The light heavyweight grand prix came to its conclusion at Bellator 277 in San Jose on Friday night. Well, it should have anyway.
With Vadim Nemkov attempting to defend his title against Corey Anderson in the finale, it was bragging rights, the championship, and a whole lot of money on the line Friday. A million dollars, to be exact.
Nemkov fought behind his jab early in the Bellator 277 co-main event. A low kick in the opening minute took Anderson’s feet out from under him, though he was quickly back up. Nemkov’s movement was excellent; Anderson’s combos might start with a connection, and finish hitting nothing but air.
When Anderson did punch his way in, getting the fight into wrestling range, Nemkov was able to reverse against the fence. They’d break, with Nemkov firing a right hand as they separated. Anderson then changed levels for a single-leg takedown, but could not complete the attempt. Instead, he fired a knee in the clinch, while Nemkov answered with an elbow.
The story of the opening round was simple: Anderson’s wrestling was being stymied by the takedown defense of Vadim Nemkov.
Round two saw Anderson walking forward. He’d tie up with Nemkov along the fence, pursuing a high crotch single, then attempting to hook a leg. Again, Nemkov’s defense held, but not for long. Anderson would finally land the takedown, move from guard to half guard, and back to guard again. Nemkov would try to scramble, but wound up on his back again, Anderson back in half guard. Anderson then moved to side control, sneaking in a hammer fist. He couldn’t keep the champ down much longer, however; Nemkov made it back up in the final minute.
This is a TENSE fight! #Bellator277 is LIVE on @SHOsports. pic.twitter.com/Jpjzcnmpop
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) April 16, 2022
A right hand landed clean early in the third round for Corey Anderson, and before long, he was able to secure another takedown. Anderson had the champ stacked up along the fence, and Nemkov didn’t look as comfortable off his back this time. However, he got back up, and pursued a choke, but Anderson broke free, and took the back in the process. Nemkov rolled, Anderson moved to side control, and he’d ride out the round in control, or so it seemed. In the dying seconds, the pair clashed heads, with Anderson immediately signalling a headbutt. It was Nemkov, however, who had a nasty cut. The ref called time, and brought the doctor in, who called off the fight — resulting in a no contest being ruled.
No winner to the grand prix, at least not on Friday night, in other words. Anderson was clearly dejected after the bout, as the momentum had been in his favor. The fight will have to be run back; Nemkov, meanwhile, retains his title. Though Anderson would declare himself champ on his way out of the arena.
Corey Anderson defiantly declares he’s the champion following the No Contest against Vadim Nemkov #Bellator277
— Gabriel Gonzalez (@DoubleGonTV) April 16, 2022
Official Result: Vadim Nemkov vs. Corey Anderson ends in a No Contest (accidental clash of heads), Round 3, 4:57