Bellator 244: Vadim Nemkov Would Have Fought if Bader Wasn’t Ready: “If I don’t fight, my family doesn’t eat.”

Title challenger prepared for greatness, feels he has faced Bader-types already.

Challenging for gold this Friday, Vadim Nemkov (12-2) is on a six fight win streak, and has not lost inside the Bellator cage. Joining the promotion back in 2017, Nemkov is 4-0 in the promotion and finally finds himself sharing the cage with light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader. And when it comes down to it, Nemkov feels he has already beaten Bader-type opponents.

“Ryan Bader is kind of in the Phil Davis category, he’s very similar, even stylistically he’s similar. I had a gameplan for Phil Davis, I have a gameplan for Ryan Bader,” Nemkov stated. “I’ve faced top competition already, and come out on top [before]. The same will happen on Friday.”

Nemkov, a Russian fighter living in Belgorod, has payback in mind for Bellator’s double champ Bader. A rivalry born through his teammate, Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor, also from Belgorod, fought Bader at Bellator 214 coming up short with a first round loss. Although Nemkov feels for his teammate, at the end of the day this is his shot.

“I was obviously very disappointed when Fedor lost,” Nemkov told media outlets including Cageside Press at the Bellator 244 media day. “But really this fight is for me, it’s for me to win. It feels good to bring back a victory for the team, but this fight is for me.”

This isn’t the first time the two have been set to meet. As the pandemic hit, Bellator 242, with Bader vs. Nemkov atop the card, was pending but eventually cancelled. Now, three months later, Nemkov admits that if Bader wasn’t ready he would have fought either way.

“I was concerned about a lot of things. I was concerned Bader might want to defend his heavyweight belt instead of the light heavyweight belt in the pandemic, because he doesn’t want to cut weight,” Nemkov admitted. “I was concerned there might be travel issues, I was concerned we could go back into lockdowns. Many concerns. Luckily all of them have passed and the fight is happening,” Nemkov continued. “If Bader wasn’t ready or didn’t want to fight or whatever the delay was, I was ready to take on anybody else.”

“If I don’t fight my family doesn’t eat,” he finished.

Bellator 244 takes place this Friday, August 21 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The main card airs live on Paramount Network and DAZN.