It’s main event time, and for the first time ever, it features a top-level UFC fighter still in his prime (Benson Henderson) against the best Bellator has to offerKoreshkov) – and for a Bellator belt no less!
Taller, and with a pretty decent reach advantage, Koreshkomes out working long-range strikes, poking at “Bendo” with a jab and kicks from outside his zip code. The former UFC champ stays mobile and fires back, but Koreshkov is a phantom, and he’s racking up the points. In the final ten seconds of the round Koreshkov leaps into a jumping knee that cracks Henderson in the face, and Henderson is stuck on autopilot hunting for a takedown at the bell.
Koreshkov continues to stalk him in Round 2, launching kicks and punches and chipping away at Henderson’s midsection. Every takedown attempt the former UFC champ goes for is easily stuffed, and nearly every strike he throws hits air. Some do get through though, and for the first time in the bout Henderson begins to give Koreshkov pause with low-kicks to the thigh and shovel punches to the ribs.
Koreshkov starts off Round 3 by landing a clean set of knuckles to Henderson’s jaw, forcing Henderson to once again shoot for a takedown. He isn’t successful at getting Koreshkov down, but he does manage to hold him against the fence for a bit. That doesn’t last long, and after Koreshkov dishes out some pain while the American struggles to get up, he batters the American some more on the feet.
Henderson catches a brief respite from the beating when he manages to press his foe against the cage for about a minute in Round 4. But it’s short-lived, and in the final minute of the frame Koreshkov lands a hellacious right hand that drops Henderson into another auto-pilot takedown. Very briefly does Koreshkov consider going for a guillotine, and then the bells sounds.
To his credit, Henderson never stops going for it, even into Round 5. But every takedown attempt is met with an impenetrable sprawl, every low-kick is shrugged off, and every haymaker hits nothing but air. Koreshkov is simply too big and too skilled, and time runs out with Bendo alive but defeated.
Result: Andrey Koreshkov def. Benson Henderson via Unanimous Decision