Bellator keeps rolling to make up for their extended hiatus, making the most of the start to the Showtime era. This may be the most packed show yet, with tons of vets and handful of very good prospects getting some work in.
The light heavyweight tournament is in full swing with champion Vadim Nemkov (13-2) defending his title in the first bracket against former UFC and Bellator champ Phil Davis (22-5). Vadim brings his Sambo predigree, but his crushing power and accuracy as how he managed to topple Ryan Bader in the first place to get that big gold belt. Davis still brings his wrestling, even if his phase shifting is a bit uneven and he prioritizes control over short-term damage or standing exchanges.
Another tournament bout for the evening is former UFC talent Corey Anderson (14-5) against Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5, 1 NC). We all know Corey Anderson, he’s a wrestler that hits extra hard and manages to outhustle opponents with superior positioning and great striking choices when he’s in top position. But who exactly is Yagshimuradov? He’s a former ACB/ACA fighter that lands monster takedowns only to maul people on the ground once he has them there. Either that or he makes their body quit en route to a submission. But what about his power? He’s dumb strong. He ends fights definitively. Anderson is going to have to be extra methodical here and mind his distance and defense to control this bout. Otherwise, Yagshimuradov is going to have a very wild coming out party.
Paul Daley (42-17, 2 draws) will be having his retirement bout against Sabah Homasi (15-8), which is a compelling bout for both participants. Homasi has a pretty well-rounded game, but Daley always packs that fight-ending power. The difference here is whether or not Daley can use his setups to land the major shots here, something he hasn’t quite been able to do for a while. We’ll see if he gets the sendoff he’s hoping for, or if Homasi spoils the party for him with control and volume.
Former champ Julia Budd (14-3) gets a nifty little challenge against Dayana Silva (9-5), a bout she most likely should be favored in. Her stepson Lance Gibson, Jr (3-0) seems to be a prized prospect for Bellator, and he’ll be in the saddle again taking on Marcus Surin (6-2).
Aruban threat Gregory Milliard (12-6) meets Lethal Lithuanian Julius Anglickas (9-1), while former title challenger and SBG Ireland rep Pedro Carvalho (11-4) meets “The Maori Kid” Jay Jay Wilson (7-0), who unfortunately missed weight. Former Glory kickboxer Raymond Daniels also returns to MMA against Peter Stanonik (5-4). Maybe we get another showstopper from Raymond, who knows.
If you’re asking yourself if the light heavyweight champion had a brother, yes! Yes, he does. Viktor Nemkov (30-7), fresh out of M-1 and PFL will be in action as well meeting RIZIN alum Karl Albrektsson (10-3). Finally, former UFC and Cage Warriors talent Mads Burnell (14-3) returns to the Bellator cage to meet former Cage Warriors, ACB fighter (as well as Ultimate Fighter contestant) Saul Rogers (14-3) at featherweight.
You can watch the ceremonial weigh-ins here:
Vadim Nemkov (204.5) vs. Phil Davis (205) - Bellator tournament title fight
Corey Anderson (204.75) vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (204.5) - Light heavyweight tournament bout
Veta Arteaga (124.5) vs. Desiree Yanez (125.75) - Flyweight
Paul Daley (174.75) vs. Sabah Homasi (175) - Catchweight
Lance Gibson Jr. (155) vs. Marcus Surin (155.25) - Lightweight
Julia Budd (145.25) vs. Dayana Silva (144.75) - Featherweight
Karl Albrektsson (205.75) vs. Viktor Nemkov (206) - Light heavyweight
Pedro Carvalho (144.75) vs. Jay Jay Wilson (146.75**) - Featherweight
Grachik Bozinyan (170) vs. Demarques Jackson (170.75) - Welterweight
Saul Rogers (145.75) vs. Mads Burnell (146) - Featherweight
Julius Anglickas (205) vs. Gregory Milliard (205.5) - Light heavyweight
Steve Mowry (247) vs. Shaun Asher (247.25) - Heavyweight
Peter Stanonik (170) vs Raymond Daniels (170.75) - Welterweight
**Wilson missed weight and is forfeiting 20% of his purse as a result.
Bellator 257 takes place this Friday starting at 5:30pm EST on YouTube, then the main card starting at 9:00pm on Showtime.