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Russian fighter Vadim Nemkov defeated American Corey Anderson in the main fight of the Bellator 288 tournament in Chicago. Our compatriot won a five-round fight by unanimous decision and defended the light heavyweight title. Nemkov also received $1 million as the winner of the Bellator Grand Prix. Immediately after the fight, Yoel Romero entered the cage, and the fighters had a duel of views. The Cuban is the next contender for the light heavyweight belt, his fight with the Russian will take place on February 4, 2023 and will be one of the main events of the Bellator 290 tournament, where Fedor Emelianenko will have a farewell fight with Ryan Bader.

Powerful trades

Vadim Nemkov defended his title again against Corey Anderson. In April 2022 they already fought, and then the fight was declared invalid due to a deep cut at Nemkov after a headbutt. According to many experts and fans, in the course of that fight, the Russian was losing, so in revenge he was considered an underdog. En route to the $1 million Grand Prix finals, Nemkov passed experienced Phil Davis and Julius Anglickas. Anderson took down no less dangerous Dovletjan Yagshimurodov and Ryan Bader.

Russian fighter Vadim Nemkov and American Corey Anderson during a press conference at Bellator 277 and 279

Photo: Getty Images/Los Angeles Daily News/MediaNews Group/Hans Gutknecht

If Corey Anderson, when entering the cage, was greeted by fans with joyful shouts and applause, then Vadim Nemkov was booed. It is not completely clear why exactly: either for the last failed battle, or for a Russian passport. Fedor Emelianenko, Valentin Moldavsky and American Top Team coach Conan Silveira were in Nemkov’s corner.

The men started in the standing position, but both delivered few accurate shots. When Anderson tried to get to his feet, Nemkov defended himself great, and then nevertheless inflicted several accurate side blows on his opponent. Corey still had a successful takedown in the middle of the five-minute period, but Nemkov immediately stood up. At the end of the round, the fighters made an exchange in which Anderson got a powerful uppercut – it looked unpleasant. But right in front of the siren, Nemkov gave out a spectacular turntable, knocking his opponent down. The Russian tried to finish off his opponent, but time was up.

the battle

Fight between Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson at Bellator 288


The fighters, it seems, have ceased to be afraid of each other and increasingly began to arrange exchanges. Nemkov usually won out of them, so Anderson tried to take the fight to the ground, but the Russian continued to demonstrate excellent defensive skills. At the end of the second round, Nemtsov hit the American in the eye – I had to take a short break, but the fight continued almost immediately.

There are a million

In the third stretch, Nemkov had a great hold on Anderson on the left jab. Corey looked confused: in the standing position, he could not surprise the Russian, but it was impossible to put him on the floor. Under the right eye, both fighters had small hematomas, but the American looked more exhausted. Bye Nemkov took all three rounds – largely thanks to Emelianenko’s tips from the corner.

At the beginning of the fourth, Anderson in a chaotic cabin caught Nemkov with a crooked blow, he had to save himself in the clinch. And in the middle of the segment, the Russian hit an excellent low-kick. The American limped and started to fight again, but nothing came of it except for a clinch at the net.

In the final stretch, Anderson’s attempts to drop Nemkov on the canvas looked quite pathetic. The Russian did not allow the fight to be taken down, and on his feet he acted as confidently as possible. The only problem was the American’s clinch, from where he could deliver more punches and at least score points. But the Russian fighter brought the fight to the end, and after five rounds there was no doubt about his victory.

Bellator 288

Award ceremony for Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 288


Nemkov took the fight by unanimous decision – 48:47, 49:46, 49:46. The Russian defended the belt, received another one for the Grand Prix and became the owner of $1 million.

“Of course, there was a very emotionally intense fight, I was very worried about Vadim, but he was in excellent shape, well prepared, including psychologically, and showed a fight worthy of a champion,” Fedor Emelianenko wrote on his social networks. – Our team and the whole country today sincerely rejoices at the victories of Vadim Nemkov and Usman Nurmagomedov. We have once again proved that the Russian school of MMA is one of the best. Our guys have two championship belts. I am sure that they will hold them in their hands for a very long time and delight them with their victories.”

Usman Nurmagomedov wins co-main event at Bellator 288. By unanimous decision, he defeated Brazilian Patricky Freire (50:45, 50:44, 50:44), winning the lightweight title. Now on account of the 24-year-old Nurmagomedov 16 wins in 16 fights in MMA.

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