Not for the closeness of the final outcome, but for the amount of dominance put forth by Andrey Koreshkov on Benson Henderson back at Bellator 153, the two receive top honors so far in 2016.
Koreshkov entered as the welterweight champion, but few outside of his camp and friends felt he would leave the Mohegan Sun Arena on April 22 with the title still around his waist.
In an effort to get closer to the UFC, Bellator MMA and president Scott Coker opened up the checkbook and signed Henderson, a former UFC lightweight champion to a multi-fight deal. Before he left the UFC, Henderson had started competing at welterweight, so the decision to pair him with Koreshkov was an easy one.
But nothing came easy for “Smooth” on this night.
Koreshkov, a 25-year-old from Russia who won gold at the 2010 World Combat Games in Pankration, picked up his sixth consecutive win since a 2013 loss to then-Bellator champ Ben Askren.
Other consideration went to Phil Davis-Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, Pat Curran-Georgi Karakhanyan and Matt Mitrione-Carl Seumanutafa.