Eight men entered Bellator’s season-seven welterweight tournament. Four of those competitors made the semifinals and fought with all their might to state their case for a title shot. Fight as they did, however, only Andrey Koreshkov and Lyman Good remain, and only one of them can make a case towards challenging reigning 170-pound kingpin Ben Askren for the belt.

In addition to finding out which of the two will meet Askren, Bellator 82 presents Alexander Sarnavskiy with a chance to reclaim his status as one of the sport’s top lightweight prospects, as he goes up against Tony Hervey. Also, former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug “The Rhino” Marshall combats returning Kala Hose and, in lightweight action, David Rickels will throw down against Jason Fischer.

As always, The MMA Corner thanks you for choosing us as your home for your official Bellator 82 preview, and as we come closer to fight day, as well as the day we find out if the winner will truly get Askren for the gold, we thank you for allowing us to walk you through everything you must know about this card from top to bottom!

WW Tournament Final: Andrey Koreshkov (12-0) vs. Lyman Good (14-2)

Koreshkov (R) delivers a knee (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

Undefeated prospect Andrey Koreshkov wants to become Bellator’s first Russian-born world champion; inaugural welterweight champion Lyman Good wants his title back; and only one can challenge Ben Askren for the gold. We know what Askren will want to do against the winner of this tournament final, but before he worries about out-wrestling Koreshkov or Good, Askren must worry about Karl Amoussou and figuring out how to neutralize his grappling game.

In the meantime, we shall not forget that Koreshkov still owns one inch of reach over Good. Not only does he own the slight edge in reach, but one can also make a case for his killer instinct holding some superiority over that of Good.

Though he plays the “young lion” role in this bout, Koreshkov’s deadly hands and slick submission game still threaten to end Good’s quest to reclaim the gold, though Good’s only visible flaw in the past came in instances where his opponent did well enough to outwork him throughout three rounds.

Although Koreshkov maintains a bright upside regardless of the bout’s outcome, his cardio will need to appear in top form against the usually aggressive Good. Good also employs heavy hands, and although he rarely resorts to his ground game, he knows how to implement a solid game plan in order to either finish or outwork his opponent. To put this in perspective, only Askren can claim to have beaten Good with little to no doubt.

Can Koreshkov do the same? He absolutely can, and he will look for the kill early, but so will Good. With such a small difference in reach, one can only assume that Good will want to use his footwork to get in and out with his offense. The result will turn in another split decision, and Good will get his rematch with Askren when the dust settles.

LW: Tony Hervey (15-12) vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy (20-1)

Sarnavskiy (Sherdog)

Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy dropped a split decision to Rich Clementi to suffer his first pro loss, but he remains one of the RusFighters Sport Club’s top prospects on the rise despite experiencing his first defeat after going unscathed for 20 fights. As if he didn’t already have enough momentum working for him, he also maintains a steady grip on his status as a finisher, as well as that of an unorthodox fighter in the stand-up department.

Tony Hervey may hold veteran status, but despite a win over Alberto Crane, the 15-12 veteran won’t wow many with his track record. Although he does like to earn finishes in the majority of his fights, he can’t claim any by way of the judges’ scorecards, as almost half of his wins came in decision losses. That said, Clementi did not test Sarnavskiy’s chin as much as Hervey will aim to.

In a manner of speaking, this fight will prove more Hervey’s to lose than Sarnavskiy’s. On paper, Hervey’s knockout power and finishing prowess should accompany his experience to trump Sarnavskiy’s potential once more, but Hervey can’t bring the same fight as Clementi to Sarnavskiy, and Sarnavskiy should not expect as such. If this one stays away from the judges’ hands, which I feel it certainly will, one should expect it to end with Sarnavskiy taking Hervey’s back late in the first round and securing a rear-naked choke in order to notch a submission victory.

LHW: Kala Hose (7-5) vs. Doug Marshall (14-6)

Fans of the sport might wish they could speak on Kala Hose and the upside he holds, but they can’t. Never mind his 7-5 record or his current three-fight skid for a moment, but his last fight took place in 2010, which raises the question of how Hose will respond to the layoff.

