Bellator MMA returned to action Friday night with Bellator 182, live on Spike TV from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. In the main event, former welterweight champ Andrey Koreshkov returned to action for the first time since losing his title to Douglas Lima last year. He’d face the surging Chidi Njokuani in a bout that could see one fighter a step closer to a shot at gold.
In the co-main event, a catchweight bout between Brennan Ward and Fernando Gonzalez promised fireworks. It also marked Ward’s first fight back after that crushing flying knee loss to Paul Daley earlier this year.
In preliminary (and post-lim) card action, a number of key match-ups were featured, including significant bouts featuring Georgi Karakhanyan, and Chris Honeycutt vs. Kevin Casey. A total of ten female fighters were featured on the card as well, which boasted five WMMA bouts in the flyweight and featherweight divisions. Four of those fights went down outside of the main card.
Chris Honeycutt vs. Kevin Casey
After an early bout between Joey Davis and Justin Roswell ended in a first round TKO for Davis, Kevin Casey and Chris Honeycutt took the cage. The story early and often was Honeycutt’s ability to get the fight to the mat, which he did in both the first and second rounds. Casey, stacked up against the fence, had little answer. In round two, a little more a minute in, Honeycutt again had Casey down, and moving into mount was able to land a number of bombs from above, finishing with some vicious ground and pound before the ref moved in to wave off the fight!
Kate Jackson vs. Colleen Schneider
Flyweights Colleen Schneider and Kate Jackson were up next, exchanging early and often in the first. Jackson worked her kicks, with Schneider holding a clear strength advantage at least early on. Looking comfortable and at times smiling Schneider dropped her hands and seemed to egg Jackson into attacking; Jackson maintained her composure and with just over a minute in the opening frame remaining, managed to drop her opponent and follow her to the ground. The first wound end with Jackson in top control.
Between rounds, Schneider practically hopped back to her corner, with assistance. That, unfortunately, put an end to her night, as the fight was called on the advice of the ringside physician.
Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Daniel Pineda
Against Daniel Pineda, former WSOF champ Georgi Karakhanyan wasted no time getting going, pushing the pace early and landing some solid strikes before tying Pineda up against the fence. Pineda would reverse, and Karakhanyan would work to break free. Back in the center he worked in some leg kicks, but found himself on the wrong end of a Pineda takedown shortly after. Despite working back up it wasn’t long before he was put on his back a second time, with a little over two minutes to go in the opening round. ‘Insane’ would threaten with an arm-bar briefly but Pineda postured up and was able to maintain position. Georgi would make it back to the feet towards the end of the round only to be taken down a third time in a bit of a scramble.
In round two it was Pineda trying to execute on the feet, while Karakhanyan initiated a takedown. Pineda, however, reversed and was soon on top in his guard. Karakhanyan got his underhooks in and tried to hold on from the bottom; Pineda would manage to get an arm free and drop an elbow, but it wasn’t long before the ref stood them up. A low blow by Pineda, however, followed on the restart. Once action was back underway, Karakhanyan loaded up on a punch that you could hear miss. Pineda, however, was more successful, securing a double leg to take things back to the ground. An upkick from Karakhanyan connected and bloodied Pineda, and a few moments later the fight was paused for the doctor to take a look. That was all she wrote, as the doctor decided the cut was too severe. Two straight fights waved off on the ringside doctor’s advice, but that was a nasty upkick and cut.
Noad Lahat vs. Henry Corrales
Noad Lahat vs. Henry Corrales was up next, with Corrales the aggressor early and working to take things to the ground. He would apply pressure throughout, and at one point back on the feet, Lahat appeared to signal an eye poke and briefly stopped protecting himself. The ref warned him to continue, however, and Corrales continued on in the attack throughout the round.
Round two saw Corrales look for a takedown early, but Lahat was able to stay on his feet. This allowed him to work a number of kicks into his attack, however Corrales remained the more aggressive fighter, pushing the pace and moving forward a good chunk of the time. Lahat attempted to catch a kick but missed about halfway into the second; he would attempt to invite Corrales into his guard, but Corrales wasn’t interested. The second wound up being a much more closely contested round on the feet, and Lahat would manage to stun and drop Corrales ever so briefly at the end of the frame.
