Vadim Nemkov

Vadim Nemkov welcomes his first five-round contest against Ryan Bader at Bellator 244

Interview with Vadim Nemkov above

Vadim Nemkov’s Bellator 244 headliner against Ryan Bader will be his first fight with championship rounds.

Yet to go past three rounds, Nemkov made adjustments to his camp in preparation to fight Bader on Friday, Aug. 21. The Russian has gone a full 15 minutes just twice in his career, splitting the two with one win and one defeat.

It may be Nemkov’s first fight scheduled for 25 minutes, but he always expected the day would come. It will go down at the Mohegun Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut this Friday. 

“Well, there’s a first time for everything and this will be my first time going five rounds. I’ve trained very hard, we’ve adjusted my training so that I am prepared for five rounds,” Nemkov said through a translator at Bellator 244 media day on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

“We’ve gone to high altitude training, I’ve had multiple sparring partners that keep switching on me, where I always have a fresh guy on me. I’ve gone as many as 10 rounds and I am still able to perform at my best.”

Vadim Nemkov looks to challenge Bader’s cardio

Nemkov has finished 10 of his 11 victories. Since making his Bellator debut in August 2017, he put away three of his four opponents, including former Bellator champion Liam McGeary. 

The 28-year-old has one decision win to his name. He defeated another former light-heavyweight champion in Phi Davis via split decision at Bellator 209 in November 2018. 

With eight first-round finishes, Nemkov is used to pushing the pace. He plans to do the same in five rounds. 

“If Bader wants to go five rounds with me and wrestle and be very active, then it’s going to question his cardio as much as mine,” Nemkov said. “We also have a strategy on how to conserve some of the energy and make sure I am able to perform for five rounds. We’ll see what happens, but I am ready for five rounds.”

Bader has gone 25 minutes once since joining Bellator in 2017. He captured the light-heavyweight strap with a split-decision victory over Davis at Bellator 180 in June 2017.

In the Heavyweight World Grand Prix semifinal, Bader earned a unanimous over Matt Mitrione in a three-round bout at Bellator 207 in October 2018. 

Nemkov is unimpressed by both of Bader’s performances. If those fights are any indication, Nemkov says he is unconcerned about going the distance with the champion. 

“Bader’s five round fight with Phil Davis for example wasn’t very action packed, it was kind of a little stale, so he wasn’t that active in that fight,” Nemkov said. “In the heavyweight division, even with Mitrione, he wasn’t trying to get up, so it didn’t take a lot of energy to hold him down.”

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Connor Northrup
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.