Bellator 118 Play: Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov (-505) vs Sam “Sammy O” Oropeza (+335)

Andrey_KoreshkovBellator 118 Date: May 2, 2014 Arena: Revel Casino Hotel City: Atlantic City, NJ Welterweight bout: Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov (-505) vs Sam “Sammy O” Oropeza (+335) Fight Breakdown: The co-main event for Bellator 118 will be a welterweight contest for the divisions tournament semifinals, and it will be between Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov and Sam “Sammy O” Oropeza. This bout was scheduled to take place last month, but Koreshkov came down with the flu and it had to be rescheduled. The Russian is the favorite heading into this match-up at -505 ($505 to win $100), while Oropeza is the underdog at +335 ($100 to win $335) at Several Bookmakerss. Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov (15-1 MMA, 6-1 Bellator) is a talented striker who is quick on his feet, has great footwork, and generally does a good job of moving around the cage. He has good head movement, and his striking defense in general is solid. Koreshkov puts together some terrific combinations on the feet. He uses his distance really well, works a solid jab, and has 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 his quarterfinal bout against Nah-Shon Burrell. 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 blows while remaining very accurate with them. He is an aggressive fighter who is always looking for the finish. The Russian has high fight IQ and does a good job of gameplanning for his bouts. He has pretty good takedown defense, and when taken down, he is decent at working his way back up to his feet. Training out of the RusFighters Sports Club under the tutelage of current Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, Koreshkov is well-conditioned and won’t have trouble going hard for three rounds against Oropeza should the fight go the distance. Sam “Sammy O” Oropeza (11-2 MMA, 3-1 Bellator) is riding a six-fight winning with all six wins coming inside the distance; two of them by submission, and three by TKO. In fact, he has never gone the distance in his 14 professional fight career. It goes without saying that Oropeza is a finisher, and looks for the stoppage 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. “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 works solid combos and has a nice kicking game, but he has holes in his striking defense, which is something Koreshkov could expose. The Pennsylvania native has a good sprawl and average takedown defense. When taken down, he is good at getting back to his feet. I question his conditioning going into this bout, because the 28-year old has never gone the distance in his career, and the only time he made it to the third round, he was submitted. If he fails to find an early finish, “Sammy O” may find himself in trouble in the second half of the fight. Fight Prediction: “Sammy O” will enter this bout with a height, reach, and physical size advantage over Koreshkov, but he will be at a general striking disadvantage. I think the fight will play out on the feet, where the Russian will outstrike Oropeza for three rounds of action for a unanimous decision win, if not earn the stoppage. Gabe’s Call: Koreshkov by TKO (strikes, 2:00 round 3) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Andrey Koreshkov (-505) parlayed with Joe Warren (-175) for -114 3.35u to win 2.95u

Written by Gabe Killian

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