In the midst of all of the madness that is Conor McGregor and the UFC, as well as the UFC 197 card, Bellator MMA had an important show that saw the company debut of former UFC Champion Ben "Smooth" Henderson.
Ben Henderson is one of the bigger names Bellator has been able to pull away from the UFC, which also includes Matt Mitrione and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (through litigation), and looked to start a domino effect. Henderson chose to fight at 170 pounds and for the championship against Andrey Koreshkov.
Right out of the gate, Koreshkov's size advantage was a giant factor. Koreshkov pieced up Henderson with huge kicks before dropping Henderson with a knee to close the round. Things weren't looking pretty for Henderson, as it could have arguably been a 10-8 round for Koreshkov.
The theme continued over the next three rounds. Henderson couldn't overcome the size advantage to connect with strikes, and was denied every single takedown attempt he tried to produce. Occasionally Henderson would work Koreshkov against the cage, but nothing came of it. Henderson's best round was the fifth, which saw him land a few strikes early. Still, Koreshkov soundly beat him, taking all five rounds with ease to retain the title.
Somehow, Henderson barely looked like he'd been through a fight after. He said he'd listen to the bosses about his future, but that he hated losing and he wanted to get back in the cage as soon as possible.
Elsewhere on the show Michael "Venom" Page continued to drop jaws literally and figuratively. The flashy striker handled Jeremie Holloway by dropping him flat with a right hand early in the bout, before being pressed against the cage. Upon separation, Page floored Holloway with a right and submitted him with an inverted toe hold, a move rarely seen in MMA. After the bout it was announced that Page will take on Fernando Gonzalez at Bellator London in July. Fernandez is riding a 5-fight winning streak.
You can see the main card results for Bellator 153 below:
Bellator Welterweight Championship
Andrey Koreshkov (c) defeated Ben Henderson via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) to retain the Bellator Welterweight Championship
Patricio Freire def. Henry Corrales via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 4:09
Evangelista Santos def. Brennan Ward via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 0:30
Brent Primus def. Gleristone Santos via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Michael Page def. Jeremie Holloway via submission (toe hold) – Round 1, 2:15