Bellator 244: Vadim Nemkov Reacts to Jon Jones’ Congratulatory Tweet

Nemkov brings 205lb belt to Russia after shocking finish of Bader.

At the Mohegan Sun Arena at Bellator 244, Vadim Nemkov (12-2) finished double champion Ryan Bader in the second round of their title fight. It was an end that was both shocking and wildly entertaining, set up by an impressive head kick. The Light Heavyweight was even congratulated online by former UFC champion Jon Jones. Nemkov handed Bader his first loss since 2016, when “Darth” Bader himself was part of the UFC.

“I feel great,” Nemkov told media outlets including Cageside Press post-fight (translated). “When I was offered this fight I didn’t hesitate one bit, my team prepared well so really this is our victory.”

Nemkov is a prodigy and student of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor also had the chance to fight Bader for a belt, which he did at Bellator 214 in the grand prix tournament final in a losing effort. For the lead up to Bader vs. Nemkov, there’s been plenty of talk about the revenge storyline. The idea that Team Fedor could get one back as they face Bader once again. It’s an idea that Vadim Nemkov downplayed. But he has that revenge regardless, and is now the first Russian to hold this light heavyweight gold in a major organization.

“When I was training for this fight I was actually mentally preparing for the historic value of the fight,” Nemkov explained. “The first Russian to not just win but even fight for a 205lb title.”

With many options available for Nemkov to defend his title against, some tantalizing match-ups come to mind. Corey Anderson just signed with Bellator after leaving the UFC, although he has no official date to make his debut. Phil Davis vs. Lyoto Machida 2 is set for Bellator 245. Nemkov is going to be watching closely.

“The situation is a little unclear right now,” Nemkov observed. “Machida is fighting Phil Davis so I’d expect the winner of their fight to be my first title defense. Corey Anderson just got signed,” Nemkov continued. “It’d be wrong for him to just get a title shot because he came over from the UFC. At the end of the day I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me.”

It was brought to Nemkov’s attention that former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, tweeted about him, congratulating the Russian on his victory.

“Thank you, it means a lot, to hear praises from a legend like Jon Jones.”

Watch the full Bellator 244 post-fight press conference with Vadim Nemkov above.