Lorenz Larkin had a close call in the first round of his Bellator 229 headliner opposite ex-champ Andrey Koreshkov. But in the end, he shook off an early setback to take home a hard-fought split decision.

The final scorecards were 29-28 twice for Larkin and 29-28 for Koreshkov, who dropped to 1-2 in his past three outings while Larkin picked up his third straight win.

Koreshkov thought he was in position for an early takedown after eating a leg kick. Instead, Larkin forced a scramble as he went for his own, and a clinch fight ensued. When that expired, Koreshov managed to surprise Larkin with one of his patented spinning attacks, a wheel kick that sat the vet on the canvas. The finish was in reach until Larkin uncorked a left hook that rattled the Russian, forcing him to back off.

The next time Koreshkov spun, Larkin was ready and clinched up. There, the fight stalled as Koreshkov spun into dominant position. When the two finally broke free, Larkin went on the offensive. He had success when he put together combinations, even as Koreshkov managed to surprise a few times in counter. But it was a hard overhand right and knee that sent Koreshkov to the canvas, and Larkin nearly pulled off the finish by the end of the second round.

Saad Awad

Melendez shuts out frozen Polk

Johnson takes several shots to deliver finishing blow

Tony Johnson had to take a few shots against Joe Schilling. But he delivered the one that counted.

Things took a drastic turn midway through the third when Johnson finally managed to connect with one of his power punches. A counter left hook sent Schilling to the canvas, out cold.

Full Bellator 229 results:

Lorenz Larkin def. Andrey Koreshkov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Goiti Yamauchi def. Saad Awad via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:40

Keri Taylor Melendez def. Mandy Polk via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Tony Johnson def. Joe Schilling via KO (punch) – Round 3, 2:07

Anatoly Tokov def. Hracho Darpinyan via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:38

Salim Mukhidinov def. Adel Altamimi via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26, 30-27)

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