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Benson Henderson to fight for Bellator title in his first fight

After announcing the signing of free agent Benson Henderson yesterday, Bellator MMA has wasted no time in ending the speculation as to whether the former WEC and UFC Lightweight champion would compete at 155 or 170 lbs.

The promotion announced today that Henderson’s first fight in Bellator will be at Bellator 153 against Andrei Koreshkov and it will be for the Welterweight title. “Bendo” had two fights in UFC at the higher weight class, winning them both, in 2015. He won a split decision over Jorge Masvidal in his last UFC fight in November which followed a 4th round submission of Brandon Thatch in February.

Koreshkov is 23-5 and won the Bellator Welterweight Championship over Douglas Lima via unanimous decision in July at Bellator 140. That was his fourth straight win in the Bellator cage and fifth straight overall. He has not lost since being knocked out in the fourth round by current ONE Championships Welterweight Champion Ben Askren in a 2013 bout. Overall, he’s 9-1 in Bellator with 5 wins by knockout.

The Henderson-Koreshkov fight should do good TV numbers for Bellator, given Henderson’s track record in terms of TV ratings. This bout has been announced for April 22nd, a Friday, so this would not appear to be a “tent-pole” event for Bellator, which is interesting. Should Henderson win the title, he would likely end up facing the winner of the upcoming Paul Daley-Josh Koscheck fight and former Champion Douglas Lima would be another possibility.

Bellator 153 will take place at the Mohegan Sun Casino on April 22nd and tickets go on sale this Friday February 5th. There will be a presale for members of  Bellator Nation  starting tomorrow, February 3rd.