The path was almost clear former Bellator welterweight champion Lyman Good to get another shot at the title.
But Good couldn't clear his final hurdle on Friday night. Unbeaten Andrey Koreshkov outlasted the New York City native in the main event of Bellator 82 at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. Koreshkov took 29-28 scores across the board to claim the Bellator season seven welterweight tournament title.
Koreshkov got the best of Good in round one, staying out of Good's range and making his punches count, moving in and out and landing effective combos. Koreshkov dropped Good with a big uppercut midway through the round.
Good regrouped in round two. He scored a takedown and had his opponent's back for much of the round. He couldn't finish the fight with a submission, but it was enough to take the round.
Koreshkov scored a surprise takedown midway through the final round. While he didn't come close to finishing Good, he controlled him on the ground for the rest of the fight.
The Omsk, Russia native, who improved to 13-0, gets a future shot at the title now held by Ben Askren.
"All Russian people are tough, all Russian people are strong, including myself," Koreshkov said through an interpreter.
David Rickels defeated Jason Fischer in a good back-and-forth catchweight (160 pounds) scrap. Fischer (6-1) controlled the first round. The pace picked up in round two, with both fighters having their moments. Rickels opened a cut on Fischer's forehead and ended the round raining down a series of hammerfists. Round three was the rare round where the judges recognized the fighter on the bottom was doing the most effective work. Rickels caught Fischer in a deep armbar, causing Fischer to take the unusual approach of stepping on Rickels' face to get the leverage to escape. Rickels, though, continued to work for submissions up to the closing bell. He improved to 11-1 after getting scores of 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28.
In a bout that went down about how you might figure, middleweights Doug "Rhino" Marshall and Kala Hose engaged in a wild brawl for all 22 seconds before Marshall scored the knockout win. Marahall (15-6), the former WEC light heavyweight champion, took a big knee in the Thai clinch from Hose, but when Hose (7-6) came charging in, Marshall caught him with a left hook to the jaw. Hose's last victory came in 2008.
In a lightweight bout, Russian prospect Alexander "Tiger" Sarnavskiy scored a workmanlike victory over Detroit journeyman Tony Hervey (15-13). Hervey provided the bout's most interesting moments. In the first round, he managed to escape a deep armbar which he appeared to have no business escaping. In the third, as Sarnavskiy pursued a takedown, Hervey jumped and attempted to run up the cage, only to end up providing more momentum for Sarnavskiy's inevitable slam. Other than that, Sarnavskiy (21-1) smothered Hervey en route to 30-27 across-the-board scores.
In an undercard bout of note, former NCAA wrestling standout Shawn Bunch was victorious in his MMA debut. Bunch, who wrestled at Edinboro College and now trains at American Kickboxing Academy, scored a unanimous decision win over Chad Coon. Scores were 30-27 across the board.