UFC Bellator grand prix winner is ‘best 205er on the planet’ Tv Channel
PHOENIX – The finals of the Bellator light heavyweight grand prix is set and president Scott Coker believes there’s more than just crowning the winner of the tournament on the line.
At Saturday’s Bellator 268, light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson punched their tickets to the finals with their semifinal victories.
In the co-main event, Anderson (16-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) made quick work of former Bellator champ Ryan Bader (28-6 MMA, 6-1 BMMA), finishing the fight via TKO in the first round in under a minute. In the main event, Nemkov (14-2 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) overcame some early adversity to put on a masterful and dominant championship performance, leading to a submission victory of Julius Anglickas (10-2 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) in the fourth round.
It was these performances from fighters at the top of the division that leads Coker to believe he has the best in the world under the Bellator banner.
“When he (Nemkov) got caught, I thought it was over,” Coker told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the post-fight news conference about the early moments in Nemkov’s fight. “It wasn’t just a little shot. He got caught with a big shot, and I thought, ‘Okay, this fight’s over.’ To his credit, he came back, he fought smart – when he got (Anglickas) cut, I think that’s what turned the tides and he saw the ability to hurt the opponent. When you’re the champ, you step up, and that’s what he did.”
Standing across from Nemkov in the grand prix final will be Anderson, a former UFC top contender who holds wins over both men competing in the upcoming title fight at UFC 267, champion Jan Blachowicz and challenger Glover Teixeira.
“It was a short fight, he (Bader) got caught, and once he got caught that was it,” Coker said about Anderson’s quick finish over Bader in the co-main event. “I think that Corey timed it perfectly. It’s something I hoped we’d get to some more rounds out of the fight, but this is MMA, things happen extremely quick, fast, and explosive. I think that’s why people mixed martial arts, because it is very explosive and that’s what you saw tonight with Corey.”
Since joining Bellator in 2020, Anderson has now racked up three straight victories, finishing each of his opponents. He defeated Melvin Manhoef, Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov, and now Bader, all by TKO stoppage.
The champ Nemkov will be entering the grand prix finals on a nine-fight win streak, which includes five stoppage wins in Bellator. If he wins the upcoming finals bout, he will also secure the third defense of his light heavyweight title.
When asked if Coker thinks the best light heavyweight in the world will be determined in the grand prix final, he simply and confidently replied, “Absolutely.”
“This was a gauntlet of 205ers and whoever wins this tournament, to me, is the best 205er on the planet, period,” Coker continued.
Despite needing a replacement like Anglickas, the tournament was filled with names familiar to MMA fans such as Lyoto Machida, Phil Davis, and Anthony Johnson.
The date of the final bout between Anderson and Nemkov has yet to be announced, but the Bellator boss believes the winner will not only walk the Bellator light heavyweight champion and grand prix winner, but also the best in the weight class, regardless of promotion.