Bellator 182 could see Koreshkov back in the title picture
NEW YORK (Wed, August 16, 2017)– Bellator 182 takes place at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in New York on August 25th, and topping the bill will be a welterweight encounter between former champion Andrey “The Spartan” Koreshkov (19-2) and Chidi “Chidi Bang Bang” Njokuani (17-4), with both men known for their exceptional striking skills.
(Koreshkov, via Bellator MMA on Facebook)
There’s no doubt going to be contention at stake as the Russian hopes to rebound from his loss to Douglas Lima last November, a defeat which cost him the championship gold. Lima’s third round knockout meant he levelled the scores at 1-1 with “The Spartan”, so a potential rubber match could be on the cards.
Njokuani is a fearsome prospect, undefeated in nine fights and with a KO ratio that surpasses that of the former champion. Of his 17 MMA victories, 10 have come by way of knockout, whilst Koreshkov has 10 knockouts from his 19 victories. He had a successful career in Muay Thai and kickboxing before transitioning full-time to mixed martial arts, so he has shown he can operate with high-level strikers.
It’s undoubtedly going to be a thrilling main event, though it’s the Russian’s title credentials that have him in favour at 2/7 with Skybet to take home the victory.
(Lima KOs Koreshkov at Bellator 164)
However, he hasn’t been in action since December of 2016, when he suffered the worst defeat of his career at the hands of Lima. After injuring himself and being forced out of a potential March bout, he will be stepping in against another knockout artist 9 months later. Defeat could still be playing on his mind.
In his favour is the level of competition Koreshkov has consistently faced, including a win over the current champ Lima, former UFC champion Benson Henderson, and another former Bellator title holder in Lyman Good.
He also has great company at Storm Gym in Omsk, as his coach Alexander Shlemenko is devoting his time to Koreshkov in the hopes he can challenge for the welterweight strap again in the near future.
If Njokuani could cause the upset, it would be a fresh challenger to Brazil’s Lima, and a new face amongst the welterweight division’s elite, along with Rory MacDonald now vying for his own shot.
It means there’s an exciting few months ahead of us at 170lbs, with Bellator 182 on August 25th being the first in many important nights for the bustling division.
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