UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Benson Henderson made his Bellator debut on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun.
Yet things didn't go as "Smooth" as he'd have liked. Andrey Koreshkov, the big, natural welterweight, overpowered the smaller Henderson in the main event welterweight title fight at Bellator 153. Koreshkov (19-1) set the tone with a flying knee in the first round, and was effective in keeping Henderson at bay all night. The "Spartan" shut down Henderson's grappling, and when the former lightweight UFC champion did shoot, Koreshkov fed him a diet of hammerfists. Henderson was unable to mount any kind of sustained offense through 25 minutes of fighting.
In the end, Koreshkov dominated the scorecards, 50-45, 50-45, 50-45.
For the 25-year-old Koreshkov, it was his first title defense. He defeated Douglas Lima last July to win the title. Henderson falls to 23-6 after the loss.
In the co-main event, Henry Corrales stepped in on short notice and was hanging in there with former featherweight champion Patricio Freire. Yet "Pitbull" ultimately prevailed.
"Pitbull" sunk a guillotine choke in the second round, which Corrales succumbed to at the 4:09 mark.
Meanwhile, the local favorite, Brennan Ward — who hails from nearby New London, Conn. — walked in with a resounding cheer in his fight against Evangelista Cyborg Santos. Yet it was the Brazilian who got his arm raised.
Santos (21-16) was able to submit Ward via a heel hook just half-a-minute into the first round.
In the first fight on the main card, England's Michael Page came out furious, blasting Jeremie Holloway with a right hand moments after the opening bell. It was a matter of time from there, as Page — doing his usual showmanship — picked his shots. After a scramble, the two went to the ground and Page was able to secure a toehold, tapping Holloway out at the 2:15 mark of the first round.
"I think everyone's going to try and do that, they're going to try to wrestle me," Page said, when asked about the initial punch out of the gate.
It was announced Page (10-0) will next be fighting Fernando Gonzalez at Bellator 158 London, which takes place on July 16.