Friday night, July 17, Bellator MMA returns to action live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., to present Bellator 140, where Douglas Lima will defend his welterweight title against challenger Andrey Koreshkov. Paul Daley, Brennan Ward, and Michael Page are also on the card, which should make for a great night of fights, especially with explosive talents like Daley and Page looking to make an impact.

Bellator’s welterweight division has been more or less wide open since long-time champion Ben Askren, who reigned over 1,000 days, moved on to ONE FC after Bellator did not re-sign him and the UFC passed on the free agent. Lima took the title in an April 2014 bout against Rick Hawn, decimating Hawn’s legs in the process, but has not fought since: originally scheduled to defend against Paul Daley as part of Bellator’s British Invasion in February, Lima was forced out due to injury. Now he returns to defend against Koreshkov, who won Bellator’s Season 10 welterweight tournament. Though Daley might have been a more notable name among fans, Koreshkov has but one loss on his record, to Askren, and has clearly done more in Bellator to deserve the title shot.

In short, it’s an earned title shot and the right move by the promotion.

Who takes that bout? Who takes the rest of the card? An all welterweight main card awaits. Lets take a look.

Rudy Bears vs. Michael Page

There’s something to be said for protecting an asset, because protecting an asset can mean developing a fighter slowly, which is usually a good thing. That said, Michael Page (7-0) is probably ready for a bigger challenge than Rudy Bears (16-13), a journeyman who is 5-2 in Bellator to date and returns to the promotion after winning the Shamrock Fighting Championships welterweight title and a new Bellator deal. It should be noted that Shamrock FC (no relation to Frank or Ken) has long worked with Scott Coker, and the promotion currently has a deal with Bellator where all Shamrock FC champions get Bellator contracts.

That said: this fight is all Page. Bears has rebounded from a serious drought with two straight wins, but Page is a phenom on the rise. He could arguably have been given a tougher challenge, but this match-up is designed to bring fireworks, which it should. Bears will look to play spoiler, but the smart money is on Page.

Prediction: Page by KO in the first round

Paul Bradley vs. Chris Honeycutt

Former UFC and Strikeforce vet Paul Bradley (22–6 (1)), a TUF 7 alumni, makes his first appearance of 2015 against another rising Bellator prospect, Chris Honeycutt (6-0). Bradley is coming off a win over Josh Neer at Bellator 129 last fall, while Honeycutt is yet to taste defeat in his pro career. A two-time NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler, Honeycutt will look to take this fight to the mat, but don’t discount his striking either. He has plenty of stoppages, but he’s using his wrestling to set up the ground and pound.

Still, he knows where his bread and butter is. This is far from an easy task for Honeycutt — Bradley is a very experienced fighter — but look for the prospect to continue his rise up the welterweight ranks.

Prediction: Honeycutt by decision

Brennan Ward vs. Roger Carroll

Brennan Ward (10-3) is a former middleweight title challenger (losing to then-champion Alexander Shlemenko in March 2014) who won his welterweight debut against Curtis Millender this past February after a little game of musical opponents on Bellator’s British Invasion card. Friday night he meets the unheralded Roger Carroll (16-11) in his second welterweight challenge. Carroll comes in as a last minute replacement, and while that can always throw a wrench in the works, Ward should have no problem handling the switch in opponents.

Carroll has been fighting in the regionals since 2008, and does hold a win over Clint Hester, but that was well before Hester’s UFC days, and Carroll has a tough weight cut ahead of him as he usually fights at middleweight.

Prediction: Ward by TKO in the second or third

Dennis Olson vs. Paul Daley

In the co-main event of the evening Paul Daley (36–13–2) makes his second trip to the Bellator cage under his current run in the promotion. There he will meet Dennis Olson (14-8), who fought at Bellator 11 and 15, losing both fights before moving back to the regionals. He took about a year and a half off between December 2013 and April 2015, when he returned to action and picked up a split decision win.

That win isn’t enough to ready him for the likes of Daley however. Look for Daley to make this a short night, and if Bellator don’t decide to match up the winners of the main cards first four welterweight bouts, Daley might just have the next title shot with a dominant performance.

Prediction: Daley by first round TKO

Douglas Lima (C) vs. Andrey Koreshkov

Douglas Lima (26-5) makes his first Bellator title defense against Season 10 welterweight tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov (17-1), and this is arguably the most evenly matched bout on the main card. Lima hasn’t fought for over a year. Koreshkov has been sitting almost a year as well, however, so ring rust, if any, will be even.

Lima appears to be the real deal. Look for a close five round war, and it’s a tough call, but he has the tools to win this.

Prediction: Lima by decision

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.