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Koreshkov (20-2 MMA, 11-2 BMMA) stopped Njokuani (17-5 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) with a heavy dose of ground-and-pound and got the finish at the 4:08 mark of the first round.
The fight headlined Bellator 182 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The main card aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.
Koreshkov kicked low early, but Njokuani fire back with an even heavier one, then continued to throw the low kicks at the ex-champ’s lead leg. Koreshkov tried a high kick, but had it blocked. Koreshkov started working his left jab, but again ate a low kick from Njokuani, then another. It forced Koreshkov to push in to look for a takedown, and he tied Njokuani up on the fence, where he got a takedown 90 seconds into the round. Njokuani scrambled back to his feet, but Koreshkov stayed on him.
When they broke away, the crowd eurupted when Koreshkov landed a kick, then slipped and found Njokuani trying to run him down. But seconds later, past the midway point, Koreshkov took Njokuani down and started landeing major left hands. Njokuani got back to his feet, but Koreshkov tied him up with his back on the cage and landed knees. Again, he slid him to the ground and made easy work of the ground-and-pound while referee John McCarthy watched closedly. Njokuani covered up and blocked many, but Koreshkov let quite a few slip through, and Njokuani had nowhere to go. Finally, after more than two dozen punches and elbows, McCarthy shut things down.
Koreshkov got back on track after losing his welterweight title to Douglas Lima this past November. Njokuani lost for the first time under the Bellator banner and for the first time in more than four years.
Gonzalez stuns Ward with slick third-round guillotine choke
Brennan Ward said earlier in the week that he could “wrestle(expletive)” anyone on Bellator’s roster if he had to, but preferred to keep things exciting. He switched back and forth between the two theories on Friday, but ironically it was the attempt to use his wrestling that cost him.
Fernando Gonzalez (27-14 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) shocked Ward (14-6 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) with a guillotine choke early in the third round after Ward shot for a takedown and got caught in their 178-pound catchweight co-main event. The tap came 62 seconds into the third.
Ward landed a takedown early, then worked ground-and-pound. But true to his word, he let Gonzalez back to his feet. He backed Gonzalez up looking to trade, then blocked a high kick. Ward ate a kick to the stomach, but continued to pressure Gonzalez. Midway through, Ward found himself needing to scoop Gonzalez up and slam him down. But once again, he let him back up to exchange. Gonzalez landed a kick to the body, then two lefts. But Ward answered back and wobbled Gonzalez briefly. With 45 seconds left, Gonzalez again when to the body with a kick, but Ward walked through it.
In the second, Ward again used a pair of takedowns to make sure the round was his and kept Gonzalez stifled. Ward threw heavy hands quickly in the third, but Gonzalez fired back with kicks. But when Ward went for a takedown again, Gonzalez caught his neck and cranked on the ground. It didn’t take long for Ward to tap to the tight guillotine choke, stunning the crowd and sending Gonzalez shooting to his feet in celebration.
Gonzalez improved to 7-1 under the Bellator banner and won for the second straight time after a split-decision loss to Michael Page. Ward has dropped two in a row and three of his past four.
Ellen takes split decision from Artaega
Brazil’s Ellen (4-1) got a pair of 29-28 scores to one dissenting nod for Artaega (3-2), who left the cage disappointed.
Arteaga tried to chase Ellen down early. Ellen backed away, then bounced on her feet looking for her own opening. Just past a minute into the round, Arteaga caught Ellen with a few punches and had her backpedaling. They tied up on the cage, but broke quickly and went back to the center. Ellen landed a crisp right hand, but it was Arteaga who came forward more. With 90 seconds left, Ellen tried to tie things up for a takedown, but couldn’t get it. They separated, but with 20 seconds left, Ellen got a trip takedown and finished the round on top in side control.
In the second, Ellen again kept Arteaga prssed against the fence for a while, and then past two minutes into the round, she landed anotehr trip takedown and took Arteaga’s back on the ground. She threatened with a rear-naked choke, but Arteaga reversed and got on top. Ellen threw up a brief triangle choke. But Arteaga got to side control and started to work ground-and-pound. Ellen went after a late leglock, but didn’t have enough time for it.
In the third, the two spent a good chunk of time tied up on teh fence. When the broke, the action was limited till Ellen landed a takedown with 1:45 left. She tried to work ground-and-pound, but there wasn’t a ton there, and with 40 seconds left Arteaga was back to her feet. Ellen tried a flying knee late, but the round wound up being a close one, and the takedown may have made the difference.
McKee stays perfect, cruises past Tugman
McKee (9-0) kept his perfect record as a pro with a unanimous decision over Tugman (10-7) in their featherweight fight. McKee won with a pair of 30-26 scores and a 30-27 from the judges.
In the first round, McKee found his range early with spinning kicks and kicks to the body. Tugman threatened with a takedown, but couldn’t land it, and McKee stifled him on the canvas for a good chunk of the frame. With 90 seconds left, Tugman blocked a high kick, but found himself working from the ground again. When he got back to his feet, he found himself taunted by McKee for teh perception he was not engaging.
With a minute left in the second, McKee turned up the heat and landed kicks and punches that had Tugman backing up. In response, Tugman tied him up along the fence, looking for a takedown. But it didn’t happen, and McKee never was threatened.
Tugman tried to pull off a major rally just past the midway point of the third when he was able to work for a guillotine choke from his back. But McKee managed to work his way out and back into half-guard, then cruised the rest of the round on top with intermittent ground-and-pound.
After the fight, McKee said he fought with an injured hand, suffered midway through the bout. He tied Bellator’s all-time record with his ninth straight win, then said he wants to fight on the promotion’s return to Dublin later this fall – saying he’s a McKee, a true Irishman.
Bellator 182 results included:
MAIN CARD (Spike)
PRELIMINARY CARD (MMAjunkie)
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