Bellator 244

On Friday, August 21, Bellator’s “FightSphere” at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. will host a light heavyweight world title main event bout featuring two-division Bellator champ Ryan Bader (27-5, 1 NC) defending his 205-pound championship against Russia’s Vadim Nemkov (11-2).

The evening’s co-main event sees former world champion Julia Budd (13-3) take on Connecticut’s Jessy Miele (9-3) in a featherweight clash.

Bellator 244: Bader vs. Nemkov airs live on Paramount Network and DAZN Friday, August 21 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT. Preliminary action will stream on Bellator MMA’s YouTube channel. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming days.

A winner of seven out of eight contests at both heavyweight and light heavyweight, Bellator’s double champ Ryan Bader will make his first light heavyweight title defense since defeating “King Mo” Lawal, Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko en route to winning Bellator’s 2018 Heavyweight World Grand Prix and becoming world heavyweight champ.

Fighting out of Chandler, Ariz., the former two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler out of Arizona State University began his professional career by winning season eight of The Ultimate Fighter. “Darth” continued his path of dominance by collecting victories over some of the 205-pound division’s top talent, including career wins over Phil Davis (x2), Linton Vassell, “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans, Rafael “Feijão” Cavalcante and Ovince Saint Preux. Most recently, Bader fought heavyweight Cheick Kongo to a no contest following an accidental eye poke.

The 28-year-old Russian powerhouse Nemkov, who is undefeated over his last six fights and a perfect 4-0 in Bellator since signing in 2017, will enter his first-ever title shot in MMA fresh off a submission win against former middleweight world champion Rafael Carvalho.

With that victory, Nemkov has defeated some of the best athletes Bellator has to offer, including three former champions consecutively in Carvalho, Phil Davis and Liam McGeary. A three-time Russian national sambo champion, Nemkov trains alongside the legendary Fedor Emelianenko in Stary Oskol, Russia for the standout Team Fedor.

Former Bellator featherweight world champion Budd has won 11 of her last 12 bouts, including seven victories since signing with Bellator in 2015. After defeating Dutch legend Marloes Coenen for the inaugural Bellator women’s featherweight world title at Bellator 174, the Gibson MMA-product and Port Moody, British Columbia native has gone on to collect victories over top contenders Olga Rubin, Arlene Blencowe and Talita Nogueira. With seven of her 13 career victories coming by way of knockout or submission, “The Jewel” will look to jump back into title contention with a statement win on August 21.

With an impressive career mark of 9-3, Miele will look to parlay her most recent win over former Bellator title contender Talita Nogueira when she competes at Bellator 244. Hailing from Waterbury, Conn. the 35-year-old is currently in the midst of a four-fight unbeaten streak and was slated to compete against Leslie Smith at Bellator 241 before it was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic. Fighting professionally since 2014, and competing against the likes of Nogueira and Charmaine Tweet along the way, “The Widowmaker” will undoubtedly face the stiffest test of her nearly six year-career when she meets Budd on August. 21.

Bellator 244: Bader vs. Nemkov Fight Card

MAIN CARD (Paramount Network and DAZN/10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT)

Light Heavyweight World Title Bout: Ryan Bader (27-5, 1 NC) vs. Vadim Nemkov (11-2)

Featherweight Co-Main Event: Julia Budd (13-3) vs. Jessy Miele (9-3)

Heavyweight Feature Bout: Roy Nelson (23-19) vs. Valentin Moldavsky (9-1)

PRELIMINARY CARD (Bellator YouTube Channel)

Middleweight Preliminary Bout: John Salter (17-4) vs. Andrew Kapel (15-6)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Adam Piccolotti (12-3) vs. Sidney Outlaw (14-4)

Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Erik Perez (19-7) vs. Joshua Hill (19-3)

Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Lucas Brennan (2-0) vs. Will Smith (3-1)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Vladimir Tokov (7-0) vs. Chris Gonzalez (4-0)

Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Lance Gibson Jr. (3-0) vs. Shane Kruchten (12-5)

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