Bellator Light Heavyweight Semifinals Set For October 16
The semifinals of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix have a date, as they will take place Saturday, October 16.
The semifinals of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix are now set, as the two bouts will take place Saturday, October 16 live on Showtime.
Champion Vadim Nemkov will defend his title and look to secure a spot in the finals when he faces former UFC title contender Anthony Johnson from the Footprint Center. Also, former champion Ryan Bader goes toe-to-toe with Corey Anderson in the other semifinal contest.
Team Fedor’s Nemkov looks to remain the 205-pound champion on September 25, further cementing his status as the best light heavyweight fighter on the planet. In his last outing, Nemkov went five hard rounds with former champion Phil Davis, earning a unanimous decision victory en route to punching his ticket to the semifinals.
Should Nemkov defend his belt again and move on to the grand prix final, between Davis—a wrestler by trade—and the power-punching “Rumble,” Nemkov will have showcased his full repertoire as a mixed martial artist in the tournament. Nemkov has been perfect in Bellator to this point, winning all six of his contests including three knockouts and a submission.
“Rumble” made his debut in the opening round of the grand prix, engaging in a back-and-forth affair with Jose Augusto before notching another signature “Rumble” knockout in the second round.
This is my home now (Bellator) and I am going to make the most of it. Going against Nemkov, I see that it is going to be a big challenge. He doesn’t have any weaknesses,” Johnson said. “He’s a winner. I know he hits very hard. I have to be on my A-game. I can’t be lazy and play around. I am not saying I was lazy against Jose Augusto. But now I’ve got to go against the champ and I’ll be ready.”
With the victory, the 37-year-old made it clear his time away from the sport has not slowed him down, and with wins over the likes of Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson, Davis and current Bellator heavyweight champion Bader, “Rumble” remains one of the most imposing forces in the entire sport.
A winner in eight of his last ten bouts, Arizona State University’s “Darth” Bader will have a home game as he looks to keep the ball rolling when he steps into the Bellator cage for the ninth time, on the road to recapturing the 205-pound belt he once held.
“Corey looked good in that fight but, really, who was that guy? You say he was a dark horse but he’s a dark horse because no one knows him,” Bader said. “And your ground and pound didn’t show any power. It was volume, not power. Look, I am a gamer. I‘ve proven that again and again. I came here a two-division champion and I am still rolling.”
Bader—despite his participation in the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix—remains the heavyweight champion, a title he plans on unifying with the interim-champ Valentin Moldavksy following the conclusion of the 205-pound tournament. Bader’s storied career has earned him the moniker of a legend slayer, with wins over all-time greats like Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Rashad Evans, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Anderson has made an excellent impression since his arrival in Bellator, reeling off two dominant victories over the likes of veteran Melvin Manhoef and former ACA Champion Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov, both ending via TKO.
“It was super important for me to make a statement in the opening round and I did that. I came in and did what I said I was going to do,” Anderson said. “I worked my ground and pound and I showed my power to get the win. I was able to do it against a guy that everyone said is a Russian killer.”
The Rockton, Ill. product came to the promotion boasting an already impressive resumé, previously triumphing over Johnny Walker, Glover Teixeira and Jan Błachowicz amongst others. Anderson’s fight with Bader, his third under the Bellator banner, will be his first with the promotion while fans are in attendance.