Bellator 115 Fight Breakdown: Andrey Koreshkov (-420) vs. Sam Oropeza (+335)

Andrey_Koreshkov One of the main card bouts at Bellator 115 is a three-round welterweight semifinal fight between Andrey “The Spartan” Koreshkov and Sam “Sammy O” Oropeza. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Koreshkov as a -420 favorite (bet $420 to win $100) while Oropeza is a +335 underdog (bet $100 to win $335). MMA oddsmaker originally opened up Koreshkov at -425 and Oropeza at +305, meaning there has been balanced action on the line as it has tightened up. I can see why there has been action on both sides of the line, but I am picking Koreshkov to win as the favorite. Here’s why: Koreshkov (15-1) is an elite striker and is arguably Bellator’s top welterweight fighter behind Douglas Lima following the release of former champ Ben Askren, who is the only man to have defeated the Russian in his young career. Just 23 years of age, Koreshkov has already racked up a 6-1 record in Bellator with notable wins over veterans like Lyman Good, Marius Zaromskis, and Jordan Smith, a trio of fights he won to capture the Bellator season seven welterweight crown. And while Koreshkov did end up losing to Askren via fourth round  TKO for the title, he’s rebounded nicely since then with two victories, including a knockout over UFC vet Nah-Shon Burrell in this current tournament’s quarterfinals. He now faces Oropeza in the semifinals, and it’s a fight that is stylistically favorable to Koreshkov as he is the better striker and Oropeza’s wrestling is not even close to Askren’s. This is Koreshkov’s fight to win or lose, and that’s why he enters the bout as a decent-sized favorite, because it’s one he truly should win. Oropeza (11-2) has been a pleasant surprise so far in Bellator, going 3-1 overall in the promotion, including an upset victory in his last fight over Cristiano Souza to advance to the welterweight semifinals. The 28-year-old has shown stopping power as he’s won his last four bouts via knockout, but he’s also the holder of a brown belt in BJJ and is very strong on the ground. A Strikeforce and King of the Cage veteran, Oropeza’s only two career losses came to Myles Jury of the UFC and in his Bellator debut, when he was caught in a rare scarf hold armlock at Bellator 44 three years ago. But other than those two losses, Oropeza has been extremely solid and is someone who has really flown under the radar. In this fight against Koreshkov he comes in as the underdog and for good measure, but who knows? Maybe he can surprise everyone and make it all the way to the finals — but it’s a longshot, for sure, and that’s why you see the odds the way they are. While Oropeza is an underrated talent, Koreshov has all the makings of an elite fighter in the welterweight division, and I believe he will be able to control the majority of the standup in this bout and win the fight by either knockout or decision to advance to the welterweight tournament finals. The -420 line on Koreshkov is too high to play him straight but I feel like he could be worthy as one leg of a two-team parlay to bring down the juice of another fighter, such as Vitaly Minakov. As for the total, it’s set at 1.5 rounds so I’d pass completely on that one although I do slightly lean the UNDER 1.5 rounds at +150.

Written by Adam Martin.

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