This Week in MMA: Andrey Koreshkov earns Bellator welterweight title shot
Bellator returned after its Thanksgiving break, as the organization began the championship portion of its season at Bellator 82, where the Season Seven Welterweight title and a shot at the 170-pound belt was up for grabs in a matchup between strikers Lyman Good and Andrey Koreshkov. With both fighters coming off of knockout wins in the semifinals, it was Koreshkov who was able to extend his unbeaten streak to 13 with a unanimous decision win over Good. The Russian will now take on the winner of an upcoming title bout between champion Ben Askren and No. 1 contender Karl Amoussou.
Former tournament semifinalist David Rickels got back on the winning track in non-tournament action, as he was able to outpoint unbeaten prospect Jason Fischer to take home a unanimous decision. With his win in the bout at a catchweight of 160 pounds, Rickels could be a favorite to be included in the next lightweight tournament, which is set to begin with Bellator’s move to Spike TV in January. Former WEC middleweight champion Doug Marshall made his Bellator debut, as the veteran was able to score an emphatic knockout over Kala Hose just 22 seconds into the first round. Marshall will now likely be included in the next Bellator middleweight tournament, which is slated to begin early next year. And finally, Alexander Sarnavskiy bounced back after having his 20-fight unbeaten streak broken in his Bellator debut, as the Russian earned a unanimous decision over veteran Tony Hervey.
The semifinals of The Ultimate Fighter 16 were set during last week’s episode, as a fighter from each team advanced into the final four to give both Team Nelson and Team Carwin two participants left in the tournament. First up, Team Nelson fighter Jon Manley earned a majority decision over fellow Team Nelson fighter Joey Rivera in a lackluster two-round fight. Then, the battle of Canadians featured bad blood, as Mike Ricci and Michael Hill squared off for the final slot in the semifinals. Ricci kept Hill on the defensive, eventually winning a unanimous decision and advancing to the next round.
The semifinal matchups are now set, and with two fighters from each team left, teammates will square off to ensure that a member of each team will compete in the finals, which will take place on Dec. 15. Team Nelson fighters Manley and Colton Smith will square off, with the winner taking on either Ricci or Neil Magny from Team Carwin.
On The Ultimate Fighter: UK vs. Australia, the welterweight final was set as UK fighter Brad Scott will square off against Australia’s Robert Whittaker for a UFC contract. At lightweight, the UK’s Colin Fletcher has also advanced to the finals.
Top British promotion BAMMA returned for its 11th event, and the main event featured a bit of an upset, as UFC veteran Xavier Foupa-Pokam outpointed top middleweight prospect Jack Marshman in a hard-fought split decision. With just two wins in eleven fights heading into the bout, Foupa-Pokam was a big underdog to the rising star. But the two put on the “fight of the night,” as the Frenchman gritted out a win despite nearly suffering a few close stoppages.
In regional action, Resurrection Fighting Alliance 5 took place in Nebraska, with Bellator veteran Jared Downing claiming the organization’s first featherweight title with a close decision win over previously unbeaten foe Jordan Rinaldi. Veteran James Krause kept his hot streak alive, as he won his sixth straight with a submission victory over Joe Jordan.