Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix will make great progress on Friday night, as two quarterfinal fights in the bracket will take place. Along with a five-round co-main event bout between Corey Anderson and Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov, newly-crowned Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov will rematch Phil Davis in the main event.
Here is a full preview of the card, which is set to take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
Preliminary Card (5:30PM EDT / 4:30PM CDT) (Youtube)
Bout 1: Saul Rogers (14-3) vs. Mads Burnell (14-3) (Featherweight)
Both returning after scoring a Bellator win last year, Saul Rogers and Mads Burnell will be matched in the opening bout of the prelims.
Burnell, a former UFC fighter and Cage Warriors Featherweight Champion made his Bellator debut in October, stopping Darko Banovic within a round with ground and pound.
Rogers competed on that same card, where he submitted Arbi Mezhidov with a rear naked choke. The win put him back in the win column after taking a loss to Daniel Weichel in the year before.
Bout 2: Lance Gibson Jr. (3-0) vs. Marcus Surin (6-2) (Lightweight)
Competing for Bellator for the second time, undefeated lightweight Lance Gibson Jr. will face Marcus Surin. Gibson Jr.’s first Bellator appearance dates back to 2019, where he used strikes to stop Dominic Jones in the first round.
He now faces Surin, who will be making his fifth consecutive appearance in Bellator. Surin was submitted when he last fought, getting defeated by Devin Powell in 2019.
Bout 3: Pedro Carvalho (11-4) vs. Jay-Jay Wilson (7-0) (Featherweight)
Undefeated featherweight Jay-Jay Wilson will get the biggest challenge of his career thus far when fighting Pedro Carvalho on Bellator’s undercard.
Wilson has picked up seven wins since making his pro debut in Bellator four years ago. He had his quickest showing as a pro in November, catching Sergio DeBari with strikes and finishing him in only 20 seconds.
Carvalho is competing after being eliminated from the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix last year. Current Bellator Bantamweight Champion Patricio Pitbull took Carvalho out in the quarterfinals, stopping him with strikes within a round and handing him his first loss since joining Bellator in 2018.
Carvalho won in the opening round of the tournament in 2019, submitting former UFC fighter Sam Sicilia with a face crank.
Bout 4: Viktor Nemkov (30-7-1) vs. Karl Albrektsson (10-3) (Light Heavyweight)
Former PFL fighter Viktor Nemkov is set to make his Bellator debut against Karl Albrektsson on Friday.
Nemkov last competed during PFL’s 2019 season, earning two wins in the regular season before losing in the playoffs to Bozigit Ataev.
Albrektsson is returning to the Bellator cage after defeating Amilcar Alves on a regional card last year. Albrektsson lost his sole Bellator bout in 2019, getting stopped by Phil Davis due to strikes.
Bout 5: Raymond Daniels (2-1) vs. Peter Stanonik (5-4) (Welterweight)
Former GLORY and Bellator Kickboxing Champion Raymond Daniels will run back a fight against Peter Stanonik on the prelims.
Daniels and Stanonik first met just months ago, competing at Bellator 245. Their fight ended abruptly in the second round after two accidental groin shots took Stanonik out of the fight. The bout was ruled a no contest in the end.
Daniels had scored first-round stoppage wins in his previous two Bellator MMA fights, defeating Jason King and scoring a viral knockout against Wilker Barros in 2019.
Stanonik also comes from a kickboxing background. His last two kickboxing bouts were in 2019, where he won over lightweights on GLORY cards.
Bout 6: Grachik Bozinyan (10-4) vs. Demarques Jackson (11-4) (Welterweight)
Grachik Bozinyan will attempt to break a two-fight skid when facing Demarques Jackson. Bozinyan last fought in late 2019, where he lost his Bellator debut to Austin Vanderford. Now after over a year outside of the cage, he will return against Jackson.
The fight will be Jackson’s first in Bellator since 2018. He has kept active in the past few years in regional promotion LFA, where he has attained two wins and two losses since 2018. He scored a submission win in his last appearance, stopping Adrian Hadribeaj within a round in August.
Bout 7: Steve Mowry (8-0) vs. Shaun Asher (13-3-1) (Heavyweight)
28-year-old heavyweight prospect Steve Mowry will attempt to continue his career-long streak of finish victories when fighting the more experienced Shaun Asher.
Mowry has only competed in the first or second round of fights since entering Bellator in 2018. He scored his fourth win in the promotion in October, finishing former CFFC Heavyweight Champion Shawn Teed in the first round with ground and pound.
