Bellator 288 Features Nemkov vs. Anderson 2, Pitbull vs. Nurmagomedov Title Fights

Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson, Bellator 277
Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson, Bellator 277 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Bellator MMA

November’s Bellator 288 features two tantalizing title fights.

In one, 205 pound champ Vadim Nemkov (15-2, 1NC) and top contender Corey Anderson (16-5, 1NC) will run it back, in a do-over of the promotion’s light heavyweight grand prix final. In the other, Brazil’s Patricky Pitbull (24-10) will put lightweight gold on the line when he faces the undefeated Usman Nurmagomedov (15-0).

Promotion officials announced the news in a press release on Monday. Bellator 288 is set to take place at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL on Friday, November 18, 2022.

Nemkov vs. Anderson 2 was necessitated by the pair’s first meeting ending in a No Contest due to an accidental headbutt. With the fight not having left the third round, the judges were removed from the equation. Incredibly, Anderson was likely en route to a dominant decision victory at Bellator 277 in April, and almost certainly would have won had the foul happened later in the fight. However, “Overtime” proved to be a good sport by actually alerting the ref to the incident — though it would cost him his chance at gold, at least for the time being.

Nemkov defeated ex-champ Phil Davis and Julius Anglickas en route to the grand prix final. Anderson got the better of Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov and former champ Ryan Bader. Anderson hails from nearby Rockford, IL, and will essentially be fighting in his own back yard during the bout.

The surging Usman Nurmagomedov is a cousin of former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, and has been perfect in his professional career through 15 fights. Most recently, he took just under three minutes to put away Team Alpha Male’s Chris Gonzalez via submission. Pitbull, however, will represent his toughest test to date.

The Brazilian champ was supposed to defend his title against Sidney Outlaw last month, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. Outlaw wound up fighting Tofiq Musayev instead, losing via knockout in less than 30 seconds.