Back in April, Bellator was all set to culminate the last act of a year long Grand Prix tournament. Eight of the promotion’s top light heavyweight talents faced off in a series of 5-round fights, with Vadim Nemkov’s world championship belt on the line all the way through.
Nemkov took out Phil Davis in the opening round, then scored a sub over Julius Anglickas (replacing Anthony Johnson) in the semis, to make it all the way to the finale. On the other side of the brackets, Corey Anderson took out Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov, and then Ryan Bader to secure a fight with the champ in the co-main event of Bellator 277.
After all that work and time, however, fans were left unsatisfied. The title fight was officially declared a ‘no contest’ due to an illegal clash of heads, the result of a botched attempt to by Anderson to land GnP strikes from halfguard.
“It’s very upsetting,” Anderson said told the assembled press after the bout. “Especially because I broke him, you know? You can’t say I wasn’t winning the fight and the clash happened. It is what it is. I went out there and did exactly what I was supposed to do, like I said I was going to do. I said I was going to go out there and dominate. He can’t handle my wrestling, my ground-and-pound. I was pacing myself. And I knew, the fourth round, it was going to be over.”
Whether or not Anderson was on the verge of taking Nemkov out, he’ll get his chance to once again prove his wrestling dominance this coming November. In a post to their social media accounts, Bellator announced that Nemkov vs. Anderson 2 has been booked for their November 18th fight card.
Going into their first fight the 32-year-old Anderson (16-5 (1 NC)) was on a three fight unbeaten streak, having not lost since a 2020 KO at the hands of future UFC champion Jan Blachowicz. Now 15-2 (1 NC), Nemkov is unbeaten in his last ten bouts, stretching all the way to a pair of back-to-back losses under the RIZIN FF banner, to Karl Albrektsson and current UFC champ Jiri Prochazka.
Alongside the light heavyweight main event, Bellator 288 is set to showcase a lightweight title fight between champion Patricky Pitbull and fast rising contender Usman Nurmagomedov. The event will take place at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates.