MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Henderson vs. Koreshkov title fight set, Kharitonov signs with Bellator

Benson Henderson faces Andrey Koreshkov for the welterweight title at Bellator 153 Bellator wasted no time booking their new prized possession Benson Henderson. MMAJunkie reports the former UFC lightweight champion will face Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 153 in the main event. Henderson (23-5) heads into this fight off back-to-back wins at welterweight to Brandon Thatch and most recently Jorge Masvidal at UFC Fight Night 79. Prior to the winning streak, he suffered two straight losses to Donald Cerrone and Rafael Dos Anjos. Koreshkov (18-1) won the Bellator 170-pound strap in his last fight by dethroning former champion Douglas Lima by unanimous decision at Bellator 140. The only blemish on his record is a 2013 loss to current ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren. Also added to the card per his managment, undefeated middleweight Tim Caron (3-0) will be taking on Justin Sumter (0-0) who makes his professional debut. Bellator 153 takes place April 22 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Here’s a look at the card so far. Benson Henderson vs. Andrey Koreshkov Tim Caron vs. Justin Sumter   PRIDE/Strikerforce veteran Sergei Kharitonov signs with Bellator Per Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting, heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov has signed an exclusive multi-fight contract with Bellator. No word on who is next opponent will be, but the report suggested the Russian heavyweight will be making his promotional debut in May. Kharitonov (23-5) is on a five-fight winning streak and hasn’t suffered a loss since he competed under Scott Coker in Strikeforce – a submission defeat to Josh Barnett in 2011.   Joao Zeferino to fight Jon Fitch for the vacant WSOF title instead of Jake Shields.  Surprising news from WSOF on Tuesday via MMAFighting that Jake Shields and President Ray Sefo couldn’t come to an agreement on his next fight.   WSOF president Ray Sefo posted this story to the promotions website on Tuesday “While I thought everyone was on board to make this fight happen, unfortunately Jake Shields has informed us that he does not intend to honor the terms of his existing contract at this time and declined to sign a bout agreement to fight Jon Fitch, so we’ve had to go in a different direction,” Sefo said. Shields takes exception to the way his contractual situation was portrayed. According to Shields, who is coming up on the last bout of a four-fight WSOF deal, his main concern is that if he was to defeat Fitch, his current contract would be bound by the championship clause, which would eliminate his ability to negotiate his deal at a time when he would otherwise be a free agent. For his part, Shields says he was looking for an increase in the show money on his current deal, and feels they weren’t far off on contractual terms. But according to Shields, WSOF basically told him to take the title shot or leave it, and would not offer him the opportunity to take another fight against a different opponent and finish out his contract. “They basically said they were just going to sit on my contract,” Shields said. “It was take the title fight, or no fight at all. I signed the contract I signed of my own free will, I’m not complaining about that, but it’s either take the title fight and get stuck with my old deal if I win, or no other fight. This is happening right when I was about to start my camp.” The report also suggested Shields is looking to come to a resolution, but in the meantime this new championship matchup stands. Zeferino (20-7) made to the finals of the WSOF one-night lightweight tournament before losing to Brian Foster in the finals. He fought twice as a middleweight in the UFC, so the move up to welterweight won’t be much of an adjustment. Fitch (27-7-1) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Yushin Okami and has won three of his past four fights. WSOF 30 takes place April 2nd, no location has been confirmed as of yet. Here’s an updated look at the card Joao Zeferino vs. Jon Fitch – vacant weleterweight title Dave Branch (c) vs. Clifford Starks – middleweight title   Following his loss at UFC on FOX 18, Sage Northcutt to train ‘full-time’ at Tristar Gym On The MMA Hour this past Monday,  Sage Northcutt revealed that he will be training full time at the prestigious Tristar Gym in Montreal. Northcutt (7-1) is coming off the first loss of his career this past weekend against Bryan Barberena at UFC on FOX 18 “I will be up [at Tristar Gym] full-time, it looks like. I do have schoolwork still, because I’m still at Texas A&M, so I’m trying to figure out how exactly that’s going to work. If I need to come back to do certain tests and quizzes, or how that’s going to work out. So I’m still playing out that schedule, but yes sir, I’ll be training at Tristar.”   Parker vs. Yager and Alvarez vs. Ramm added to WSOF 28  Per press release, WSOF has added Jamie Yager vs. Daniel Parker and Ozzie Alvarez vs. Andrew Ramm to the WSOF 28 main card. Yager (6-4) is known mainly for making the finals of Season 11 of the Ultimate Fighter. He’s coming off back to back losses against Josh Burkman and Joe Williams. He hasn’t competed in close to three years due to injury. Parker (5-1) has never gone the distance in his career and is coming off a loss to Ramm this past January. Alvarez (6-3) had won five straight fights before losing in his last bout. Ramm (4-3) meanwhile has gone 2-2 in his last four fights. WSOF 28 takes place Feb. 20 at Next Level Sports Complex in Garden Grove, Calif. Here’s an updated look at the card Champ Marlon Moraes vs. Joseph Barajas – for bantamweight title Chris Gutierrez vs. Timur Valiev Daniel Parker vs. Jamie Yager Ozzie Alvarez vs. Andrew Ramm

Written by James Lynch

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