Bellator 300: Nurmagomedov and Primus Look to Make Big Statements on the Big Stage

Usman Nurmagomedov and Brent Primus, Bellator 300
Usman Nurmagomedov faces off against Brent Primus ahead of Bellator 300. Photo: Lucas Noonan/Bellator

Bellator lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov is in the midst of a tournament, but the future implies there’s a different reason to deliver against the dangerous Brent Primus at Bellator 300.

At 25 years-old, Bellator’s lightweight champion has the world on a silver platter.  He is younger than the promotion’s other dynamo, AJ McKee, was when he won the belt.  Carrying a skillset beyond his years, with a name and legacy that extends far beyond him, Usman Nurmagomedov is exactly the kind of contender you’d expect to be excited about a change of scenery or a potential bidding war for his services.

But that is a conversation for tomorrow.  Today, Bellator continues to run business as usual and Nurmagomedov is in the midst of a run that would make him one of the most sought after free agents of the past several years.  The undefeated phenom has passed every test despite his relative lack of professional experience as he defeated the likes of former Bellator champion Patricky Pitbull and former UFC champion Benson Henderson en route to winning and defending the title himself.  Brent Primus is another formidable veteran to potentially add to his resume.  Nurmagomedov has two fights to win before calling himself a Grand Prix winner, but you can be sure that if he does complete the mission that every organization will be ready to come to the negotiating table to sign him as a potential centerpiece of their promotion.

For Brent Primus, the spotlight has at times been an arduous one.  A solid contender who went a perfect 7-0 to get a title shot, Primus then dealt with the aftermath of winning the title due to longtime champion Michael Chandler suffering an injury.  Chandler routed Primus to regain his title in the immediate rematch, and it left Primus in the awkward place of living up to his title of former champion after the context of the first two bouts.  It was an unenviable position, but it would be one that Primus worked himself out of through the same grind that brought him to a title shot in the first place.

Primus scored back-to-back victories to wash away the shroud of the Chandler bouts before losing a controversial split-decision to Nurmagomedov’s teammate Islam Mamedov.  He would then split his next two fights in defeating the aforementioned Henderson and losing to fellow Grand Prix participant Alexander Shabliy.  When the Grand Prix was announced, Primus was snubbed of a place in the bracket but the withdrawal of Sidney Outlaw led to an opportunity for the former champion to join the tournament.  He took full advantage of it with by winning his first round in enemy territory as he took a decision over Mansour Barnoui in May.

Recent talks have bolstered confidence that regardless of what the future of Bellator is, the Grand Prix will conclude before the promotion potentially shuts down.  That would mean that barring a serious injury, the winner between Nurmagomedov and Primus will take on the winner of the other semifinal between Patricky Pitbull and Alexander Shabliy in 2024.