Vadim Nemkov Shuts Down Corey Anderson In Rematch, Wins Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

Vadim Nemkov defended his Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship for the third time on Friday night, going five rounds against Corey Anderson to win via unanimous decision and earn a prize of $1 million.

Nemkov’s victory headlined Bellator 288 from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Nemkov used his sharp stand-up skills to out-land Anderson on the feet. This game plan was aided by his ability to entirely shut down takedowns from Anderson, stopping more than a dozen attempts throughout their 25-minute contest.

Nemkov had solid striking throughout the fight. The highest point arguably came late in the first round, when he dropped Anderson with a spinning back kick to the head. He followed-up on this with other shots but wasn’t able to finish the fight before the round ran out of time.

Nemkov was facing Anderson in a re-do of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. They originally met in the final of a tournament earlier this year, although their bout ended in a no contest that time due to a third-round head clash.

Nemkov has now defended his belt three times since earning it off Ryan Bader in 2020. His two previous championship appearances came in the earlier rounds of the tournament last year when he beat Phil Davis and Julius Anglickas.

Nemkov will now face former UFC title challenger Yoel Romero on February 4th. It was announced earlier on Friday that Romero would take on the winner of Friday’s main event.

Friday was Anderson’s first loss since switching over from the UFC. He had previously scored three finish wins in Bellator. He beat Ryan Bader and Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in earlier rounds of the tournament, and won his promotional debut against Melvin Manhoef.

Undefeated Nurmagomedov Outshines Pitbull To Earn Lightweight Belt

Usman Nurmagomedov had an incredibly dominant win to become the new Bellator Lightweight Champion on Friday, sweeping scorecards in a five-round fight against Patricky Pitbull for a unanimous decision victory.

Nurmagomedov got the best out of the contest both on the ground and on the feet against Pitbull. On the feet, he won most striking exchanges. His ground control allowed him to dominate the second and fifth rounds of the bout in particular.

The high-profile win continued Numagomedov’s flawless MMA career. He has now picked up 16 wins as a pro, including five in the Bellator cage. He earned a title fight after three of his most recent fights all came via first-round finish.

Pitbull earned the belt in his previous bout, stopping Peter Queally in the second round of a fight last year via punches. Before competing for the vacant belt, Pitbull was on a two-fight losing streak.

Timur Wins Bellator Debut Against Weichel

Undefeated Khizriev Timur won his Bellator debut against veteran Daniel Weichel, going the distance to pick up a unanimous decision victory.

Timur was the more active fighter on the feet throughout. Weichel was often the fighter advancing on the feet, although Timur was connecting with a higher volume of strikes throughout.

Weichel applied some pressure late, tagging Timur briefly with a shot.

Khizriev’s record is now a strong 12 wins as a pro. His appearance this Friday was his first fight since September 2021.

Weichel was coming off a first-round finish victory over Robert Whiteford.

James Stops Fortune In Bellator Return

Daniel James scored a big win in front of his hometown of Chicago, stopping Tyrell Fortune early in the second round with punches.

James dropped Fortune just seconds into the second round with a left uppercut. This shot connected after Fortune whiffed on a punch of his own.

James was then quick to go to the ground and land shots to end the fight.

James had to battle past adversity in the first round before a finish. The veteran found himself fighting a rear naked choke for some of the round. After escaping the submission, James was able to land ground and pound strikes before the round ran out of time.

James was appearing in Bellator for the first time since his 2014 pro debut. He entered this bout on a three-fight winning streak from ACA.

Fortune was riding the momentum of a quick finish win over Rakim Cleveland from earlier this year.

Chokheli Controls Faraldo To End Undefeated Streak

Levan Chokheli put an end to Roman Faraldo’s undefeated record on Friday night, prevailing in a tough three-round unanimous decision result.

Chokheli earned his win by putting Faraldo to the ground and mostly evading the welterweight’s explosive striking.

Chokheli succeeded through most of the first round with ground control. He notably reversed a position that Faraldo earned, taking full guard and landing punches from that spot for numerous minutes.

Faraldo had a breakthrough in the second round, as a left hook earned him a knockdown against Chokheli. He later landed ground and pound to close out the frame.

But Faraldo suffered a setback later in the round, as a cage grab caused him to get deducted one point.

Cardio became an issue for both fighters as the bout moved into its final frame. Chokheli’s grappling-heavy gameplan allowed him to take over once again, taking Faraldo down halfway through the round and keeping a controlling position until the round expired.

Faraldo had a flawless record of eight wins before Friday, including five in the Bellator cage. The finish-heavy pro went the distance for the first time as a pro in this appearance.

The performance put Chokheli back into the win column after suffering a quick submission loss against Goiti Yamauchi earlier this year.

The Rest of the Card

Imamshafi Aliev caused a cut on the head of Sean Connor Fallon in the first round, causing a doctor to stop the fight. Aliev now has nine wins as a pro.

Killys Mota spoiled the Bellator debut of undefeated lightweight Jairo Pacheco, using ground control to beat him via unanimous decision.

Archie Colgan had an incredibly one-sided victory on the prelims, taking Jesse Hannam down almost instantly and stopping him with ground and pound shots.

Sullivan Cauley scored one of the more brutal finishes of the night, knocking out Jay Radick in the first round with punches from full guard. Cauley’s record now has five consecutive wins. After his win, Cauley called for a fight on Bellator 290, where gym-mate Ryan Bader is expected to appear as well.

Undefeated Jordan Newman scored his fifth pro win this weekend, ending a dominant performance against Jayden Taulker with a rear naked choke.

Laird Anderson earned a stoppage due to strikes for the first time in his career Friday, putting away Rob Fenicle in the second round with punches from a crucifix position. He now has three wins as a pro.

The improved striking skills of Isaiah Hokit were on showcase this Friday, putting away Mathias Nader in the second round with punches.

Wladmir Gouvea picked up a win in his MMA debut, using a flurry of punches to stop Kory Moegenburg in the second round. Gouvea is a heavyweight prospect coming out of the notable gym AKA.

Quick Results

Main Card (9:00PM EST / 8:00PM CST) (Showtime)

Bout 13: Vadim Nemkov def. Corey Anderson via Decision, Unanimous (Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship)

Bout 12: Usman Nurmagomedov def. Patricky Pitbull via Decision, Unanimous (Bellator Lightweight Championship)

Bout 11: Timur Khizriev def. Daniel Weichel via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 10: Daniel James def. Tyrell Fortune via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 0:27)

Bout 9: Levan Chokheli def. Roman Faraldo via Decision, Unanimous

Preliminary Card (6:00PM EST / 5:00PM CST) (Youtube)

Bout 8: Imamshafi Aliev def. Sean Connor Fallon via TKO, Doctor Stoppage (RD 1, 3:20)

Bout 7: Killys Mota def. Jairo Pacheco via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 6: Archie Colgan def. Jesse Hannam via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:50)

Bout 5: Sullivan Cauley def. Jay Radick via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:01)

Bout 4: Jordan Newman def. Jayden Taulker via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 3:20)

Bout 3: Laird Anderson def. Rob Fenicle via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 2:28)

Bout 2: Isaiah Hokit def. Mathias Nader via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 3:48)

Bout 1: Wladmir Gouvea def. Kory Moegenburg via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 1:46)

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