At times, it felt like Douglas Lima vs. Andrey Koreshkov would never get going. And then, in an instant, Lima took the upper hand at Bellator 206 in the opening fight of the World Welterweight Grand Prix, choking out Koreshkov in the fifth round.
One of the more interesting bouts of the Bellator 206 main card Saturday night in San Jose was a battle of former welterweight champions. Meeting for the third time, Andrey Koreshkov and Douglas Lima each had one win apiece in their career series. Each had dropped the title to the other. Yet there was no belt on the line at Bellator 206, not for these two. In fact, welterweight champion Rory MacDonald was up competing in another weight class, for another title.
Instead, Lima and Koreshkov would clash in a rubber match to see who would move forward in Bellator’s welterweight grand prix. An impressive way to start off the tournament, frankly, with two of the promotion’s toughest home grown 170lb’ers.
Koreshkov landed a spinning back kick to the midsection of Douglas Lima early in round one, sending Lima backpedaling to the fence. Lima recovered, and the pair exchanged leg kicks before Koreshkov shot in for a takedown. Lima fought him off, but Koreshkov stayed on him, driving him back into the fence. The bulk of the round would then play out there, with the pair reverse, but not a ton of offense with the two unable to create space.
Round two saw Lima firing off a leg kick, and Koreshkov answering with a kick to the body in the first minute. A clinch in the middle saw Lima walk the Russian fighter back to the fence. He’d land a right, then nearly trip Koreshkov up with a leg kick. The leg attacks forced Koreshkov to switch stances several times during the bout. While they’d clinch slightly less, round two was a rather tepid affair as well — much to the displeasure of the crowd in San Jose, who made their feelings known as the round wore on with little in the way of action outside of Lima’s leg kicks.
Round three continued the theme, plenty of back and forth, not a lot of damage done. Koreshkov looked to land a takedown, but Lima was well aware of his shots. Clinching by the fence to end the round, once again, the biggest factor was Lima’s leg kicks. That said, the welterweight grand prix fight was a five round affair, and it was still anyone’s fight.
In the least surprising news of the night, Douglas Lima opened round four with a leg kick. However, action was halted thanks to a low blow about ninety seconds in. Koreshkov continued to look for a takedown, changing levels only for Lima to stuff the attempt easily. Koreshkov would then drive Lima into the cage, looking to find some way to get his opponent to the ground. Lima would add a knee in the final minute, and stun the Russian with a right with seconds remaining. He likely had the edge heading into the fifth and final frame.
Lima would be looking to build on that late flurry at the end of the fourth round as the final frame got underway. He immediately walked forward, throwing out a push kick as Koreshkov tried to create space. Lima then went upstairs, and Koreshkov needed to start thinking finish. Yet Lima was still controlling the action. Koreshkov shot in for a sprawling takedown attempt, only to be stuffed. Lima then managed to take the back of his opponent, peppering him with shots before getting his hooks in and applying a rear-naked choke! Koreshkov went out, submitted for the first time in his career!
Douglas Lima def. Andrey Koreshkov by technical submission (rear-naked choke), Round 5, 3:04