Benson Henderson v Andrey Koreshkov: Play-by-Play/Recap

Henderson came into the bout with a 23-5 record, while the Russian sported a 18-1 record as the Bellator Welterweight Champion with Big John McCarthy as referee.

Round 1:

1st minute – Both fighters exchange cage control with no significant strikes.
2nd – A couple unsuccessful attempts at big rights by Koreshkov and one leg kick lands.
3rd – Henderson gets his leg grabbed and slips. The Russian makes a strong kick to the stomach that connects near the cage. Another heave inside leg kick lands.
4th – Maintaining control of the circle, Koreshkov landed a couple leg kicks and punches, with a flying knee attempt. A failed takedown attempt by Henderson who hasn’t landed anything less a weak inside leg kick.
5th – The champ lands a left to the challengers face, Henderson responds with one of his own. A flying knee connects knocking Henderson down, Koreshkov connects a couple hammer fists while the bell rings.

Round 2:

1st minute – Henderson misses several combo attempts and is denied a takedown.
2nd – Another failed takedown by the challenger costs him two rights to the face. More jabs and leg kicks from Koreshkov and a flying knee attempt are clearly hurting Henderson at this point.
4th – Yet another stuffed takedown by the champ; Henderson trying to take advantage of ‘points of contact’ rule to safe his life. Benson is finally starting to land shots; one to the head another to the body, followed by a nice leg kick.
5th – Body kick by the Russian does some damage. Koreshkov ends the round by pressing Henderson up against the cage.

Round 3:

1st minute – Henderson comes out determined with a leg kick,but Andrey nearly connects with a spinning heel kick. Both exchange light jabs.
2nd – Koreshkov hurts Henderson with a left after receiving a knee to the body, but Henderson shoots and the two lock up at knee level against the cage. Benson is pressed against him praying for a takedown.
3rd – The champ is content to sit there and feed the challenger in the head. Locked up against the cage for nearly a minute now, Henderson is likely just trying to tire Koreshkov out.
4th – They break for a moment and now Koreshkov is in the dominant position, landing knees to the body. They stand and release. U-S-A chants starting and the Russian answers wit ha body punch.
5th – A spinning kick to the head is blocked by the challenger with 10 seconds left.

Round 4:

1st minute – Another standing knee to the body by Koreshkov against cage.
2nd – The ole’ knee to the ass puts Benson to the ground momentarily. Now Henderson is pressing the champ against the cage hoping for a takedown.
3rd – Surprising that Big John is not separating them at this points. Flailing kicks to the champs shin somehow from Henderson, whilst bent over.
4th – More body kicks from Koreshkov suggest he still has a decent amount of stamina; only one lands. An uppercut drops Benson at 1:01! …but the champ can’t finish it.

Round 5:

1st minute – For some reason they hug to start the round, but Henderson lands a leg kick on his best friend. B Hen is putting the pressure on now, attempting to kicks to the face and landing a jab.
2nd – A blocked kick gave Henderson a flash of hope when Andrey slipped, but nothing comes of it.
3rd – Attempted leaning-left punch by Henderson results in a knee to his face, they go to the ground momentarily. Another stuffed takedown, Henderson delivers leg kicks while the champion stands over him.
5th – A spinning-back-fist 😉 is stuffed by Benson but he gets jabbed and resorts to laying down to retreat. Pressing a crumpled up Benson Henderson up against the cage to end the fight is a fitting end; just too much for the former WEC star.

My Decision:

49-46 in favour of Andrey Koreshkov to remain Bellator Welterweight World Champion. I give Henderson the third round but just barely, due to controlling positioning and pressing Koreshkov up against the cage for more than a minute.

The Champion dominated cage control nearly the whole fight and landed far more significant strikes. A few knees to the body, one to the head and a solid knockdown from an uppercut was more than enough to win the fight.

Official Decision:

50-45 unanimous decision for the winner AND STILL BELLATOR WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION ANDREY KORESHKOV. His record is now 19-1.

Post-fight Interview:

Koreshkov: I came here to win every round and that’s exactly what I did.
Henderson: I don’t like losing obviously, now it’s time to talk to the bosses to see what’s next.

Both are interviewed by the Bellator Joe Rogan look-alike.

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Feature image credit - http://mmajunkie.com/2016/04/bellator-153-weigh-in-results-champ-andrey-koreshkov-benson-henderson-official-for-title-fight