Asher will be competing in Bellator for the first time in nearly nine years. His last Bellator appearance dates all the way back to 2012, where he lost to Jason Butcher. While he has only competed twice since 2016, Asher is currently on a two-fight win steak.
Bout 8: Julia Budd (14-3) vs. Dayana Silva (9-5) (Featherweight)
Former Bellator Featherweight Champion Julia Budd is set to continue her post-title reign campaign in Bellator when fighting promotional newcomer Dayana Silva on the prelims.
Budd, the former long-time 145-pound champ for Bellator, lost her belt in early 2020 to former UFC champ Cris Cyborg. She has since returned to the win column, defeating Jessy Miele on scorecards in August.
Silva is getting her first Bellator shot following a run on the regional MMA scene in Brazil. She scored a win in her last showing, defeating Tayna Lamounier in August.
Bout 9: Julius Anglickas (9-1) vs. Gregory Milliard (12-6) (Light Heavyweight)
A light heavyweight bout between Julius Anglickas and Gregory Milliard is currently set to finish Bellators preliminary card on Friday.
Anglickas has been nothing short of successful since entering Bellator in 2019. Now on a nine-fight win streak, the 29-year-old landed his second Bellator win when handing former LFA Light Heavyweight Champion Alex Polizzi his first loss in November.
Milliard will step in the Bellator cage for the first time Friday. He currently holds a four-fight win streak, although he has not competed in over two years now.
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 8:00PM CDT) (Showtime)
Bout 10: Veta Arteaga (5-4) vs. Desiree Yanez (5-2) (Flyweight)
Bellator veteran Veta Arteaga will welcome Desiree Yanez to the promotion in the opening bout of a four-fight main card.
Arteaga has competed in Bellator for most of her career, having fought there since her second pro fight in 2016. For the first time in her career, Arteaga will look to break a two-fight skid. After losing a fight to then-champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane in 2019, Arteaga took her second loss later that year to Alejandra Lara.
Now after taking a year out of the cage – something she hasn’t done since going pro, she will fight Yanez.
Yanez enters Bellator after a pro career of five wins and two losses. She took a loss in her last fight, losing a split decision to Melissa Martinez on a Combate Americas card in late 2019.
A fight between Arteaga and Yanez was first scheduled for October, although it was later cancelled due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Bout 11: Paul Daley (42-17-2) vs. Sabah Homasi (15-8) (Catchweight 175 lbs)
MMA veteran Paul Daley will get his anticipated bout against Sabah Homasi on Friday. A match between the two has been attempted twice before by Bellator, although cancelled both times due to various reasons.
Daley is currently in an awkward position as he feels his body can’t make welterweight anymore. In an interview with MMA Junkie, Daley said “unless the fights are 175 pounds or the fight is for a title, this is going to be my last fight.” Daley was pulled from a card in October on short notice after he was hospitalized following a weight cut. He last competed in 2019, where he defeated Bellator vet Saad Awad.
Homasi will look to continue his undefeated run since joining Bellator in 2019. The former UFC fighter now has three wins in the promotion, including victories last year against Curtis Millender and Bobby Voelker.
Bout 12: Corey Anderson (14-5) vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5-1) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals)
In the first of two Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix bouts on the card, Corey Anderson will fight promotional newcomer Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov. The winner of the bout will face Ryan Bader, who punched his ticket into the semifinals last week.
Anderson, a former UFC contender, made his Bellator debut last year with a stoppage victory against Melvin Manhoef. Anderson’s move to Bellator came after a long UFC run that included 10 wins and five losses.
Yagshimuradov is now in the same position that Anderson was in during his previous bout. The Turkmenistan fighter will make his first impression on Bellator viewers in the tournament fight. He enters the bout with an eight-fight win streak that includes six stoppage wins.
Bout 13: Vadim Nemkov (13-2) vs. Phil Davis (22-5) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals)
Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov will look to defend his belt for the first time when facing Phil Davis in the opening round of the bracket. The winner of the five-round bout will go on to face the winner of a fight between Anthony Johnson and Yoel Romero, which is set to happen on May 7th.
Nemkov’s climb up the Bellator 205-pound division reached the top last year, as he stopped former champ Ryan Bader in the second round with strikes. The win was his fifth-in-a-row since entering the promotion in 2017. That win streak includes a 2018 victory against Davis, which came via split decision at Bellator 209.
Davis has built himself back up since then, scoring three wins in the past two years. After picking up stoppage wins against Liam McGeary and Karl Albrektsson last year, Davis returned in 2020 to earn a split decision win against Lyoto Machida in a main event fight.