decision

145 lbs.: Georgi Karakhanyan (25-6-1) vs. Kirill Medvedovsky (7-2)

Medvedovsky would then be the second-most motivated fighter on this card as he, too, hails from Israel; however, unlike Lahat, he has never fought at the UFC level or in fact anywhere outside of Europe and Russia. He seems to be well diversified with two knockouts, three submissions and two decisions, but he gives up a huge experience edge to Karakhanyan with almost four times as many professional fights. On top of that, Karakhanyan is fresh off a knockout win against Bubba Jenkins and is eager to put together his first two-fight win streak since 2013. That's exactly what I expect to happen.

Final prediction: Georgi Karakhanyan wins via first round knockout

125 lbs.: Lena Ovchynnikova (10-4) vs. Karla Benitez (13-9-1, 1 NC)

Things did not go Ovchynnikova's way in her debut at Bellator 150, but the promotion is giving her a second chance to make a first impression against a much more vulnerable opponent. Benitez is just above the Mendoza Line for fighters, having been submitted five times. And if there's one thing Ovchynnikova loves, it's submissions (she has eight). At 37, the clock is ticking for Benitez, while at 29 it's still wide open for Ovchynnikova. Easy math.

Final prediction: Lena Ovchynnikova wins via second round submission

That's a wrap! will deliver coverage of Bellator 164: "Koreshkov vs. Lima 2" tomorrow night, with results throughout the evening for the Spike TV fights at 9 p.m. ET. To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.