Koreshkov gets a run for his money in Bellator debut
After 11 fights, Andrei Koreshkov remains undefeated.
But in his American MMA debut for Bellator, Jordan Smith certainly made him work to keep his 0.
Koreshkov did damage early on with superior striking and found a second wind in the third to convince cageside judges he was the victor by scores of 29-28.
"I didn't expect my opponent to be that tough, but I won," the Russian said afterward through a translator.
Smith came out aggressive early on, but it was Koreshkov who meted out accurate punches, several times landing a powerful uppercut and breaking his rhythm with spinning kicks. Smith soon got the message he would need to take the fight down, but Koreshkov gamely sprawled and unloaded a spinning sidekick that prompted Smith to clinch. In a scramble, the American attempted a Peruvian necktie and segued to a guillotine choke, but Koreshkov escaped both.
The second frame saw Smith immediately go for the takedown and quickly take back mount. He spent the majority of the round attempting to secure a rear-naked choke, and briefly, he put his forearm under Koreshkov's chin. But again, Koreshkov escaped danger and spun out of the choke, working in vain to do damage from the top for the remainder of the round.
Both men were visibly tired by the third frame. But despite walking into a few hard shots from Smith, Koreshkov landed more overall shots in the latter part of the round and sealed his win with a last-minute takedown.
"Frankly speaking, I got very tired because my opponent was very tough," said a panting Koreshkov (11-0 MMA, 3-0 BFC), who went to the scorecards for the first time in his career following two stoppage wins in a pair of non-tournament bouts for Bellator.
Smith (17-4-1 MMA, 0-2 BFC), who sported a badly swollen right forearm post-fight, is now 0-2 in Bellator tournaments following a knockout loss to David Rickels in the opening round of the season 6 competition.