Former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov returns to the cage against rising contender Chidi Njokuani at the main event of Bellator 182 on August 25th, 2017 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Koreshkov is coming off a first round knockout loss during his rematch with Douglas Lima at Bellator 164 last November. The loss was only the second in 21 fights for Koreshkov and his first since 2013. Not only did the loss snap the Spartan’s six fight winning streak, it also stripped him of the title he won from Lima in 2015.
Losing The Rematch
Koreshkov won the Bellator welterweight title with a five round unanimous decision win over Douglas Lima at Bellator 140. After an impressive first title defense against former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at Bellator 153, Koreshkov faced Lima in a highly anticipated rematch and lost the fight.
After a tactical first couple of rounds, Koreshkov and Lima stood toe to toe against each other in Round three. After it appeared that Koreshkov hurt Lima during the fierce exchange, the former champion unleashed a deadly counter left hook that knocked Koreshkov out cold. The loss was only Koreshkov’s second defeat but both losses have been by knockout.
Chidi Bang Bang
Njokuani, the brother of former UFC fighter Anthony, isn’t known as ‘Chidi Bang Bang’ for nothing. The 28-year old Nigerian-American has a 58% knockout ratio with 10 KOs in 17 wins. He has not lost since 2013 and is coming off a unanimous decision win over UFC veteran Melvin Guillard. Prior to that, Njokuani destroyed Andre Fialho in 21 seconds at Bellator 167.
Njokuani relies on his kickboxing base and utilizes kicks to slow down his opponents and score knockouts ( he has four KOs via leg kicks or knees ). Although he is known more for his kicks, Njokuani can also hold his own with his punches. In fact, he’s never been knocked out before as all of his six losses have been by decision.
Odds and Prediction
Former champion Koreshkov is the betting favorite here at -325, while Njokuani is the underdog at 255. There is more pressure on Koreshkov to win as he has not lost back to back fights in his career. Both of these fighters will be fighting in New York for the first time and it will be interesting to see who does better in their Big Apple debut.
This is a good fight between two athletic specimens who both love to fight on their feet. If you take a look at their losses, neither of these two guys have lost by decision. Both love to win by knockout but while Koreshkov always looks for the quick stoppage, Njokuani is like a surgeon who wears his opponents out before finishing them.
We’re picking Koreshkov, though, because we don’t think Njokuani can take the pressure of the Spartan. Koreshkov is more powerful and has a more diverse attack. We’re picking Andrey Koreshkov to win on points.