When I managed to speak to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney after Bellator 69 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, he spoke very highly of welterweight prospect Andrey Koreshkov, who had just improved to 10-0 that evening. The twenty-two year old Russian fighter earned a spot in this season’s welterweight tournament, where he would quietly improve to 11-0 at Bellator 74 with a unanimous decision over Jordan Smith. At last night’s Bellator 78, Koreshkov looked to make a name for himself against Marius Zaromskis in the tournament semifinals.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about the main event of the evening. Former Bellator welterweight champion Lyman Good took the next step towards earning the title back with a second round TKO over Michail Tsarev, although he arguably could not have picked up a more unimpressive victory. This isn’t to say that Good looked bad up until that point -he didn’t – but because the stoppage was, frankly, cheap. Good accidentally poked Tsarev in the eye in the middle of the second round, causing Tsarev to turn to the referee looking for time out. It looked like the referee was about to call for a break in the action, but Lyman Good pounced on “The Lonely Wolf.” The TKO victory was awarded to Good shortly afterwards.
Good vs. Tsarev. This fight is why they say protect yourselves at all times, guys.
In the evening’s co-main event, Andrey Koreshkov lived up to his hype with a first round TKO over Marius Zaromskis. Zaromskis couldn’t find his range against the young, aggressive Russian striker, absorbing some hard punches and knees while mounting little offense of his own. Two minutes into the fight, a left hand from Koreshkov dropped Zaromskis to the mat allowing Andrey Koreshkov to drop punches to Marius’ head until the referee waived things off.
Koreshkov and Good will fight each other in the Welterweight tournament finals.
Koreshkov vs. Zaromskis
In non-tournament action, Daniel Straus returned to action last night, opting to take a warm-up fight before his featherweight title shot against the winner of the upcoming Pat Curran/Patricio Pitbull fight. While there’s a lot that can go wrong in these situations – namely the challenger loses and/or gets injured – Straus dominated his opponent, UFC veteran Alvin Robinson, on his way to a second round rear-naked choke victory. Also on the main card, Brian Rogers took to the cage for the first time since walking away from his job as a special education teacher to focus on fighting full-time. Rogers looked impressive against Dominique Steele, showing the aggression he’s known for, but also showing the patience and control he usually lacked. In the end, Rogers walked away with a unanimous decision victory.
One final note: Zoila Gurgel, the current Bellator 115-pound women’s champion who has yet to defend her title, returned to action last night on the preliminary card. In the non-title bout, Gurgel fought 4-2 fighter Casey Noland. Booking the champion in a non-title bout on the preliminary card of an event is already a pretty bad sign, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bjorn Rebney said before the fight that he’d assess Gurgel afterward. The good news for Gurgel is that she obviously won the fight. However, it’ll be interesting to see how confident Rebney feels moving forward with Zoila Gurgel after watching her lose the first round to a 4-2 no-name fighter who was essentially brought in to lose.
Lyman Good def. Michail Tsarev via TKO (strikes), 3:54 of Round Two
Andrey Koreshkov def. Marius Zaromskis via TKO (strikes), 2:14 of Round One
Daniel Straus def. Alvin Robinson via submission (rear-naked choke), 4:51 of Round Two
Brian Rogers def. Dominique Steele via unanimous decision
Zoila Gurgel def. Casey Noland via unanimous decision
Jason Butcher vs. Shaun Asher via submission (guillotine choke), 1:32 of Round One
Billy Horne def. Trey Houston via submission (rear-naked choke), 3:30 of Round One
Mikkel Parlo def. Jared Combs via TKO (strikes), 3:51 of Round One
Rob Hanna def. Rocky Edwards via split decision
Justin McNally def. David Blattman via submission (triangle choke), 0:38 of Round One