Lorenz Larkin made it three consecutive victories at Bellator 229, defeating Andrey Koreshkov by split-decision in an entertaining main event.
Since joining Bellator as an undefeated 21-year-old in 2012, Andrey Koreshkov has had plenty of success. The Russian was 13-3 in the promotion, with the three losses coming to Ben Askren and Douglas Lima (twice) ahead of Bellator 229. He also holds a win over Lima, has won two Bellator welterweight tournaments, held the welterweight championship, and defended that championship. Although he’s no longer the champ, Koreshkov responded to his most recent loss, a fifth-round submission at the hands of Lima in the quarterfinal of the welterweight grand prix last year, by defeating Michael Jasper by unanimous decision last March.
Lorenz Larkin was looking to join that small list of fighters to defeat Koreshkov at Bellator 229. The former UFC welterweight’s first bout in Bellator came against Lima for the welterweight title. Larkin lost that bout, and his next as well. While his move to a new promotion got off to a rocky start, Larkin responded with back to back victories last year. Now, in his first fight of 2019, Larkin had the opportunity to re-insert himself into the welterweight title-picture.
The first strike of note was a leg kick from Larkin after about 30 seconds, which Koreshkov caught and used to attempt a takedown. He didn’t land the takedown, but he forced Larkin against the cage. The duo largely canceled each other out, and separated halfway through the first round. In the center of the cage, Koreshkov landed a body kick, and followed it with a spinning wheel kick to the head of Larkin, sending him to the canvas. Larkin recovered quickly, absorbing a flurry of punches from Koreshkov, but staying in the fight.
After responding with a nice left hand of his own, the fight was once again in the center of the cage for the final minue of the round. Koreshkov continued to throw a variety of strikes, while Larkin looked fresh and alert for a guy who’d been dropped a couple of minutes earlier. The knockdown decidedly gave Koreshkov the round in an exciting and entertaining first five minutes.
Koreshkov attempted a spinning back kick to the body of Larkin early in round two, which Larkin reacted well to, taking Koreshkov’s back and pushing him against the cage. Koreshkov was able to switch position, and the fight stalled as both men worked for knees in the clinch. They then separated, and Koreshkov landed a couple of solid combinations as the clock ticked to the final 90 seconds of the round.
Larkin then controlled the center of the cage, and began to strike more aggressively. He threw a heavy flying knee to Koreshkov, which put the Russian on the ground. Larkin swarmed, looking for the finish and throwing a flurry of heavy strikes. Koreshkov was able to survive and get back to his feet, but Larkin put him down with yet another big knee. After another flurry of heavy ground and pound from Larkin, the bell rang, and we somehow made it to round three.
Both fighters were trying to strike from range in the opening minutes of the final round, with neither fighter landing anything of note. Koreshkov then shot for a takedown after catching a kick from Larkin, and Larkin pulled guard, attempting a guillotine. Koreshkov stayed patient and was able to get out, and end up in the full guard of Larkin. He was unable to do anything with that position, though, as Larkin slowly worked his way to his feet.
With about two minutes remaining, Koreshkov held Larkin up against the cage, throwing knees at the legs of Larkin while working for position. He eventually switched to a single-leg, and was able to drag Larkin back down to the mat. As the final seconds of the round elapsed, Koreshkov was holding Larkin against the cage after landing yet another takedown, after Larkin had worked his way to his feet. The fight went to the scorecards, and it could’ve gone either way.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) October 5, 2019
Result: Lorenz Larkin def. Andrey Koreshkov by split-decision (29-28×2, 28-29)