Little can really come to light in regards to Hose’s ground game, but he does own seven wins by some form of knockout. As a matter of fact, those seven wins by those various forms of knockout account for all seven of Hose’s pro victories.

Doug Marshall will do well to remember this, as he comes off of a 34-second knockout loss to Zelg Galesic. The former WEC light heavyweight champion stands as yet another vaunted finisher of the sport, and after the loss to Galesic reversed the momentum of a win over Richard Blake, he will look to right the ship once again against Hose.

Ring rust proves a tricky, deceitful devil in this instance. Either Hose comes out proving that he never lost a step or Marshall comes out bringing the fire almost more passionately than he did in the WEC. My guess steers more in the direction of Marshall picking his moment to strike and earning a TKO win in the second round as Hose finds himself unable to overcome his ring rust.

WW: David Rickels (10-1) vs. Jason Fischer (4-0)

David Rickels owns his only pro loss to Karl Amoussou, but like the other prospects featured on this event card, the Muay Thai expert Rickels owns some respectable technical striking and a superb submission game. In addition, he brings a level of grit the like of which few can deal with, and coming into his fight with Jason Fischer, he does own the edge in experience.

Of course, Fischer stands at 4-0, and “The Finisher” lives up to his nickname to a tee. As a matter of fact, his last three tilts ended by submission, while his first fight ended by an early second-round knockout. Definitely, what Fischer lacks in experience, he makes up for in killer instinct.

However, Amoussou’s win over Rickels came as a result of Amoussou’s ability to best Rickels in every area of the fight, not because Amoussou found a finish against Rickels. Although Fischer deserves to show what he can do in his mission to finish Rickels, Rickels will showcase his arsenal in full and will find a way to halt Fischer’s best attempts to end the fight. Count on Rickels to overwhelm Fischer on the feet and secure a TKO victory in the second round.

Preliminaries

FW: Mario Navarro (3-2) vs. Anthony Bain (1-0)

While Anthony Bain only owns one pro win, Mario Navarro aims to snap a two-fight losing skid. Expect Navarro to use that losing skid as motivation to make a solid first impression in his Bellator debut. Give me Navarro by unanimous decision.

BW: Chad Coon (0-1) vs. Shawn Bunch (0-0)

To put this in simplest terms, the decorated amateur wrestler Bunch makes his MMA debut against Coon, who would like to earn his first pro win. Bunch owns a primary strength in wrestling, and he will use that wrestling to tire out Coon and set him up for another loss. Look for a third-round knockout victory from Bunch.

MW: Brendan Seguin (23-18) vs. Giva Santana (17-2)

Normally, Giva Santana and his awesome arm-snatching regiment earns an easy win in predictably exciting fashion. However, the 23-18 veteran, Brendan Seguin, will not serve as Santana’s welcome-back mat to Bellator’s middleweight scene. Whatever Seguin presents to Santana will threaten Santana at moments throughout the fight, but ultimately Santana will escape with a unanimous decision victory.

LHW: Terry Davinney (9-5) vs. Matt Van Buren (5-1)

Matt Van Buren found a roadblock in Matt Mucitelli, but looks to rebound against Terry Davinney. Davinney rides a three-fight winning streak and looks to move to 4-0 when he meets Van Buren. Van Buren will come out prepared to go to a decision if need be, but he will still manage to turn in a knockout victory in the third round after winning the first and only slightly dropping the second.

LW: Jeremy Czarnecki (5-4) vs. Justin Houghton (4-1)

Believe it or not, Justin Houghton trains out of Team Pound 4 Pound, if you can believe that name exists for a team (no offense, fellas). In any event, Houghton hopes to rebound from his first pro loss, but Jeremy Czarnecki aims for a ‘W’ of his own after a recent loss to Frank Caraballo. Experience should favor “The Czar,” but Houghton will return to form with a second-round TKO midway through the middle frame.

LW: Hector Garcia (2-3) vs. John Schulz (2-0)

What can one make of Hector Garcia’s 2-3 record on paper? While he owns three more fights in his career than 2-0 KOTC veteran John Schulz, he holds a subpar record, though he always maintains a chance to earn a win and bat .500 in his career. That said, Schulz will gain a victory by way of a D’Arce choke in the first round.

Photo: Lyman Good (right), who faces Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 82 (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.