Bellator 244 just closed out with Vadim Nemkov capturing the promotion’s light heavyweight belt by stopping Ryan Bader with strikes in the second round. Nemkov looked as composed as ever out there, handling an early aggressive attack from the champ champ before pressing forward and forcing a finish. Nemkov landed a big head kick that set up the finishing sequence, that seemed to go on a bit longer than it should have. Either way, Nemkov fought a perfect fight and is now an elite MMA world champion. Looks like Bellator’s going to have to find him some challengers if they want him to stay active. As for Bader, at least he is still holds the heavyweight belt... for now.
In the Bellator 244 co-main event, the promotion’s former featherweight queen, Julia Budd, got herself back into the win column with a clean decision over a game Jessy Miele. Budd landed the better strikes on the feet, owned the clinch, and then also dominated on the ground to win all-three rounds on each scorecard. Budd just proved how much better she is than everyone else in the division that isn’t the current champ.
Before that heavyweight prospect Valentin Moldavsky ran away with the scorecards against longtime veteran Roy Nelson. Moldavsky utilized a wall and maul strategy throughout to which Nelson had few answers for. When the fight was in open space, it was the Russian fighter that was landing all of the strikes. The dominant victory extends his wining streak to five-straight and is surely the biggest name win of his 11-fight career.
Opening up the main card, the middleweight division saw John Salter picked up yet another finish with a third-round submission of Andrew Kapel. Salter dominated the ground throughout as Kapel was unable to consistently get off of his back. It was an arm triangle from full mount that ultimately secured the tap for Salter to put him on a three-fight winning streak.
**See complete results below
Vadim Nemkov def. Ryan Bader by TKO at 3:02 of round 2: Light Heavyweight Title
Bader came out winging right hands, but Nemkov stayed focused and saw everything coming his way. The champ was the one leading the dance, but he was struggling to connect flush with anything. Nemkov looked as poised as ever and effectively sat back and picked his shots. He was actually the one who looked like the veteran out there.
Nemkov showed up for the second round with a lot more volume than he brought in the first round. He was backing up Bader and picking him apart. Then it was a head kick that dropped the defending champ before an onslaught of destruction ensued. The referee gave Bader every chance to recover, maybe even too many chances as Nemkov was thrashing him all over the cage. Ss Bader was running away in survival mode, he ate a shot that he never saw coming and dropped again. Thats then the referee finally stopped the fight.
Julia Budd def. Jessy Miele by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27 x2): (W) Featherweight
The bout started with a bit of feeling out. They went back and forth with their respective combos, not really landing but trying to establish some timing and rhythm. Budd began to land with her combos, which often disrupted whatever Miele was trying to do. Budd also found some success in the clinch against the fence, launching knees to the body.
Budd got right back to work in the seocnd round, marching forward behind her strikes. Miele responded with some clean counter crosses, and had success whenever she would back up Budd. Once the fight hit the clinch, Budd began to unleash angry knees. The former champ got herself a takedown, and was able to drop a couple of elbows before the bell. Budd caught a kick to get herself an early takedown in the final round. She attacked with an arm triangle for quite some time, but Miele fought hard to escape the hold. After eating upon most of the clock on the ground, the fight returned to its feet where the fighters traded until the bell.
Valentin Moldavsky def. Roy Nelson by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Heavyweight
Nelson pressured right out of the gate, backing up Moldavsky to the cage in the cinch. Moldavsky managed to reverse Roy against the fence and began to control the veteran. He wasn’t able to get the takedown, but he did have a couple of spurts where he would separate and throw a flurry before clinching back up. Before the bell, Moldavsky clipped Nelson with a flush counter right hand, but of course Roy wore it without issue.
Moldavsky employed a wall and maul strategy bin the second round. He put Nelson’s back to the fence, and would periodically break free just to throw a three or four piece punching combo and move right back to the clinch. Roy had very few moments in this round.
Nelson stalked forward in the final round looking for his big right hand, but Moldavsky used a lot of footwork to stay on the outside and out of range. Moldavsky would pick of Roy coming in, and then spent a lot of the last two-minutes of the fight utilizing his wall and maul tactics.
John Salter def. Andrew Kapel by submission (Arm Triangle) at 3:11 of round 3: Middleweight
Salter came out and got himself a takedown to kick things off. Kapel remained composed and worked back to his feet, but Salter went right back to the takedown. Salter controlled his opposition on the floor and ultimately worked his way into full mount. He ate up a bunch of clock, but ended up getting reversed. Kapel had brief stint on top, before Salter hit a reversal of his own to finish up the round on top.
It didn't take very long for Salter to hit a takedown in the seocnd act and move into full mount. He worked hard for an arm triangle, but Kapel quickly escaped. Salter stayed in control and held the position while sprinkling in a few ground strikes. He threatened with the arm triangle a couple of times, but Kapel stayed relaxed and escaped the round without sustaining much of any damage.
Kapel tried to get some strikes going to start the final round, but Salter was able to shut that down with another takedown. He again moved into full mount were Kapel continued to have few answers. Salter kept going back to the arm triangle, and finally put a solid squeeze on it to get the tap.
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- Sidney Outlaw def. Adam Piccolotti by split decision: Lightweight
- Josh Hill def. Erik Perez by unanimous decision: Bantamweight
- Weber Almeida def. Salim Mukhidinov by KO at 3:57 of round 1: Featherweight
- John de Jesus def. Vladyslav Parubchenko by unanimous decision: 150-pounds
- Chris Gonzalez def. Vladimir Tokov by split decision: Lightweight
- Lucas Brennan def. Will Smith by TKO at 4:14 of round 2: Featherweight