In the third thrilling clash between top Bellator welterweights, Douglas Lima and Andrey Koreshkov, fans will finally get to see who is victorious. In the first fight, Koreshkov was able to take Lima down and control him on the mat. However, Lima was carrying significant injuries so it’s not worth reading too much into it.
The second encounter was far more competitive. In the first round, both fighters had their moments on the feet but Lima started hacking away at Koreshkov’s lead leg – as he is known to do. While Koreshkov won the second round with ground control, the leg kicks were definitely taking a toll in the third and this may have caused the Russian fighter to aggressively pursue the finish (causing him to get finished himself).
Like his teammates, Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy and Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko, Koreshkov is extremely fluid on the feet, throwing accurate combinations and beautiful spinning techniques. As dangerous as his striking is, the Russian doesn’t mind falling back on his wrestling when the situation requires. After eating some kicks early from Chidi Njokuani, Koreshkov closed the distance, wrestled his opponent to the mat and annihilated him with ground strikes.
I anticipate Koreshkov will indulge Lima in striking exchanges for a bit, but he’ll ultimately try to take the Brazilian to the mat where he will have the biggest advantage in top position. I wonder whether he’ll be able to do this for five rounds or potentially score a stoppage on the ground? Skill for skill, Koreshkov is not outclassed on the feet, but he doesn’t have the same one shot power or brutish physicality of his opponent. He also leans heavy on his lead leg at times, which could be a recipe for disaster against Lima.
The Brazilian fighter is a destructive force of nature. Cutting a huge amount of weight to make the welterweight limit, Lima is renowned for his power. As we often see from heavy handed fighters, Lima opts for a single shot striking approach – knowing that he can lay anyone flat if one of his punches or kicks land flush. With big power in his hands and some of the most devastating kicks in MMA, Lima’s style isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing – but it’s extremely effective.
UFC veteran, Ben Saunders, looked lost on the feet against Douglas Lima before getting dropped with an uppercut and finished by a head kick straight from the depths of hell. Lima is not incompetent on the mat, but he certainly doesn’t want Koreshkov lying on top of him at any stage of the fight. Wrestling cost him in his last bout against Rory Macdonald and he really needs to keep the fight upright to give him the best chance of landing his power shots.
This is a tough fight to call since both fighters have clear paths to victory. Koreshkov could absolutely put on a wrestling clinic, but every round starts on the feet and Lima is difficult to put away. Lima’s leg kicks are otherworldly. Rory Macdonald said he’d never experienced more pain in his life than being kicked in the leg by the Brazilian. So long as Lima’s counter-wrestling holds up, I think he can land enough leg kicks and power punches to get his opponent out of there.
Pick: Douglas Lima +125
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