Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov will compete in the opening round of an eight-man grand prix on Friday, fighting Phil Davis in the main event of Bellator 257. The title fight headlines a 13-fight card that is set to happen behind closed doors at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates.
Preliminary Card (5:30PM EDT / 4:30PM CDT) (Youtube)
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 8:00PM CDT) (Showtime)
Bout 13: Vadim Nemkov (13-2) vs. Phil Davis (22-5) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals)
Nemkov Out-Lands Davis To Defend Bellator Belt For First Time
Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov out-boxed Phil Davis through five rounds to defend his belt for the first time on Friday. The unanimous decision victory also advanced Nemkov through to the quarterfinals of Bellator’s ongoing Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, putting him with an opponent that will be determined at a later show (48-47, 48-47 & 48-47).
Nemkov kept a higher volume of strikes throughout the 25-minute battle, throwing and landing with more punches than Davis.
“My plan was to out-strike him today and defend the wrestling. I’m pretty happy with my performance but I have mistakes and I’m going to work on them for next time,” said Nemkov through a translator in his post-fight interview.
Nemkov’s opponent in the semifinals will be determined on May 7th when Anthony Johnson faces Yoel Romero at Bellator 258.
Nemkov started his title reign last year, stopping former champion Ryan Bader in the second round with strikes. The win was Nemkov’s fifth since entering the promotion in 2017.
Friday’s main event was the second time that Nemkov and Davis met in the cage. They have previously fought in 2018, where Nemkov prevailed on scorecards after three rounds.
Davis entered Friday’s bout on a three-fight win streak, including a recent decision win against Lyoto Machida.
Bout 12: Corey Anderson (14-5) vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5-1) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals)
Anderson Stops Yagshimuradov With Ground and Pound, Sets Up Semifinal Grand Prix Bout Against Bader
Corey Anderson advanced into the second round of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix with a third-round stoppage victory against promotional newcomer Dovletdzhan Yagshimuraov on Friday.
The win from Anderson saw him unleash a persistent series of ground and pound from full mount that forced the referee to end the fight in the 13th minute.
Anderson now has two wins since making the move from UFC to Bellator last year. The former UFC fighter won his Bellator debut last year with a similar ground and pound stoppage victory over Melvin Manhoef.
Anderson is now set to face former 205-pound champion Ryan Bader in the semifinals. Bader became the first fighter in the bracket to win a quarterfinal bout, defeating Lyoto Machida via unanimous decision.
Bader was present for Friday’s fights. He exchanged friendly words with Anderson after his fight and did a face-off in the cage.
Yagshimuradov had an eight-fight win streak broken in his Bellator debut on Friday.
Bout 11: Veta Arteaga (5-4) vs. Desiree Yanez (5-2) (Flyweight)
Bellator Veteran Arteaga Defeats Yanez On Scorecards Despite Point Deduction
Veta Arteaga overcame a point deduction to snap a losing streak and defeat Desiree Yanez via majority decision (28-28, 29-27 & 29-27). Arteaga’s victory came after having the better striking that did damage to Yanez through their three-round fight.
Arteaga’s was deducted a point in the second round after landing two illegal knees while standing up. The deduction meant that she would have to win the other two rounds in the fight to be favoured on scorecards.
Yanez’s best round was the last, as she was able to charge forward and score takedowns. Arteaga was able to resist these attempts, getting to her feet during the frame.
Arteaga is now back in the win column for the first time since 2018. The Bellator vet last competed twice in 2019, where she lost to then-champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and fellow ranked flyweight Alejandra Lara.
Yanez, a former Combate Americas fighter, is now on a two-fight losing streak. Her loss last night puts her on a two-fight skid.
Bout 10: Paul Daley (42-17-2) vs. Sabah Homasi (15-8) (Catchweight 175 lbs)
Daley Wins In Chaotic Battle Against Homasi
Paul Daley was able to prevail in a hectic back-and-forth battle against Sabah Homasi, stopping him in the second round with strikes to open the main card. The finish win for Daley saw him drop Homasi with a left hook before finishing the fight with ground and pound.
