With any number of Bellator’s Russian fighters wanting on October’s Bellator Moscow card, one welterweight ex-champ has got his wish.
Andrey Koreshkov expressed following his win at Bellator 264 a few weeks back that he wanted on the Moscow card, which marks the promotion’s debut in Russia. Well, it will indeed happen, against former UFC standout Rustam Khabilov. Tass.ru reporter Igor Lazorin was first to report the news, which was later confirmed by Bellator officials.
Returning to the Bellator cage for the first time in well over a year at Bellator 265, Koreshkov (24-4) will look to build on a two-fight win streak as he works his way back to title contention. Just weeks ago, Koreshkov put on a dominant performance against the gritty Sabah Homasi. Prior to that, the Russian had taken a fight outside the promotion at home in Russia as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The welterweight landscape in Bellator looks a fair bit different from when Andrey Koreshkov ruled the roost as champ. Koreshkov won the belt in 2016 against Douglas Lima, defending it once (opposite Benson Henderson) before losing the title in a rematch with Lima. After dropping the rubber match in the trilogy, Koreshkov would pick up a win over little-known Mike Jasper, before losing a close split decision to Lorenz Larkin.
Earlier this year, however, Lima was dethroned by Yaroslav Amosov, ending his second reign as champ.
34-year old Rustam Khabilov will be making his promotional debut in the bout. Sporting an identical 24-4 record to Koreshkov, Khabilov will be looking to make it two in a row, after exiting the UFC off a win, and signing with Bellator last year. Overall, Khabilov went 10-3 in his UFC run.
Bellator Moscow (Bellator 269) takes place October 23, 2021 at the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia. The card is headlined by heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko taking on American Tim Johnson.