Bellator 82 Preview: Welterweight Tournament Final

After taking last week for because of Thanksgiving, the Bellator Fighting Championships will return tonight at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Michigan for Bellator 82. 

Tonight’s action will begin at 6 p.m. ET with the preliminary card on and the main card will begin at 8 p.m. ET on MTV2 and in commercial free high definition on EPIX HD.

The main card will be headlined by the season seven welterweight tournament final as former champion Lyman Good takes on undefeated fighter Andrey Koreshkov. The winner will receive $100,000 and will be guaranteed a shot at the welterweight title.

The card will also see former welterweight tournament semifinalist David Rickels in catchweight bout of 160 lbs, as he makes his move down to the lightweight division. Also, Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy returns to the Bellator cage after suffering his first career defeat in this season’s lightweight tournament.

Andrey Koreshkov (12-0) vs. Lyman Good (14-2)

When this welterweight tournament started, these fighters were considered the top two fighters in the tournament and Good has been saying that he plans to win this tournament and get his belt back.

Good was the first ever Bellator welterweight champion when he won the welterweight tournament in the inaugural season of Bellator, but lost the title to Ben Askren in his first title defense. Since losing his title, he has gone 4-1 and is currently on a three fight winning streak. Two of his last three wins are by knockout and defeated Michail Tsarev in the semifinals of this tournament.

Lyman Good vs. Michail Tsarev Full Fight
Get More: Lyman Good vs. Michail Tsarev Full Fight

After winning his first eight professional fights, Koreshkov entered Bellator earlier this year and won his first two fights before being placed into this tournament. In his four Bellator fights, Jordan Smith is the only fighter to last all three rounds with him and is coming off a dominating win in the semifinals over former DREAM welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis.

Andrey Koreshkov vs. Marius Zaromskis Full Fight
Get More: Andrey Koreshkov vs. Marius Zaromskis Full Fight

Koreshkov is a dominating striker, which eight of his victories are by knockout and six of those wins have come in the first round. In his quarterfinal fight with Smith, he had to escape a tight rear-naked choke attempt and it was only the second time in his career that he went to a decision. Part of Good’s gameplan in this fight will likely be to close the decision and use his dirty boxing to wear down “Spartan.” He may also chose to attempt to take the fight to the ground and force Koreshkov to be able to get off his back.

Prediction: Lyman Good by decision

David Rickels (10-1) vs. Jason Fischer (5-0)

This will be a catchweight bout of 160 lbs. as Rickels makes his way down in weight from welterweight to lightweight. He is a five fight veteran of Bellator and was a semifinalist in the season six welterweight tournament. He had a highlight heel knockout against Jordan Smith in the quarterfinals, which he scored the victory in 22 seconds. He would lose to Karl Amoussou in the semifinals, who ended up winning the tournament.

Fisher is nicknamed “The Finisher” and he has finished all of his fights, with three of the wins coming by submission and the other two wins are by knockout. After winning his first three fights, which two of those fights ended in the first round, he made his Bellator debut earlier this year. Both of his Bellator wins have come in the third round and his most recent victory came at Bellator 76 against Kyle Prepolec.

Both of these fighters are known for finishing fights and Rickels showed power as a welterweight. He will look to use his striking to finish the fight, but Fischer may want to take the fight to the ground and stay away from the stand up portion of the fight. Whoever wins this fight, could find themselves in the next Bellator lightweight tournament.

Prediction: David Rickels via TKO in first round

Kala Hose (7-5) vs. Doug Marshall (14-6)

This will be the Bellator debut for both fighters and Marshall is a former WEC light heavyweight champion. After he lost the WEC title to Brian Stann, he went on a five fight winning streak and moved down to the middleweight division. However, he has lost three of four and is coming off a knockout lost at Super Fight League 3 to former Bellator light heavyweight Zelg Galasic.

After winning seven of his first nine fight, Hose has dropped four of his last five and all of those losses were by knockout or submission. All seven of his wins are by knockout with four of them coming in the first round.

This fight has knockout written all over it as both fighters look to make an impression on Bellator officials. If one of the fighters is struggling standing, they will likely look to take the fight on. Don’t blink when watching this fight, as it could end quick.

Prediction: Doug Marshall by TKO in first round

Tony Hervey (15-12) vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy (20-1)

This fight will be the opening bout on the main card as Hervey makes his Bellator debut. He will be fighting in his home state and has currently won two fights in a row and four of his last six. He is coming off a TKO victory over Jorge Britto at Score Fighting Series 6 and it was his eleventh win by knockout.

After winning his first 20 fights, Sarnavskiy made his Bellator earlier this season in the lightweight tournament quarterfinals against Rich Clementi. He was defeated by decision after Clementi was able to control the first two would with his ground game and submission attempts.

Sarnavskiy will have to have to avoid the takedowns, which Hervey will look for at any chance he gets. If he is unable to secure a takedown, it could be a long night for the Michigan fighter.

Prediction: Alexander Sarnavskiy via TKO in first round