Bellator 164 "Koreshkov vs. Lima 2" came to the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel, last night (Fri., Nov. 11, 2016) on Spike TV. The card was headlined by a world title fight at welterweight.
Former champion Douglas Lima sought to regain the title he lost to Andrey Koreshkov last July, but after a successful title defense against former UFC champion Benson Henderson, Koreshkov wasn't going to part with his title lightly.
The first round was tight. Lima had a slight advantage in the striking department. Koreshkov scored a takedown but only kept Lima down for a second. His takedown in Round 2 was much more effective. Each time Lima tried to sit up against the fence and get back to his feet, Koreshkov wrestled him back to the ground. On the plus side for Lima, he hit a kick to Koreshkov's lead leg that made him wince before said takedown.
Lima backpedaled to begin Round 3, openly luring Koreshkov to step toward and open up with his hands, and Koreshkov took the bait and paid for it. Lima uncorked a monster left hand for the knockout at 1:21.
Matt Mitrione spoke to the new and two-time welterweight champion after Scott Coker gave him the gold.
"I love it. Thank you guys, thank you guys so much. It was an honor fighting in front of you! I want to thank God for this win. I'm just blessed to be here healthy having two legs under me. It feels great! Ever since I came to Bellator that's my main goal to be a champion. Koreshkov is a heck of an opponent. It's an honor for me to compete against him one more time. I just want to thank Bellator for the opportunity and let's keep on going. I don't want to call anybody out but I always want to fight the biggest name. I know Rory MacDonald just signed, I'd love the opportunity to fight him, it can be Brazil, Canada, the States, here again, whatever."
Featherweight recruit and former UFC fighter Noad Lahat made his Bellator debut in his home country against a more experienced fighter in and outside of Bellator in Scott Cleve.
Lahat and Bellator got everything each was looking for out of this fight. Lahat was warmly received and eagerly cheered with every strike he landed. Cleve was a game opponent with a good record but found himself outmatched on the ground once Lahat scored a leg trip.
Cleve survived the lefts to the head from behind, the knees to the body, and the first submission attempt once Lahat got the hooks in. He didn't survive the second and tapped to a textbook rear naked choke at 2:26.
Matt Mitrione spoke to the conquering hero after his impressive Bellator debut.
"Oh you guys amazing, but give it (up) for my opponent, give him more he deserve it! I know it's not easy to come to a hostile territory and he did, he's a man, give him a shot. I came out and listened to the crowd not booing me this time, like cheering for me, that gave me an extra power. You guys are great. I've fought around the world, Brazil, Germany, America, everywhere. You're the best crowd I ever fought in front of, hands down. I'm doing judo since I'm four years old, I've been wrestling with the guys at AKA for the last seven something years, I'm a wrestler."
And he's a wrestler who likes to celebrate with the hometown fans after a big win!
Lena Ovchynnikova got her second chance to make a good impression inside the Bellator cage by facing journeyman women's fighter Karla Benitez at flyweight.
Benitez was experienced enough to hang with Ovchynnikova for three rounds, but mediocre enough to not be winning in any of them. Ovchynnikova let Benitez come at her, then punished her with combos and left hooks. When she chose to keep the distance she nailed Benitez with leg kicks, and when she let Benitez get into range she mashed up her face. The only mistake Ovchynnikova made was almost giving up a takedown late in Round 3.
All three judges awarded Ovchynnikova the 30-27 unanimous decision. Since the performance spoke for itself no one bothered her with a post-fight interview.
In a 150-pound catchweight bout, Georgi Karakhanyan returned on short notice hoping to take the momentum from his recent win over Bubba Jenkins to capture a second-straight victory facing Kirill Medvedovsky.
It may be unfair to Medvedovsky to say he didn't put up much of a fight, but Karakhanyan didn't seem to have any trouble taking him to the ground, choosing to let Medvedovsky stand up when he attempted a sweep. Karakhanyan took him right back down, laid in the ground-and-pound, Medvedovsky screamed in pain and the referee stopped the fight at 3:40 of the first round.
Matt Mitrione took the role of Jimmy Smith for the post-fight interview, asking Karakhanyan what it was like to fight a hometown fighter in Israel.
"It felt awesome. Even (if) they booed me, I love Israel. Thank you, thank you man! You guys are awesome. I don't care if the guy is intimidated or a whole bunch of fighters behind him, I'm just there to kill whoever's in front of me -- anybody Bellator's willing to give me. I've been looking for that super-fight with Josh 'The Punk' Thomson so hopefully we can do that."
Two early fights were added to the broadcast to fill time. Onor Keles and Omri Barel both made their pro debut at a catchweight of 138 pounds, but only Keles walked away with his first win, getting a rear naked choke 3:02 into Round 1. Joaquin Buckley and Jackie Gosh both came in at 6-0, but Gosh kept his perfect record by leveling Buckley and getting the TKO stoppage at 2:44 of the first round.
For complete Bellator 164 results and coverage click here.