Homasi had a hot start to the fight, hurting Daley with strikes. The tides turned numerous times before Daley closed out the fight. Both fighters were able to score knockdowns during the mostly stand-up battle.
The fight took place at a catchweight of 175 pounds. Daley, a former welterweight veteran, mentioned during the fight week that he cannot make the 170-pound limit anymore.
Daley’s previous win was in 2019, where he defeated Saad Awad with strikes.
The fight on Friday was Homasi’s first loss since joining Bellator in 2019. He had a strong run last year in particular, defeating Curtis Millender and Bobby Voelker in a three-month period.
Bout 9: Julia Budd (14-3) vs. Dayana Silva (9-5) (Featherweight)
Former Champ Budd Takes Close Decision Over Bellator Newcomer Silva
Former Bellator Featherweight Champion Julia Budd took a close fight against Dayan Silva, defeating her in a split decision on the prelims (29-28 Budd, 29-28 Silva & 29-28 Budd). The close bout saw Silva keep up with Budd and fight a close
Silva, a newcomer to Bellator, gave Budd a close fight through all three rounds. Silva’s output of strikes remained high when on the feet.
Budd was able to score some takedowns in the fight, although the majority of it stayed in the striking department.
Budd had a more dominant win in her previous fight, defeating Jessy Miele in August. The bout was her first fight since losing her 145-pound belt to Cris Cyborg in early 2020.
Silva entered her first Bellator fight following a three-fight run on the regional scene in Brazil that included two wins.
Bout 8: Julius Anglickas (9-1) vs. Gregory Milliard (12-6) (Light Heavyweight)
Anglickas Defeats Milliard For Third Win, Gets Named GP Alternate
Julius Anglickas scored his third Bellator win on Friday, using his wrestling for a win against Gregory Milliard (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).
Anglickas mentioned afterwards that his performance relied on wrestling.
“I just couldn’t get my boxing going,” said Anglickas in his post-fight interview, who later called his win an “easy way out.”
It was announced after the fight that Anglickas will be an alternate fighter in the ongoing Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Anglickas now has a streak of 10 consecutive wins as a pro. That streak includes two previous appearances in Bellator through the past two years.
Milliard was making his first appearance since 2019. He had a four straight wins heading into Friday’s bout.
Bout 7: Steve Mowry (8-0) vs. Shaun Asher (13-3-1) (Heavyweight)
Mowry Stops Asher Within A Minute To Continue Streak
Steve Mowry earned his ninth pro win in less than a minute, dropping Shaun Asher to the ground and stopping him with hammerfist strikes.
Mowry’s dominance started after he scored a flying knee to Asher, who was charging in for a takedown attempt. Mowry then landed ground and pound that finished the fight.
Mowry, the 28-year-old heavyweight, is still undefeated with all of his wins coming via stoppage. His previous bout was in October, where he stopped former CFFC Heavyweight Champion Shawn Teed within a round.
Asher entered the bout with a two-fight win streak from the regional scene. He was quite inactive in recent years, as his win streak was built in 2016 and 2019.
Bout 6: Grachik Bozinyan (10-4) vs. Demarques Jackson (11-4) (Welterweight)
Bozinyan Defeats Jackson To End Losing Streak
Grachik Bozinyan used control on the ground to win via unanimous decision against Demarques Jackson (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28). Bozinyan scored numerous takedowns in the fight, keeping Jackson on his back for long periods of time as well.
Jackson had a strong close to the fight, taking the back of Bozinyan to attempt a rear naked choke.
Bozinyan’s victory snapped a two-fight skid which included a 2019 loss to Austin Vanderford in Bellator.
Jackson was making his return to Bellator after fighting in LFA for the past few years. He had a submission win in his previous showing, stopping Adrian Hadribeaj in the first round with a rear naked choke.
Bout 5: Raymond Daniels (2-1) vs. Peter Stanonik (5-4) (Welterweight)
Former Kickboxing Champ Daniels Dominates Stanonik For Third MMA Win
Dominant striking from Raymond Daniels helped him score his third MMA win on Friday, defeating Peter Stanonik on scorecards (30-26, 30-27 & 30-26). The win was the third as a pro for the former GLORY and Bellator kickboxing champion since returning to MMA in 2019.
