Friday night was a big night for light heavyweight Karl Albrektsson.
A former RIZIN standout, Albrektsson debuted in Bellator to much fanfare in 2019, only to be stopped by Phil Davis. Competing outside the promotion during the pandemic last year, the AllStars Gym team member returned at Bellator 257, picking up a dominant unanimous decision win over Viktor Nemkov.
Nemkov, of course, would be the brother of Bellator light heavyweight champ Vadim Nemkov, who Albrektsson has a previous win over as well. All of a sudden, Bellator’s 205lb weight class, with it’s ongoing grand prix, is getting more and more interesting.
“It feels great,” Albrektsson said on picking up wins over both brothers. The game plan Friday, he stated, was to tire Viktor Nemkov out. Luckily enough, Nemkov wasted some energy on a futile guillotine attempt, helping the process along.
“The first time in was close, but I’m very conscious about my breathing, I was able to breathe a lot through my nose,” Albrektsson said of the submission attempt, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press at the post-fight press conference. The Swedish fighter also noticed his opponent appearing to tire. “I noticed a lot of his breathing was mouth breathing.”
With the win, Albrektsson is in an interesting spot in the light heavyweight division. The key players are all tied up in the grand prix. Julius Angelikas was awarded an alternate spot following his own with at Bellator 257. Scott Coker has hinted there may be other alternates as well, though he hopes they won’t be required.
Asked about taking up one of those spots, Albrektsson hinted it would come down to the right deal. “Maybe. It’ll all up for discussion. If the right offer is [made], sure.”
After waiting nearly two years to get his first Bellator win, Albrektsson said it was “very important to me to get this first win in Bellator. I had a showing here two years ago against Phil [Davis] and it didn’t go my way. I’ve learned and improved a lot since then. I feel I got my game plan through and was able to do some good work.”
As for what comes next, if it’s not a grand prix alternate spot, “King” said that he would wait and see how the rest of the card played out. Primarily, he had his eye on one unnamed opponent. “I was supposed to fight, I don’t want to name his name, but they told me he was injured. But I know he’s on the card today, so I don’t know if he was injured or not, or scared— I don’t know, we’ll see after the event.”
Later in the evening, Julius Angelickas revealed that he was originally scheduled to face Albrektsson, though no reason was given for the opponent switch.
Watch the full Bellator 257 post-fight press conference with Karl Albrektsson above.