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Bellator's making waves in 2023


Los Angeles — BELLATOR MMA today announced an extension to the contract of reigning, undisputed BELLATOR Light Heavyweight World Champion and No. 2-ranked pound-for-pound competitor Vadim Nemkov (16-2, 1 NC). The multi-year, multi-fight extension bolsters the promotion’s talent-rich roster, which is home to several of the top fighters in the world.

Nemkov, 30, has extended his deal with BELLATOR following his million-dollar Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix finals victory over rival Corey Anderson. The win kept the Russian’s BELLATOR record perfect at a remarkable 8-0, 1 NC, which includes victories over former champions in Phil Davis, Liam McGeary, and Rafael Carvalho, as well as current Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader. He will continue to carry the torch for his mentor, the iconic Fedor Emelianenko.

This is the second notable signing of the year as earlier this month, Featherweight Grand Prix Champion and former 145lb titlist AJ "Mercenary" McKee. The second generation Mixed Martial Artist's entire career has been under the Bellator banner. Scott Coker had this to say about his rising star, "Our top priority has always been to cultivate talent from the ground up, and with AJ I can proudly say we have witnessed this young man blossom into a bonafide superstar in the Bellator cage."

He also said "Vadim Nemkov was another athlete that we wanted to make sure we had on the BELLATOR roster for the foreseeable future. He’s a huge part of one of the divisions that we feel is the strongest in all of mixed martial arts. Our light heavyweight tournament showcased that we have the top talent in the world at 205-pounds and we’re proud to be able to retain such a talented fighter to continue to lead that division. I am looking forward to seeing Vadim in exciting matchups in 2023 and beyond.”

In nine BELLATOR fights, Nemkov has quickly established himself as one of the best fighters in all mixed martial arts; unbeaten in his last 11 fights, Nemkov has amassed five knockouts and two submission victories over quality opponents during that span. As of January 16, leading MMA database Sherdog ranks Nemkov as their top-ranked light heavyweight, regardless of promotion. Nemkov is ranked within the Top Five of ESPN’s, USA Today’s, and Vox Media’s light heavyweight sport-wide rankings.

Nemkov was slated to face former Olympic medalist Yoel Romero in a fourth title defense as the co-headliner of BELLATOR 290, but was forced to withdraw. That highly-anticipated fight instantly resonated with fight fans, and will likely be rescheduled for the first bout on Nemkov’s newly-signed contract with BELLATOR MMA.


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