Headlining the event was a championship encounter between Bellator light-heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov (15-2, 1 NC) and no. 1 ranked Corey Anderson (16-5, 1 NC), a rematch from their first affair that happened earlier this year in April.
Anderson had gone 3-0 with three knockouts inside the Bellator cage since his departure from the UFC, one of those wins coming over former champion and fellow UFC veteran Ryan Bader, while Nemkov had gone 7-0 in the promotion (also boasting a knockout win over Bader), and was aiming to make the third defense of his title.
Anderson absolutely dominated this fight from start to finish, up until it was stopped at 4:55 of round three with an accidental clash of heads. The bout resulted in a no contest, and the two met again tonight to see who the best 205 lb talent in Bellator is.
Continue reading to see how this epic championship main event rematch went down:
Official Result: Vadim Nemkov def. Corey Anderson via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
This fight starts off much quicker than their first; Anderson presses the action and stays in Nemkov’s grill the entire five minutes, attempting a number of takedowns he couldn’t secure, while Nemkov out struck Anderson 28-8.
Nemkov landed a beautiful spinning wheel kick in the final ten seconds and drops Anderson, though the clock runs out and we go to a second round. Nemkov continues to have success with his takedown defense and striking throughout the second.
Despite not having much success, Anderson remains in control of the center. He’s trying to create openings for himself, but Nemkov is looking like a 2.0 version of himself thus far through ten minutes.
Though Anderson is unable to secure takedowns through five more attempts in the third, he is beginning to ware on Nemkov with his pressure. Nemkov is still doing very well, and he certainly won the first two rounds, but the third was much closer.
Through four rounds Anderson is 0-13 in takedown attempts, but he’s still going for it with his boxing combinations and pressure.
Nemkov lands a vicious leg kick when Anderson was changing levels for a takedown, hurting Anderson’s leg pretty badly. Nemkov continues to land a number of calf kicks following that hinder Anderson’s mobility quite a bit.
After the fifth and final round was over, Anderson still hadn’t secured a single takedown, as he suffers his first promotional defeat in the gran prix finals.
You’ve got to feel for Corey Anderson, this man could’ve very easily become a world champion earlier this year. The referee could have decided on letting their first fight go to the scorecards for a technical decision. A fight must make it to round three to be eligible for a technical decision, and there were a mere five seconds left in the third round when it was stopped.
Not only that, but he would have won the million dollar prize. And considering how it would have still ended in controversy, the two still probably would have fought again.
As for Vadim Nemkov, he really dodged a bullet in April and improved leaps and bounds to make the third successful defense of his Bellator light-heavyweight championship in this highly anticipated rematch.
The Fedor Emelianenko protege is now 16-2 as a professional, and he’s now a four-time world champion as he wins the Bellator light-heavyweight gran prix tonight at Bellator 288. He will next defend his title against former multi-time UFC middleweight title challenger Yoel Romero on February 4, 2023, at Bellator 290.
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.