Round three started with a spirited exchange that resulted in Corrales latching on for a single leg and taking Lahat down, landing a couple of hammer fists in quick succession before Lahat tied him up from the bottom. Back on the feet, the exchanges continued before a huge head kick landed by Lahat, making an impressive crack as it did. Corrales shook it off, however, while Lahat, already opened up and bloodied at that point, would later again try to invite Corrales into his guard. No taker the second time, either.
Ultimately it would go to the scorecards, with Corrales taking the unanimous decision victory.
Philipe Lins vs. Vadim Nemkov
Light heavyweight action was next on the docket in Lins vs. Nemkov. Nemkov was the aggressor early, with Lins looking to counter. A number of heavy shots from both men found only air until Lins went to the body, and Nemkov answered with a kick. A Nemkov right hand would land about three minutes in however, sending Lins crashing backwards to the mat. Any follow-up punches were simply window dressing, as Lins’ night was done.
Talita Nogueira vs. Amanda Bell
Talita Nogueira at long last was able to make her Bellator MMA debut Friday. Having not fought in MMA since 2015, she met Amanda Bell on the preliminary card of Bellator 182. After a brief bit of jockeying on the feet, this went to the ground quick. Bell proved to be game, but the ground was BJJ ace Nogueira’s world, and just under four minutes into the first round, she had Bell’s back, and the rear-naked choke was locked in for the finish.
Ricky Rainey vs. Marc Stevens
In welterweight action, Rainey and Stevens circled early with Rainey holding the center of the cage while the pair went through a feeling out period. That feeling out resulted in just a few strikes thrown within the first half of round one, but Rainey managed to connect with a glancing head kick around the midway point, following it up with strikes. Stevens had a small cut opened on the back of the head possibly as a result of the kick wrapping around. Stevens would catch a Rainey high kick with under a minute to go, scoring a big takedown which may have swayed things in his favor with the judges given the relative lack of action in the round.
Round two saw an early exchange, then Stevens shoot for the takedown only to have Rainey force his way up. Rainey continued to press and force Stevens to retreat until he again caught a kick. Stevens was unable to make another takedown happen, however, while Rainey unloaded with some shots along the fence before they tied up. Stevens would attempt to counter with leg kicks and right hooks as Rainey stalked him around the cage; late in the round with Stevens working for a takedown, Rainey landed a number of hammer fists before the two dropped down. There, Rainey took the back and looked for a choke, but Stevens would survive and it would go to a third.
The third saw Rainey open with a flurry of punches along the fence accented by a kick to the body. Stevens was under heavy fire, and while he would survive, he’d eat a knee moments later. Stevens was forced into retreat and later in the round found himself on the mat, with Ricky Rainey landing heavy shots from above. That send Stevens into defensive mode where he gave up his back and risked being finished, only to survive and force Rainey to reposition. Rainey, however, worked to flatten his opponent out from the back with both hooks in, and either way this was looking like a 10-8 round. Ultimately it would go the distance, with Rainey taking the unanimous decision, 29-27 on all three scorecards.
Check back during the Bellator 182 event for a quick recap and results! You can catch the preliminary card below!
Bellator 182 Preliminary Card Results:
Ricky Rainey def. Marc Stevens by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Talita Nogueira def. Amanda Bell by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 3:44
Vadim Nemkov def. Philipe Lins by KO, Round 1, 3:03
Henry Corrales def. Noad Lahat by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Georgi Karakhanyan def. Daniel Pineda by TKO (doctor’s stoppage), Round 2, 4:05
Kate Jackson def. Colleen Schneider by TKO (doctor’s stoppage), Round 1, 5:00
Chris Honeycutt def. Kevin Casey by TKO, Round 2, 2:06
Joey Davis def. Justin Roswell by TKO (punches), Round 1, 1:35
Arlene Blencowe def. Sinead Kavanagh by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Bellator 182 Postliminary Card Results:
Matt Secor def. T.J. Sumler by Submission (keylock), Round 1, 4:00
Tom Regal def. Kastriot Xhema by KO (punches), Round 1, 3:21
Alex Potts def. Brandon Polcare by Submission (kimura), Round 1, 3:10
Josh Ricci def. Brandon Ware by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Kristi Lopez vs. Jessica Sotack ended in a draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)