Andrey “Spartan” Koreshkov may not look imposing at first glance, but fans and fighters alike should know that one of Russia’s most dangerous up-and-coming prospects means business inside the Bellator cage.

In his first Bellator appearance since failing to take Ben Askren’s Bellator title, Koreshkov didn’t take long to wrap things up in the cage against Nah-Shon Burrell.

Koreshkov was able to land a knee to Burrell’s face and followed it up by throwing a vicious body kick that likely would have crumpled anyone in its path. Burrell stumbled backwards and the Russian pounced on his opponent for a quick victory.

“We were drilling techniques prior to the fight, and this particular kick was one of them,” Koreshkov told The MMA Corner following his victory over Burrell at Bellator 112. “My coach was with me and we were working on this kick minutes before the fight.”

It was an emphatic statement that Koreshkov needed to make. He looked every bit of the talented, yet raw prospect in his title bid against Askren. The former Bellator champ outstruck Koreshkov by a margin of 248-3. Put nicely, it wasn’t a good night for the Russian prospect.

“After evaluating my state after the fight, I discovered I had been mentally broken before the fight,” Koreshkov said. “My team and I thought it would be a good time to reevaluate what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong.”

Koreshkov explained that he and his team began working on his physical attributes, including his strength and stamina. The Russian also worked on his takedown defense and getting back up to his feet from the ground.

However, he likely won’t need those skills when he faces Sam Oropeza in the Bellator welterweight tournament semifinal. “Sammy O” needed just over three minutes to dispatch of Cristiano Souza at Bellator 112. Oropeza has six submission victories to his credit, but he is enjoying a six-fight winning streak where the last three wins came by knockout.

Can “Koreshkov 2.0” advance to another Bellator tournament final? We’ll find out when he fights Oropeza on April 4 at Bellator 115. The card is expected to be headlined by Vitaly Minakov, who will defend his heavyweight title against former UFC contender Cheick Kongo. The Bellator middleweight tournament is also expected to be featured at the event.

Special thanks to Alexei Zhernakov for translating.

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.

  • the criddler

    Sammy O has evolved from a one trick BJJ specialist to a well rounded fighter. His past KO/TKO victories show how he has evolved as a submission specialist with not much confidence in his power, to a killer, period. This additional weapon to his arsenal does not discount his abilities on the ground, of which koreshkov has 0. Sammy O may be considered a big underdog in this one by those who haven’t followed his career very closely- but look for a ground and pound stoppage in this one in favor of oropeza