Friday night, the Bellator promotion will head to Israel for the first time with the Bellator 164 card. Headlined by a welterweight title fight, the card is full of Israeli fighters, as well as some Bellator veterans to bolster the card with star power.
In the headlining bout, Andrey Koreshkov defends his welterweight crown in a rematch when he takes on former champion Douglas Lima. In their first bout, Koreshkov became the champion in his decision victory. It was a great bout, so hopefully the second battle lives up to the first.
Also on the card are names such as Noad Lahat, Georgi Karakhanyan and Lena Ovchynnikova, among others. With that, let’s take a look at Bellator 164 and make some predictions for the night.
Andrey Koreshkov vs. Douglas Lima
The welterweight title will be on the line in the main event, as Russian kingpin Andrey Koreshkov looks to defend his title against the man he took the title from, Douglas Lima.
Koreshkov scored a unanimous nod in their first encounter, which led to the biggest fight of his career against Benson Henderson. There, he won a decision to run his record to 19-1, showing he’s one of the best welterweights in the world. His striking is nasty, which helps him defeat his opponents.
Lima has the edge on the ground, but has no problem striking with his opponents. He would be smart to pepper Koreshkov with leg kicks and try to get him to the floor. Coming off a win over Paul Daley is a big notch in his belt and gives him momentum for this fight.
That said, I am not sure this fight goes much differently. Koreshkov retains his belt with good takedown defense and superior striking.
Noad Lahat vs. Scott Cleve
Co-headlining the card is a featherweight bout, as UFC veteran and Israeli native Noad Lahat looks to make a successful debut with the company when he takes on Bellator veteran Scott Cleve.
Cleve is 15-5 and has shuffled between wins and losses since coming to Bellator. He has bested Matt Bessette and Isaac de Jesus, but took discrepancies to Daniel Weichel and John Teixeira. He is pretty well-rounded, so he will likely want to play to Lahat’s weaknesses.
Though Lahat trains with American Kickboxing Academy, he took both of his UFC losses via vicious knockouts to Diego Rivas and Godofredo Pepey. He was able to take wins in the organization against Steven Siler and Niklas Backstrom, showing he does have some skill.
This is going to be a close fight, and I do think Cleve has a good shot, but I will take home crowd advantage, as Lahat scores the win.
Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Kirill Medvedovski
The featherweights are set to square off in the next one, as Israeli native Kirill Medvedovski takes a big step up in competition against Georgi Karakhanyan.
Though most of his wins come via submission, Medvedovski has been training with American Kickboxing Academy in Thailand. Unfortunately for him, he’s lost three of his last four fights, as he took a step up in competition for those bouts.
Karakhanyan has fought at the highest levels for a long time. He is tough as nails on the feet and very skilled on the ground. He has a lethal guillotine choke and has no problem taking a shot on the feet to land one himself. Simply put, wherever the fight is contested, Karakhanyan will have no problems gaining an advantage.
Karakhanyan is too much of a step up for Medvedovski, as he will finish the Israeli by either knockout or submission.
Lena Ovchynnikova vs. Karla Benitez
Kicking off the main card are the ladies, as flyweight Lena Ovchynnikova returns to the Bellator cage to take on promotional debutant Karla Benitez.
At 10-4, Ovchynnikova is a kickboxer who has surprisingly won most of her bouts via submission. She hasn’t been the most active mixed martial artist, as she does take fights in other combat sports. Her only Bellator bout saw her fall to Rebecca Ruth, so she is looking for some redemption in her sophomore effort.
Benitez is 13-9-1, showing she has a great deal of experience all around the world. She has shown submission defense to be among her weaknesses, which is what could play right into the hands of Ovchynnikova.
It’s for that reason that I believe that Ovchynnikova will be victorious here, striking until she gets Benitez down, where she can tap her out.
Preliminary Card Quick Predictions
Joaquin Buckley def. Jackie Gosh
Kfir Eittan def. Chen Shhori
Moshe Rand def. Haitham Kiuof
Elizar Tariku def. Rob Becker
Alexey Trofimov def. Sol Renato
Vitaly Khmeinytysk def. Almog Shay
Olga Rubin def. Laurita Cibirite
Raz Bring def. Maor Kazalkopy
Aleksandr Nikulin def. Avi Baron
Honor Kelesh def. Omri Barel
Haim Gozali def. Zane Clerk