By Brian Woodman Jr.
Ben Henderson (23-6), who previously held lightweight championships for the UFC and WEC, was poised to win a welterweight belt during his debut with Bellator MMA on April 22 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. But current Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Korsakov (19-1), who fought Henderson that evening in the main event at Bellator 153, dominated Henderson for five rounds and retained his belt.
Henderson tried to use his wrestling game to advantage during the fight, frequently shooting for the Russian’s legs. But Koreshkov kept it a standing battle with high kicks (including a spinning back kick to the face) and knees throughout the bout, although he attempted a guillotine choke near the end of the fight.
During the co-main event, former Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull (25-3) submitted Henry Corrales (12-3) with a guillotine choke during the second round while hanging from his opponent. Both fighters fought cautiously during the standing portion of the fight, at one point receiving a negative reaction from the crowd.
Waterford’s Brennan Ward (13-4), who previously contended for the middleweight belt with Bellator, received incredible support from the crowd. But Cyborg Santos (21-16), who fought him during a bout on the main card, submitted him with a heel hook at about half a minute into the first round.
Brent Primus (7-0) defeated Gleristone Santos (27-6) by split decision during a 157-pound catch weight fight. Santos knocked Primus down during the first round and dropped a few bombs -- Primus responded shortly after by landing a punching combination, later attempting an arm triangle. The referee briefly stopped the fight during the second round after Primus received a kick to the groin. Primus ate a kick during the back-and-forth striking that marked the third round, eventually taking Santos’s back and going for some ground-and-pound.
The main card opened with Michael Page (10-0) defeating fellow welterweight Jeremie Holloway (7-2) in an fashion that was for him unusual -- he ate a few kicks while submitting him at at 2:15 in the first round with a toe hold. Holloway rushed him early in the round and tried to trump his stand-up game, clinching with him at one point, but Page remained elusive and dominant.
The preliminary card opened with a catch weight 158-pound fight between Richard Patishnock (6-4) and Djamil Chan (12-1). Patishnock appeared dominant earlier in the opening round but left the cage in a stretcher after receiving a punch to the chin that sent him to the ground and had the referree waving the fight off at 3:09 in the first. Officials described Patishnock as “awake and aware” as he left.
During the second bout, which was a welterweight fight, Chris Honeycutt (7-1) defeated Matt Secor
(7-3) by unanimous decision. Mike Zichelle (8-4) submitted Joe Cronin (2-4) by rear naked choke at 1:25 in the first round of a 195-pound catchweight fight.
Local favorite Matt Bessette (18-7), who trains in Hartford and previously competed in Bellator’s featherweight tournament, defeated Keith Richardson (14-7) by TKO at 3:14 in round two of a featherweight bout.
There were also four twilight bouts following the main event. During the first one, which was a 150-pound catchweight fight, Chris Foster (9-4)of Rocky Hill defeated Vovka Clay (3-1) by unanimous decision. Sam Watford (2-0) of West Haven submitted Dean Hancock (2-1) of Danbury during the first round of a lightweight bout.
Middleweight Tim Caron (4-1) defeated Justin Sumter at 3:38 in the second round. It was Sumter’s professional debut.
The evening ended with Blair Tugman (8-6) of North Haven winning a split decision over Jay Perrin