Bellator 288: Vadim Nemkov Believes Fight-Ending Foul in First Anderson Fight Result of Fatigue

To many, Vadim Nemkov was on his way to losing his first fight against Corey Anderson, in what was supposed to have been Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix final earlier this year.

Instead, an accidental head butt saw the action waved off just prior to the end of the third round. The resulting No Contest necessitated a rematch, which arrives Friday with Bellator 288.

Ahead of the bout, speaking during the Bellator 288 media day, champ Nemkov (15-2, 1NC) told media members that he didn’t believe he was on his way to losing the bout.

“I don’t think so. Obviously that round wasn’t going my way, but there were two more rounds left,” Nemkov suggested. “I’m a champion, I’m used to fighting championship rounds, five rounds. Nobody can predict how those rounds would have gone.”

Nemkov believes the fight-ending foul, in fact, was a sign that Anderson was fatiguing. “I feel like Corey was starting to get a little tired, and I believe the headbutt was kind of the result of getting tired, and [being] sloppier. So nobody can say how that fight would have gone.”

In terms of any surprises from his opponent in that initial contest, “the only thing that really surprised me was his wrestling,” Nemkov added. “I work with a lot of wrestlers in Russia, freestyle wrestlers, but the styles are different, from American freestyle wrestlers to Russian freestyle wrestlers. So that was the only thing that really surprised me and and of caught me off-guard. But for this fight, I was able to train both in the States and back home, so I was able to work with both U.S. wrestlers and Russian wrestlers. So I believe I’m ready.”

Nothing else changed in terms of Nemkov’s preparation, he later told Cageside Press. “Everything else was kind of the same. I think for the last fight, as I look back, why I started having problems in the fight was the preparation was very long. The date changed and they just kept prolonging, and I stayed in peak form for a long period of time, and I just kind of peaked before the fight. So by the time the fight happened, my body was kind of already exhausted and kind of on its way down. I think that’s what happened.”

“This time it was different. We had a date, it’s November 18 and November 18 is what I was training for, and I’ll be in my peak shape as I always have been in the past.”

Watch the full Bellator 288 virtual media day appearance from Vadim Nemkov above. Light heavyweight champ Nemkov faces Corey Anderson in the main event this Friday, November 18, 2022 in Chicago, IL.