While Bellator has hosted two events before, Friday night’s event “Bellator 244” will mark the first time they have a championship on the line from the “Fightsphere” at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
In the main event of the evening, Ryan Bader will step down to light heavyweight to defend his 205-pound belt against Vadim Nemkov. Here’s a preview of the entire card.
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Preliminary Card (7:15PM EDT) (Youtube)
Bout 1: John de Jesus (12-8) vs. Vladyslav Parubchenko (16-1) (Catchweight 150 lbs)
In a catchweight bout on the prelims, a double Bellator debut will happen when John de Jesus and Vladyslav Parubchenko face off. Parubchenko will bring a very impressive nine-fight winning streak to the cage which has a majority of finishes. His last fight was in 2018, stopping Alexey Gannenko with a guillotine choke in the first round. De Jesus has won his last two, including a January bout where he defeated Josh Rohler in the second round.
Bout 2: Yaroslav Amosov (23-0) vs. Mark Lemminger (11-1) (Catchweight 175 lbs)
After his debut Bellator win in July over Jake Smith, Mark Lemminger will return on Friday’s prelims to face the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov. Amosov’s scary 23-fight undefeated record has seen four wins in Bellator, with his most recent win coming over Ed Ruth in a main event last February.
Bout 3: Weber Almeida (3-0) vs. Salim Mukhidinov (7-4) (Catchweight 148 lbs)
Looking to build off of his two 2019 Bellator wins, undefeated Weber Almeida will face Salim Mukhidinov on the prelims. Mukhidinov has fought in Bellator twice, with his February fight being a split decision loss to Cris Lencioni. Almeida’s three professional fights have all been finishes, with his longest fight being just over five minutes.
Bout 4: Vladimir Tokov (5-0) vs. Chris Gonzalez (4-0) (Lightweight)
Undefeated lightweights Vladimir Tokov and Chris Gonzalez are scheduled to face off on the prelims. Tokov’s last two wins have come in Bellator, getting decision wins over Ryan Walker and Brandon Hastings. Gonzalez has fought three times in Bellator, including a February split decision over Aaron McKenzie.
Bout 5: Lucas Brennan (2-0) vs. Will Smith (3-1) (Featherweight)
Competing for the third time since he debuted in MMA, Lucas Brennan will fight Will Smith on the prelims. Brennan’s debut year has had quick work, finishing both Thomas Lopez and Jacob Landin in the first round via rear naked choke. He looks for his third against Smith, who is making his Bellator debut. Smith’s last two fights were wins, picking up two decision victories on the regional scene.
Bout 6: Erik Perez (19-7) vs. Josh Hill (19-3) (Bantamweight)
Looking to bounce back from his Bellator debut in December, Erik Perez is matched with Josh Hill. Perez, a former UFC fighter, fought Toby Misech in December in his first promotional fight, although it was an unsuccessful outing as he got stopped within a minute with strikes. Before then he had a five-fight winning streak. Hill, a similarly experienced bantamweight had a strong debut last February in Bellator, defeating Vinicius Zani to extend his winning streak to three-in-a-row.
Bout 7: Adam Piccolotti (12-3) vs. Sidney Outlaw (14-4) (Lightweight)
Finishing off the seven-fight prelims, Adam Piccolotti is paired with Sidney Outlaw. Outlaw’s last fight gave him his first Bellator loss, losing to Michael Chandler in Saitama, Japan. The first-round finish was a short-notice fight for Outlaw, who was replacing Benson Henderson. Before then he had an impressive nine-fight winning streak, including a 2019 Bellator win over Roger Huerta. Piccolotti won his last fight, defeating Jake Smith just under a year ago via rear naked choke.
Main Card (10:00PM EDT) (Paramount Network)
Bout 8: John Salter (17-4) vs. Andrew Kapel (15-6) (Middleweight)
Kicking off the main card, middleweights John Salter and Andrew Kapel will face off. Salter, a now eight-fight Bellator competitor brings a two-fight winning streak into Friday’s show, with his most recent fight being a November win over Costello van Steenis. Kapel’s last fight was his sole Bellator appearance to date, defeating “King Mo,” Muhammad Lawal in the second minute with strikes.
Bout 9: Valentin Moldavsky (9-1) vs. Roy Nelson (23-18) (Heavyweight)
Rising heavyweight Valentin Moldavsky will get his fifth Bellator fight on Friday, fighting “Big Country” Roy Nelson. Moldvasky has been nothing but successful in Bellator thus far, defeating four-straight opponents. His most recent win was in February, defeating Javy Ayala. Nelson will attempt to snap a four-fight losing streak which includes losses to big names like Frank Mir, Mirko Cro Cop and Matt Mitrione. His Bellator run has been rough so far, only winning his debut bout in the promotion so far.
Bout 10: Julia Budd (13-3) vs. Jessy Miele (9-3) (Featherweight)
In her first fight since losing her Bellator Featherweight Championship, Julia Budd will fight Jessy Miele. Her last fight was in January, dropping her belt to former UFC Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg. Before then, Budd defended her belt three times since she earned it in 2017. Her opponent, Miele, is returning after her first Bellator win last October over Talita Nogueira. She has a four-fight winning streak with some of the wins coming from regional promotion CES.
Bout 11: Ryan Bader (27-5) vs. Vadim Nemkov (12-2) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship)
In the main event of the evening, Ryan Bader makes his long-awaited return to light heavyweight to fight Vadim Nemkov. Bader, the promotion’s 205-pound champion, earned the belt in 2017 by defeating Phil Davis via decision. He defended it once after, stopping Linton Vassell in the second round with strikes on another 2017 card. He has yet to visit the division since though, as he has since fought in the heavyweight division and become a champion there as well.
Bader’s opponent, Nemkov, is a fighter that has been concocted by the promotion in Bader’s absence from the weight class. The younger fighter has picked up four-straight wins in Bellator, all three of which were via stoppage. His most recent was last October, stopping Rafael Carvalho in the second round with a rear naked choke. While Nemkov has a smaller record than Bader, he has the youth factor greatly.