An all-Russian rumble at Bellator MMA's welterweight division will be coming to the Moscow card in October.
Igor Lazorin was the first to announce on Friday that the Andrey Koreshkov (24-4) and Rustam Khabilov (24-4) had agreed to face one another at Bellator 269. The Moscow card on Oct. 23 will be held at the VTB Arena, and the 170-pound matchup was subsequently confirmed by ESPN and then Bellator itself shortly after the news broke.
Since suffering the first decision defeat of his career – a split decision setback to Lorenz Larkin in 2019 – Koreshkov left Bellator for a single appearance with AMC Fight Nights, the renamed league of Fight Nights Global. The former champ hit a first-round armbar on Adriano Rodrigues de Oliveira to put himself back on the winning track, and he came back in August against Sabah Homasi. At Bellator 264, Koreshkov outworked Homasi en route to a one-sided unanimous verdict in his favor. Over the years, Koreshkov has defeated the likes of Douglas Lima, Benson Henderson, Lyman Good and Marius Zaromskis.
Although Khabilov signed with Bellator in 2020, this will be his first appearance inside a cage since late 2019 when he beat Sergey Khandozhko at the UFC Moscow event of UFC Fight Night 163. The Khandozhko bout marked the first time Khabilov had competed at 170 pounds since a one-off appearance with One Championship in 2012. His own resume includes victories over Jorge Masvidal, Desmond Green and Chris Wade after a 13-fight career inside the Octagon.
Bellator’s debut in Russia will go down at the VTB Arena in Moscow on Oct. 23, and it will be placing Fedor Emelianenko in the headliner spot against ex-title challenger Timothy Johnson. The likely co-main event also stays in the heavyweight division, as former champ Vitaly Minakov looks to work his way back up the ladder against one-beaten wrestler Tyrell Fortune. Additional, Usman Nurmagomedov is targeting an appearance at the event, but no opponent has been designated yet.
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