Bellator double champion Ryan Bader has not defended the light heavyweight title since 2017, when he stopped Linton Vassell in the second round at Bellator 186. During the Bellator 238 on Saturday, it was announced that the 36-year-old veteran will once again put his 205-pound title on the line.
Multiple sources including ESPN took note that Bader will defend the Bellator light heavyweight title against Sambo specialist Vadim Nemkov. The fight is scheduled to take place on May 9th in San Jose, California.
Bader went on to chase the heavyweight title in 2018, when he fought Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal at the Bellator heavyweight grand prix. He climbed up the tournament ladder until he faced MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 214 in January 2019.
Bader defeated “The Last Emperor” to bag the Bellator heavyweight title. He retained the belt when his Bellator 226 fight against Cheick Kongo was ruled as a No Contest due to an accidental eye poke.
Nemkov, on the other hand, is so far undefeated under the Bellator banner. He has compiled a 4-0 record with the company and last fought at Bellator 230 in October, where he defeated Rafael Carvalho via second round submission.