Bellator 140 is in the books, and the welterweight-stacked main card played out differently than most expected. Although most of the heavily favored fighters pulled-off wins as they were expected to, the overall style of the main event, as well as a fight-ending head butt in Honeycutt vs Bradley, proved to be unexpected occurrences. Let’s take a look at the results of the main card, as well as what’s next for each of fighters that were a part of the televised show.
Douglas Lima vs Andrey Koreshkov
In what was an admittedly unexpected overall fight in terms of style, Andrey Koreshkov defeated Douglas Lima by unanimous decision to become the Bellator Welterweight Champion. Lima was unable to find his timing on the feet, and was accordingly unable to stop the frequent takedown attempts of Koreshkov.
Perhaps, as he himself hinted at, injuries played a significant part of Lima’s inability to stuff the takedowns of the Russian and find his range and rhythm on the feet. It should also be noted that it had been well over a year since Lima had fought—ring rust could also have played a part in the fighter’s overall performance. Finally, Korseshkov suggested that—through his pre-fight interviews and overall style—that the fight would be contested mainly on the feet. Perhaps this fact led to Lima neglecting his wrestling training over the course of his training camp (or focusing too heavily on his striking).
Regardless of the reasoning behind the win, the fact remains that Andrey Koreshkov won the belt convincingly, and has continued to display improvements in his game each time he’s stepped into the Bellator cage. His wrestling game has evidently improved since the loss to Ben Askren, and if the elite wrestler were still a part of the promotion, a rematch would be a very interesting possibility. Koreshkov can now be considered an all-around elite welterweight fighter—Brennan Ward would be an interesting first title defense to (potentially, given Ward’s affection for striking) see just how strong the wrestling improvements made by the Russian are.
For Douglas Lima, the next step is getting healthy. If he did in fact have some injuries leading up to this fight, then it is more important than ever that he modify his training regiment, with the advice of professionals, to be better-suited for his body’s overall health. At his best, he’s an absolutely vicious striker with an all-around impressive game—hopefully the next time Douglas Lima fights in Bellator, he will be entirely healthy. As it stands, the frequency and severity of the injuries that he is suffering from make professional advice a great idea, once again. Once he’s healed, a match with the highly touted Michael Page is a good place to find out where each fighter lies in the welterweight landscape.
Paul Daley vs Dennis Olson
In the co-main event, veteran striker Paul Daley did what he does best and scored a second-round TKO win over Dennis Olson. Like most of his MMA fights as of late, the win didn’t come without some adversity—Olson found some success in a couple instances in the fight—but Daley still did enough to secure the win and the finish, as most expected. He’s already booked for a kickboxing contest on the September 19th Bellator MMA- Glory Kickboxing card, and after that, an MMA rematch with recent Bellator MMA signee Josh Koscheck appears to be the direction that the promotion is heading, because of popular demand. Daley likely has the rest of his year filled out.
For Olson, the fact remains that he came up short against one of the elite welterweight fighters in the world, and there’s no shame in that. He had some success in the fight, and he should continue to build upon that brief success in his next outing, to propel himself closer to the top of the division. A fight with veteran Marius Zaromskis would be an interesting one for Dennis Olson.
Brennan Ward vs Roger Carroll
Unfortunately for Carroll, this is another of the fights on the card that was, on paper (and in result), fairly easy to predict. Brennan Ward made short work of Carroll, picking up the KO win in the first round. Carroll had nothing to offer Ward in terms of competition, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road for the fighter, as Ward is not only an elite Bellator MMA welterweight fighter, but an elite fighter in regards to the entire MMA landscape.
The drop down to welterweight for Ward has proven to be a great move, as he’s found great success and proven that he’s a key component of the division. He received his middleweight title shot against Alexander Shlemenko, and that title experience, combined with that of his recent wins, makes him a great first challenger to the newly crowned welterweight king, Andrey Koreshkov.
Roger Carroll should be respected for taking the fight on short notice, especially when the caliber of his opponent is considered. He will hopefully find a home in the promotion, and should face fellow main card fighter Rudy Bears next.
Chris Honeycutt vs Paul Bradley
This fight was a fairly interesting one until it was prematurely stopped in the second round, being declared a no-contest because of a cut that opened up on the head of Bradley as the result of an inadvertent clash of heads. Until that point, the fight went as many expected, with Honeycutt not dominating, but controlling and winning the fight.
Chris Honeycutt looked good throughout the contest, and one can’t help but notice the similarities between him and the younger version of his coach, training partner, and MMA veteran, Josh Koscheck. Unfortunately, because the fight ended the way that it did, fans will be unable to know if Honeycutt would have been able to make a strong statement in the last round. Accordingly, Honeycutt’s next fight should be against Fernando Gonzalez, a bout which will have major title implications.
Paul Bradley is a solid competitor, and is in a peculiar spot in the promotion. An obvious opponent doesn’t really rise from the ranks for the fighter, but a fight against the fellow solid welterweight Adam McDonough would be an interesting one, provided the timing is right for McDonough’s return (he hasn’t competed in about a year). If not, a fight with Andre Santos would also be a good match-up for Bradley.
Michael Page vs Rudy Bears
Once again, most MMA fans had some idea how the fight was most likely going to play-out, and the mass predictions were correct, as Michael Page defeated Rudy Rudy Bears by first-round knockout. The striking of Page is truly elite—the time is now to find out just how elite it is, however.
Michael Page is in desperate need of a step-up in competition. Although he’s still a hyped and exciting fighter, matches like this don’t really do him any favors in terms of answering the burning question that hardcore MMA fans have about his game: Can he defend the takedowns of an elite wrestler? Moreover, can he compete with a fellow high-level welterweight on the feet? Although the answer to the former won’t come quite yet, a step-up in competition itself, against a comparable opponent, is an exciting prospect that is achievable. Michael Page should be matched-up with former champion Douglas Lima, to see where each lies in the welterweight landscape, and to also answer important questions about each of their games.
Rudy Bears is a seasoned veteran that’s fought some of the who’s-who of the MMA world over the years. He should be given a chance to rebound against fellow main card fighter Roger Carroll.
Overall, Bellator 140 was certainly an interesting card. While there were some blistering finishes and exciting moments, the stage has truly been set for the promotion to take advantage of the elite welterweight fighters it has signed by creating truly compelling match-ups. The above suggestions certainly serve as a good starting point. It will be interesting to see how the landscape of the welterweight division in Bellator continues to change in the future. The elite fighters that it employs will continue to entertain, and make their marks on the whole of the MMA welterweight landscape at an exciting rate, once compelling match-ups are created regularly.
Fans of Bellator MMA shouldn’t miss the upcoming MMA and kickboxing card, Bellator: Dynamite, on September 19th. The card features some exciting kickboxing action (including Paul Daley, as was mentioned), a one-night Light Heavyweight tournament featuring Phil Davis, King Mo, Emanuel Newton, and Linton Vassell, as well as a title fight between Tito Ortiz and Light Heavyweight champion Liam McGeary. The card will be televised live on Spike, at a time to be confirmed.
Additionally, although excitement for Dynamite is plentiful, a solid card in Bellator 141 is slated for August 28th. The main event features UFC veteran Melvin Guillard taking on Brandon Girtz, in what should be an exciting match. Additionally, Saad Awad is (finally) being moved to a main card spot when he takes on Patricky Pitbull, in a fight that could very well be the main event. Heavyweights Lorenzo Hood and Raphael Butler are also scheduled to fight on the main card, which starts at 4am KSA time.
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