Bellator 115 Play: Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov (-420) vs Sam “Sammy O” Oropeza (+335)

Andrey KoreshkovBellator 115 Date: April 4, 2014 Arena: Reno Events Center City: Reno, NV Welterweight bout: Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov (-420) vs Sam “Sammy O” Oropeza (+335) Fight Breakdown: The Bellator 155 co-main event will be a welterweight contest between seven fight Bellator veteran Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov and four Bellator fight veteran Sam “Sammy O” Oropeza. The Russian is the favorite in this match-up at -420 ($420 to win $100), with the Pennsylvanian being the underdog at +335 ($100 to win $335) at Several Bookmakerss. Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov (15-1 MMA, 6-1 Bellator) is a talented striker whose lone career loss came in a Bellator welterweight title fight against now-former champion Ben Askren. While he has good takedown defense, the Russian was unable to stop an elite wrestler like Askren from taking him down to the mat. When taken down, he is good at getting back to his feet, which he even displayed in the Askren bout. Unfortunately, in that fight, Askren kept sending Koreshkov back down to the canvas, eventually managing to earn a TKO stoppage midway into the fourth frame. Since the defeat, Koreshkov has bounced back with two wins, most recently a knockout of UFC and Strikeforce veteran Nah-Shon Burrell at only 41 seconds into the very first round of action at Bellator 112 a few weeks ago. Now back on track and with a victory tomorrow (Friday) night, he will only be one more win away from receiving his second shot at capturing the Bellator 170 pound gold. The 23 year old has excellent movement, and puts together some beautifully effective combinations on the feet. He uses his distance really well, has a solid jab he likes to use, and works a great kicking game. He has nice head and body kicks, and works the legs really well, too. The Russian loves to implement his knees in his striking attack, as was evident in the Burrell bout. He hurt the veteran with a knee, before sealing the deal with his fists. Koreshkov is a technical striker who dishes out a high volume of strikes while remaining very accurate with them, landing a high percentage of his attempts. He is an aggressive fighter who is always looking for the finish, and he has no quit in him. The Russian has high fight IQ, and training out of the RusFighters Sports Club under the tutelage of Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, he gameplans well for his bouts. To top it off, Koreshkov is a well-conditioned athlete, so I have no doubt he will be able to go 15 minutes against Oropoza. That is, if the fight manages to make it’s way to the distance. Sam “Sammy O” Oropeza (11-2 MMA, 3-1 Bellator) is riding an impressive six fight winning with all six victories coming inside the distance; two of them by submission, and three via TKO. In fact, he has never gone the distance in his 14 professional fight career. Six of his 11 wins have been by way of submission, while five have been the result of a T/KO, and both of his losses were via submission. It goes without saying that Oropeza is a finisher, and fights for the finish the moment the cage door slams shut – but at the same time, he stays calm and collected, managing to stay patient while dishing out a heavy volume of strikes, and looking to land his powerful right hand, which he used to knockout Cristiano Souza in his last outing at Bellator 112 nearly a month ago. “Sammy O” is not only dangerous with his right hand, but also with his left, as he is a traditional southpaw. He has a solid clinch game, from where he likes to implement his knees. He also puts some solid combinations together, and has a nice kicking game, as well, but he definitely has holes in his striking defense, which very well could spell for trouble against an accurate and powerful striker like Koreshkov. The Pennsylvania native has a good sprawl and average takedown defense, but when taken down, he is good at getting back to his feet. However, he does not have to worry much about being taken down in this bout, as the Russian prefers to keep his fights on the feet, for the most part. Oropeza will enter this bout with a height, reach, and physical size advantage over the Russian, but he will be at a striking disadvantage. Also, considering the fact that the 28 year old has never been the distance, and the only time he made it to the third round he was submitted, I would say that his cardio is very questionable, and think it’s safe to say that Koreshkov will have the advantage in that department. Gabe’s Prediction: Simply put, I think this fight is going to play out on the feet, and while Koreshkov is the shorter fighter with a reach disadvantage, he is the superior striker, so I think he will manage to put Oropeza away within three rounds. If not, I think he will do enough to win all three rounds on the judges’ scorecards. Gabe’s Call: Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov by KO (strikes, 2:13 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Koreshkov (-420) parlayed with Minakov (-280) for -147 5u to win 3.4u

Written by Gabe Killian

Leave a Reply

Bellator 115’s Dan Cramer: ‘On any given day, I can beat anybody in my weight class’

MMA Odds and Ends for Thursday: More New UFC Fights Announced