Only one day removed biggest free agent moves in recent mixed martial arts history, the man at the center of the shift, Benson Henderson (23-5) not only has a debut date but also knows exactly who his first Bellator opponent will be.

On Tuesday, Bellator MMA officials announced “Smooth” will compete for the promotions’ welterweight title against reigning champion Andrey Koreshkov (18-1) at the newly announced “Bellator 153: Koreshkov vs. Henderson” card on April 22, live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Henderson (23-5), the former WEC and UFC lightweight champion , was last seen earning a decision over Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC Fight Night 79 in November. This extended Henderson’s win streak to two straight since making the jump up to 170-pounds. Prior to this win, the MMA Lab product defeated Brandon Thatch with a thrilling fourth round submission in their main event matchup at UFC Fight night 60.

This marked Henderson’s first bout as a member of the welterweight division after reigning atop the 155-pound division for several years. During this time Henderson picked up wins over  a who’s who in the lightweight division, including Donald Cerrone, Josh Thomson, Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Meldendez

Standing opposite of Bellator MMA’s newest acquisition will be Koreshkov, a 25-year-old fighter out of Russia who took the title from Douglas Lima during a main event bout at Bellator 140 in July of last year. With only one defeat on his impressive resume, “Spartan’s” first title defense will likely put him in the position of underdog, a spot that champions rarely find themselves heading into a matchup. With 13 finishes in 18 victories, the 10-fight Bellator MMA veteran will attempt to stop a fighter who has only lost by knockout or submission three times in 28 outings.

About The Author

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José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.