Phoenix, AZ — Light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov got the job done at Bellator 268, overcoming an early stumble to dominate Julius Anglickas in their light heavyweight grand prix semifinal. The end came via submission in the fourth round.
“I feel great. I think the opponent was a lot tougher than most people gave him credit for,” Nemkov (14-2) told media outlets including Cageside Press following Saturday’s main event. “For myself, I was ready for it, I knew he was going to be tough, and I got the victory.”
Anglickas caught the champ off-guard in one area in particular. “I was a little surprised. I actually expected him to grapple more, and I was going to be the guy standing.” And while he appeared to be rocked by Anglickas in the opening round, “I wasn’t really hurt by the punch,” the champ claimed. Rather, Nemkov explained via translator, he was “more caught by surprise.”
Nemkov will now move on to the light heavyweight grand prix final, still the reigning, defending champion. There, he’ll take on Corey Anderson, who blasted through ex-champ (and current Bellator heavyweight champion) Ryan Bader in under a minute.
“I didn’t expect the fight to be so short. I kind of saw them more, doing a lot of wrestling and possibly going the distance,” Nemkov replied when asked about Anderson’s performance. “I just started warming up, and all of a sudden the fight’s over, and I was like ‘wow.’ It kind of sucks, my fight went four rounds and his was one minute, but hopefully Bellator will wait for me to recover fully and allow me to prepare for the final. I still intend on winning this grand prix.”
The next stop in the grand prix is still up in the air. Bellator President Scott Coker has suggested he’d like to wrap things up in late January or early February, 2022. Nemkov, for his part, doesn’t care where the fight takes place — but after the tournament is over, he dreams of competing at home, given he’s missing out on the Moscow card later this month.
“For the final I don’t care, where ever Bellator tells me to go I’ll fight. But it’d be cool if afterwards, they did another show in Moscow and I could fight there,” said Nemkov. “That’d be kind of cool. Or in Saint Petersburg. Just anywhere in Russia. I’d like to fight there at least once.”
Watch the full Bellator 268 post-fight press conference with Vadim Nemkov above. More coverage from the event can be found below.