Daniels had Stanonik hurt in the first round, scoring knockdowns with strikes and landing ground and pound. Daniels shifted away from his kickboxing skills in the second and third round, scoring takedowns that allowed him to score with more strikes on the ground.
Daniels and Stanonik competed on a show last year, although that bout ended abruptly in the second round after Stanonik was accidentally struck in the groin. The fight was ruled as a no contest due to the nature of the end.
Bout 4: Lance Gibson Jr. (3-0) vs. Marcus Surin (6-2) (Lightweight)
Undefeated Gibson Jr. Takes Scorecard Win In Return
Lance Gibson Jr. extended his undefeated pro MMA record to four consecutive wins, defeating Marcus Surin via unanimous decision during Bellator’s prelims (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).
Gibson Jr. showed a wide range of skills in the fight, putting together sharp strikes while also scoring takedowns.
Surin was knocked down in the second round due to a leg kick.
Gibson Jr. had his Bellator debut in his prior appearance, defeating Dominic Jones within a round with punches in 2019. Friday’s fight was the first time that Gibson Jr. fought for longer than a round as a pro.
Surin has now lost two consecutive bouts. His previous showing was a loss to Devin Powell in 2019.
Bout 3: Viktor Nemkov (30-7-1) vs. Karl Albrektsson (10-3) (Light Heavyweight)
Albrektsson Defeats Nemkov on Scorecards For First Bellator Win
Karl Albrektsson landed ground and pound throughout a three-round fight against Viktor Nemkov to pick up a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27). The bout was Albrektsson’s first victory under the Bellator banner.
Albrektsson was able to take control of his fight against Nemkov on the ground during all three of their rounds. From that position he kept a steady tempo of strikes to Nemkov.
Nemkov was making his Bellator debut after participating in the 2019 PFL season. He finished that season with a record of two wins and one loss.
Albrektsson lost his Bellator debut in 2019 to Phil Davis via strikes. He picked up a win last year on the regional scene before returning to Bellator on Friday.
Bout 2: Saul Rogers (14-3) vs. Mads Burnell (14-3) (Featherweight)
Rogers Secures Rear Naked Choke For Second Bellator Win
Mads Burnell’s dominant grappling scored him a second-round submission victory against Saul Rogers on the prelims. Taking the back of Rogers, Burnell secured a rear naked choke that forced a tap shortly after it was applied.
Burnell had Rogers in trouble on the ground for most of the fight, forcing him into the losing positions on the ground.
The former UFC fighter and Cage Warriors Champion now has two wins since joining the Bellator roster. His promotional debut came in October, where he stopped Darko Banovic within a round with strikes.
Burnell now says he wants a fight against Daniel Weichel.
“I hope you come over your COVID situation and I’d like to share the ring with you,” said Burnell to Weichel in his post-fight interview.
Rogers also picked up a win in his previous performance, submitting Arbi Mezhidov in the Fall.
Bout 1: Pedro Carvalho (11-4) vs. Jay-Jay Wilson (7-0) (Featherweight)
Wilson Stops Carvalho With Quick Second Round Flurry
An explosive second round from Jay-Jay Wilson scored him the biggest win of his undefeated career thus far, six-fight Bellator vet stopping Pedro Carvalho. Wilson won the fight in the first minute of the round with ground and pound following a flurry on the feet.
Wilson hurt Carvalho in the opening moments of the second frame, landing a spinning backfist and a front kick followed up by a series of strikes. Carvalho scored a takedown in an attempt to stop Wilson’s momentum, although Wilson quickly took full mount and landed a series of punches that put an end to the bout.
Wilson now has seven finish wins in his undefeated eight-fight pro career. His previous appearance was in November, where he stopped Sergio DeBari in only 20 seconds with strikes.
Carvalho was looking to return after losing to Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricio Pitbull last year. The bout against Pitbull, which lasted one round, was part of Bellator’s Featherweight Grand Prix.