Viacom’s brand of MMA is back this Friday, October 4th, in the form of Bellator 229 — going down at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California. The main card for this event can be seen live on the Paramount Network, as well as DAZN, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
The top of the card is getting one of the most important matchups happening this weekend when former welterweight champ Andrey Koreshkov meets longtime elite Lorenz Larkin. Having only lost to former Bellator kings Ben Askren and Douglas Lima (twice), Koreshkov is still one of the promotions very best at 170-pounds. He has gone 3-1 within the promotion since losing his world title in his rematch to Lima back in 2016. Being a protege of one Alexander Shlemenko, it’s no surprise that Andrey pretty much does everything well. He comes forward, he throws his strikes with conviction, and he knows when to shoot in for the takedown. You better bring your ‘A’ game if you hope to defeat someone of this caliber.
Lorenz Larkin has been fighting at an elite level for quite some time now. It seems like just yesterday that he was defeating Robbie Lawler at middleweight in Strikeforce, or besting Jorge Masvidal in the UFC at 170-pounds. Fast forward to his present day career in Bellator, and not much has really changed. He’s still the same dangerous striker that builds upon his sensational kicking game. He did have a bit of a rough start with his current promotion, dropping his first-two bouts. He first fell short in a tough decision loss to Douglas Lima, and then was stopped in brutal fashion by Paul Daley. having rebounded, Larkin now has back to back wins under his Bellator belt, and has another shot at defeating one of the company’s elites.
In the co-main event slot for Bellator 229, promotional veterans Saad Awad and Goiti Yamauchi will get it in. The submission skills of Yamauchi are top notch, and have aided him in securing six of his nine Bellator wins. Make no mistake, his standup abilities aren’t too far behind his grappling. Yamauchi has a defense-first style on the feet, and cracks off with some rather fluid techniques. He’s pretty much the total package.
As for Awad, he’s been involved in 19-Bellator bouts, sporting a promotional record of 11-8. He’s a bit of a gatekeeper in the sense that the guys that tend to beat him are established names, while the ones he defeats are much more obscure. Awad is talented in all facets of the sport. He doesn’t really have any glaring weaknesses, but doesn’t exactly excel in one area more so then another either.
Before that, Keri Melendez, wife of MMA great Gilbert Melendez, is up for his fourth MMA bout when she squares up with the 6-4 Mandy Polk. Melendez has shown tremendous power in her right hand, especially at 115-pounds, and used that weapon to help her achieve her first-two victories. We saw her have to fight off a couple of submission attempts in her last fight, and go on and take a split decision. As for her opponent, Polk may have a worthy record at first glance, but with further scrutiny it becomes clear that she has never beat anybody with a winning record. Nonetheless, she is on a three-fight winning streak, having found a first-round sub in each of those outing.
Opening up the main card, GLORY/Muay Thai kickboxer turned MMA fighter, Joe Schilling, will be scrapping it out with the heavy handed Tony Johnson. It’s no surprise as to what Schilling is coming to do. He uses his vast array of devastating strikes to bust up his opponents and knock them out. Or, he’s getting stopped himself, usually as a result of him being cavalier with his attacks. As for Johnson, he’s been around for some time now, having fought in Strikeforce in 2008, but has a considerably young record of 8-2, due to spurts of inactivity. He has been a bit more consistent lately, competing annually for three-years straight now. He also still possesses a ton of dynamite in his right hand. Pardon the overused cliche, but you don’t want to blink for this likely banger.
-Check out the Bellator 229: Koreshkov vs. Larkin lineup and weigh-in results, courtesy of Bellator MMA:
Paramount Network & DAZN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT:
Andrey Koreshkov (170.8) vs. Lorenz Larkin (170.9)
Saad Awad (155.3) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (155.3)
Keri Taylor Melendez (117.9) vs. Mandy Polk (117.4)
Joe Schilling (186) vs. Tony Johnson (185.1)
-Globally on the Bellator Mobile App at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT:
Adel Altamimi (145.9) vs. Salim Mukhidinov (145.4)
Anatoly Tokov (184.3) vs. Hracho Darpinyan (185.6)
-Globally on the Bellator Mobile App at conclusion of main card:
Derek Anderson (169.6) vs. Guilherme “Bomba” (170.4)
Joey Davis (169.3) vs. Jeff Peterson (169.2)
Johnny Eblen (185.9) vs. Mauricio Alonso (184.6)
Vladimir Tokov (155.1) vs. Brandon Hastings (154)
Jordan Newman (185.2) vs. Riley Miller (184.8)
Sunni Imhotep (155.3) vs. Kelvin Gentapanan (155.8)
Jay-Jay Wilson (145.7) vs. Jorge Juarez (144.2)