Vadim Nemkov


Cruises to retain belt, earn $1 million prize
Light HeavyweightBellator
November 28, 2022
Nemkov defeated Corey Anderson via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) at Bellator 288 on Nov. 18 in Chicago. He wins the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix and retaining the Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship.
Nemkov entered this fight as a decent-sized betting underdog at roughly (+165), which was likely due to the fact that many saw him as losing on the scorecards when the two fought back in April. Nemkov was able to retain his belt in that fight after an accidental clash of heads in the third round forced the proceedings to get called off, but many thought that Anderson -- an Illinois native -- would have the upper hand in the rematch. Instead, Nemkov showed vastly improved wrestling here, stuffing all 15 of Anderson's takedown attempts. That allowed him to keep the fight standing and use crisp striking to stay ahead on the scorecards. After the fight, Nemkov faced off against Yoel Romero in the cage, and it was announced that the two would fight for the belt at Bellator 290 on Feb. 4.
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Keeps belt in strange fashion
Light HeavyweightBellator
April 18, 2022
Nemkov fought Corey Anderson to a no-contest (accidental clash of heads) that ended at 4:57 of Round 3 at Bellator 277 on Friday in San Jose.
When it's all said and done, Nemkov will retain his Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship belt, though the promotion did not settle a winner in its Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Nemkov started the fight fast, but it was Anderson who was getting the better of the striking exchanges in Rounds 2 and 3. The two found themselves in a grappling exchange late in Round 3, but an accidental clash of heads led to a big cut on Nemkov's head that forced doctors to call off the fight. Since it was a five-round fight, the rules dictate that the fight must get to Round 4 in order for a technical decision -- where it goes to the judges' scorecards -- to be in play. Due to this result, no fighter will go home with the $1 million top prize in the Grand Prix, so a rematch is likely in the near future after both men receive the proper medical clearance.
Headed for LHW Grand Prix Finals
Light HeavyweightBellator
October 18, 2021
Nemkov defeated Julius Anglickas via submission (Kimura) at 4:25 of Round 4 at Bellator 268 on Saturday in Phoenix.
Facing a late-notice replacement for Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, Nemkov entered this main event matchup as high as a (-900) betting favorite in some books. The champion got caught early with a right hand, but used his wrestling to quickly recover, and it was all downhill for Anglickas from there. Nemkov showed speed and power advantages on the feet, but where he truly separated himself was with his wrestling. He consistently found himself in top position on the mat, which allowed him to deal out vicious ground-and-pound that eventually became too much for his opponent and set up the submission victory. Nemkov is next set up to take on Corey Anderson in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Final in early-2022, with a $1 million prize on the line. Anderson punched his ticket to the final on this card as well, finishing former champion Ryan Bader with a first-round knockout.
Defends title, advances in LHW Grand Prix
Light HeavyweightBellator
April 19, 2021
Nemkov defeated Phil Davis via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) at Bellator 257 on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.
The win will allow Nemkov to retain his Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship and extend his winning streak to eight, in addition to advancing to the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals (where he'll face the winner of a May matchup between Yoel Romero and Anthony Johnson). Nemkov banked several rounds early due to a fast start, and while he was cut by Davis at one point, there was little doubt who the victor here was. He steadily attacked the lead leg of Davis and landed the crisper combinations throughout the bout. A prodigy of Fedor Emelianenko, the 28-year-old Nemkov has an excellent future ahead.
New Bellator champion
Light HeavyweightBellator
August 23, 2020
Nemkov defeated Ryan Bader via TKO (head kick and punches) at 3:02 of Round 2 at Bellator 244 on Friday to become the new Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion.
Nemkov got off to a bit of a slow start, as it was a close first round that saw him get taken down (briefly) and eat a big shot late in the round. It was Round 2 when Nemkov took over completely. A high kick sent Bader crashing to the canvas, and Nemkov pounced with a flurry of follow-up shots. Referee Kerry Hatley gave the champion every chance in the world to survive, and Bader remarkably was able to get back up to his feet. Nemkov hadn't punched himself out just yet, however, as he blitzed for another follow-up shot that again floored Bader, and this time the referee didn't provide as much leeway. It was a highly-impressive effort from a (+120) betting underdog who happens to be just 28 years old. The Fedor Emelianenko protege has a bright future ahead, which may even include crossing over to the UFC one day. In the meantime, however, look for Bellator to try to run this fight back, though Nemkov would presumably enter as the favorite next time after this big performance.
Title shot rescheduled
Light HeavyweightBellator
July 30, 2020
Nemkov will take on Ryan Bader for the Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship at Bellator 244 on Aug. 21, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
Nemkov had originally been scheduled for this opportunity in May and was set to enter as a (+145) betting underdog, but the event -- along with all other Bellator shows -- was postponed due to the pandemic. He'll now get a shot at Bader's belt, which will be interesting considering Bader hasn't competed at 205 pounds since a 2017 title defense against Linton Vassell. Since then, he's been focused on winning the Bellatory Heavyweight Grand Prix, while Nemkov has added to what is now a six-fight winning streak. Most recently, Nemkov has handled the top light heavyweights Bellator has to offer, defeating Rafael Carvalho, Phil Davis and Liam McGeary.