Bellator 97 takes place from the Santa Ana Star Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The fight card also features the final of the Season 8 welterweight tournament with Douglas Lima taking on Ben Saunders. In addition, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire will square off against veteran Rob Emerson in a featherweight bout.
Askren (11-0) captured the welterweight championship when he defeated Lyman Good in 2010 at Bellator 33. He has successfully defended the title three times. In his most recent bout at Bellator 86, Askren defeated Karl Amoussou by technical knockout. Askren, a wrestling specialist, stated “I feel like I’ve continued to mature and get better in every one of my fights, and July 31st should be no different. I don’t think Andrey has any ability to stop my wrestling and ground attack, so this will be another successful title defense.”
Koreshkov (13-0) earned the title shot by capturing the Season 7 welterweight tournament with wins over Jordan Smith, Marius Žaromskis and Lyman Good. Koreshkov has finished eleven of his opponents with eight wins coming by knockout and three by submission.
The main card for Bellator 97 will be televised live on Spike TV beginning at 7:00pm ET. The preliminary card will be streamed free on Spike.com at 6:00pm ET.