Smith knows that many have picked Andrey
Koreshkov to walk through the
Bellator Fighting Championships' Season 7 welterweight
tournament. He just doesn't agree with the assessment.
A 21-fight veteran, Smith believes he can use his experience
advantage to defy the bookmakers on Friday night and send Koreshkov
packing in their quarterfinal matchup at
Bellator 74, which emanates from Caesars Hotel and Casino in
Atlantic City, N.J., and airs on MTV2.
“I've always felt like I've performed better as an underdog, so
when I see people talking on websites about how I'm supposed to
lose to Andrey
Koreshkov, that's fine with me,” Smith recently told
Sherdog.com. “If people have only seen my last fight, I could
understand that, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make
much sense. I have more experience. I've fought and beat better
guys than he has. I'm morewell rounded, and I'm smarter than he
Smith's most recent outing came on March 30 against David
Rickels, who promptly spoiled the 27-year-old's Bellator debut
by knocking him cold in the Season 6 quarterfinals. Though Rickels
turned out Smith's lights in just 22 seconds, Smith believes the
setback has taught him a valuable lesson about risk versus reward
in the cage.
“If you catch me with something, it makes me angry and it makes me
want to hurt you. That's just how I was wired,” said Smith. “I just
need to be smart about it. I'm not going to sit here and say I'm
not going to be in wars anymore. Most of the time when me and my
opponent start exchanging punches, that's when I win.
“At the same time, it's kind of like rolling the dice, because
whoever catches the other guy first is all that matters,” he
continued. “In my last fight against David
Rickels, my hook just missed his chin right before his hit me
right on the button. It's a coin toss when you're exchanging with
guys at this level. That's not how I need to fight. I'm better than
that. I need to fight smarter, and that's the plan in this
Known for his versatile standup attack, Koreshkov has thus far
notched seven knockout victories among his 10 career finishes. An
apprentice to Bellator middleweight title contender Alexander
Shlemenko, the unbeaten 23-year-old has proved dangerous with a
number of unconventional attacks, an aspect of the bout for which
Smith says he is well prepared.
Despite his new outlook on going toe-to-toe, Smith still plans to
pressure Koreshkov as a means of disrupting the Russian's offense
and putting him on his heels.
“It's not that I'm going to be overly cautious in this fight, I
just can't fight stupid angry. I think I'm way better than him at
the wrestling and jiu-jitsu aspects of the sport, and that's
something I'll be looking to exploit on fight night,” said Smith.
“He doesn't like to be pressured, and he likes to keep his
distance. Guys who have fought him before got intimidated by his
unorthodox kicks and all the fancy s--t he likes to do, but I plan
on getting in his face, making him as uncomfortable as possible and