The Bellator MMA featherweight grand prix wrapped up with A.J. McKee’s sensational win over Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire, now attention can turn to the light heavyweight tournament.
It was announced on Saturday that the 205 lbs semifinal matchups will take place on October 16th at Footprint Center (formerly the Talking Stick Resort Arena) in Phoenix, Arizona. In the main event, Vadim Nemkov will take on former UFC title challenger Anthony Johnson, in what doubles as a title defense for Nemkov. The other side of the bracket pits former Bellator champion Ryan Bader against fellow ex-UFC contender Corey Anderson.
Nemkov (14-2) won the championship from Bader last August and successfully defended his belt by beating Phil Davis in the tournament quarterfinals. Johnson (23-6) was supposed to fight Yoel Romero in the most anticipated quarterfinal, but Romero wasn’t given medical clearance and instead he took on late replacement Jose Augusto. ‘Rumble’ survived an early knockdown to win by second-round KO. This was his first fight since his 2017 retirement.
Bader (28-6-1 NC) bounced back from his TKO defeat to Nemkov by winning a comfortable unanimous decision versus former UFC light heavyweight king Lyoto Machida. He’s also Bellator’s heavyweight champ but his one title defense ended in a no contest vs. Cheick Kongo and he obviously won’t be going back to the division for as long as he’s in the LHW tourney. Anderson (15-5) joined Bellator after he was granted release from his UFC contract last year. His debut was an easy win over Melvin Manhoef, and in his quarterfinal he stopped Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in the third round.
No other fights have been announced for this event, but you can expect news on that in the coming weeks. Showtime will broadcast the main card, with prelims streamed live on YouTube.
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