Bellator 164 makes its way to the Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel this Thursday. The event will air in the United States at 8:00 p.m. CT on Friday night. Welterweight Champion Andrey Koreshkov goes up against the man he beat for the title back in July, Douglas Lima, in the main event. This will be Koreshlov’s second title defense. He completely dominated former UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson at Bellator 153 back in April. Lima is coming off a unanimous decision over Paul Daley at Bellator 158.
The co-main event pits UFC veteran Noad Lahat against Scott Cleve. Lahat’s last fight was under the UFC banner where he lost to Diego Rivas at UFC Fight Night 82 back in February. Cleve is 2-2 over his last four fights, losing to John Teixeira in his most recent outing.
On the women’s side, Ukranian kickboxer Lena Ovchynnikova looks for her first win under the Bellator banner as she takes on Karla Benitez in a battle of flyweights. The four-fight main card rounds with another Featherweight Division battle as top contender Georgi Karakhanyan takes on Kirill Medvedovsky. Let’s review each of them in-depth…
THE MAIN CARD
Andrey Koreshkov (19-1) vs. Douglas Lima (27-6) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
I don’t expect this fight to be any different than their first encounter. Andrey Koreshkov dominated Lima in every phase. For Lima to have any success this time around he has to control distance with a steady dose of kicks to the body and legs. If he allows Koreshkov to consistently get inside like he did in the first fight, then Andrey will cruise to another easy UD.
Andrey Koreshkov is one of the best welterweights in MMA, he’s ranked #10 at MMATorch.com. Like the first fight, this one will be a one-sided affair as well.
Pick: Koreshkov by decision
Noad Lahat (9-2) vs. Scott Cleve (15-5) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Noad Lahat makes his Bellator debut after accumulating a 2-2 record in the UFC. The two losses came by way of knockout (flying knee), while his two wins were by decision. Scott Cleve comes into Thursday’s fight having trading wins and losses over his last four fights, all under the Bellator banner.
Cleve will want to keep the fight standing due to the fact he is the better striker with much heavier hands. Nine of Cleve’s fifteen wins were by knockout. Four of Lahat’s nine victories have come by submission, and two by knockout. Lahat has a second degree black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I think fighting in front of his hometown fans powers him through for the win.
Pick: Lahat by submission
Georgi Karakhanyan (25-6-1) vs. Kirill Medvedovsky (6-1) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
James Gallagher was originally booked to face Kirill Medvedovsky, but after he was moved to Bellator 169, Georgi Karakhanyan stepped in. Karakhanyan is coming off of a knockout victory over Bubba Jenkins at Bellator 160, evening up his record at 2-2 over his last four fights.
I’m interested to see how Kirill Medvedovsky fares against a fighter like Karakhanyan. He’s taking a big step up in the level of competition with Karakhanyan. I think the former WSOF featherweight champion has more than one way to win to win this fight.
Lena Ovchynnikova (10-4) vs. Karla Benitez (13-9-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Lena Ovchynnikova’s debut fight under the Bellator banner at Bellator 150 was disappointing. I was surprised to see her take a UD loss to Rebecca Ruth on that night. I expect a different result on Thursday when she steps into the cage against Karla Benitez. This is a good fight for Lena, and a fight she should win.
Pick: Ovchinnikova by submission
PRELIMS QUICK PICKS
Buckley over Gosh
Eittan over Shhori
Kiuof over Rand
Tariku over Becker
Trofimov over Renato
Khmeinytsky over Shay
Rubin over Cibirite
Bring over Kazalkopy
Nikulin over Baron
Keles over Barel
Gozali over Clerk
Enjoy the fights!
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIEW OF THE PREVIOUS BELLATOR CARD: BELLATOR 163 PREVIEW: Fight by fight preview and predictions including McGeary vs. Davis, Awad vs. Ward