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Ryan Bader to defend light heavyweight title against Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 244

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Ryan Bader will defend his Bellator light heavyweight title for the first time in three years at Bellator 244.

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Bellator 214 Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Bellator’s two-division champion Ryan Bader is set to defend his 205-pound title next month against top Russian contender Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 244. first reported the fight, with MMA Fighting confirming the story. Bellator 244 will take place on August 21st at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. Also in the works for the same card is a bantamweight fight between former UFC veteran Erik Perez and Josh Hill.

Bader (27-5, 1NC) was scheduled to defend his title against Nemkov before the COVID-19 pandemic. The two-weight Bellator champion Bader hasn’t defended his light heavyweight title since stopping Linton Vassell in 2017. Bader is undefeated in Bellator since signing for the promotion after his seven-year UFC stint. He won the vacant heavyweight title by knocking out Fedor Emelianenko last year, but his first defense against Cheick Kongo ended in a no contest due to an accidental eye poke.

Nemkov (11-2) is a four-time sambo world champion who has won his last six MMA fights. The Russian submitted former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho in his last fight, and also won a split decision against former UFC contender Phil Davis before that. He was scheduled to face Bader on May 9th in San Jose before the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the contest.

Some other recently announced Bellator fights include Valerie Loureda vs. Tara Graff and Christian Edwards vs. Ahmed Samir both for Bellator 243 on August 7th.