SAN JOSE, Calif. – Vadim Nemkov foresaw one of two possible opponents at the end of his Bellator light heavyweight grand prix road and he has right.
On Friday at Bellator 277, Nemkov (14-2 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) defends the title he’s carried throughout the tournament when he fights former UFC light heavyweight contender Corey Anderson (16-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) as the card’s co-main event.
“I’m very happy that this fight even happened,” Nemkov told MMA Junkie at a news conference Wednesday. “I’m very happy to be here. Fedor (Emelianenko) flies in today and the whole team will be stacked. I’m very thankful to Bellator. … When this grand prix started, I knew it would either be Corey Anderson or Ryan Bader when I expected to be in the final, which is now. I’m ready to get my win on Friday night.”
Like his mentor, heavyweight great Emelianenko, Bellator light heavyweight titleholder Nemkov is nonchalant about the optics of a fight or the stakes that could stem from it. As a result, he wasn’t willing to go out of his way to predict one thing or another. All he knows is that he will solidify his spot as one of the best in the world if he wins.
“I think it’ll be one of the best ones, but again, playing expectation games is just guesses,” Nemkov said. “The fight will tell, but I think I’ll be one of the best light heavyweights in the world after I secure the win.”
Should be successfully get through Anderson, Nemkov will have defeated four of the promotion’s top five-ranked contenders – with the lone exception being Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, who is currently battling career-delaying health issues.
With that in mind, Nemkov expressed interest in a future matchup with Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi (14-2 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) who was recently booked to fight Johnny Eblen (11-0 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) in the main event of Bellator 282. Bellator president Scott Coker in the past has indicated he is open to the shift of weight classes should Mousasi ask for it.
“If Mousasi wants this fight and Bellator will except it and the fans want to see it, I will definitely welcome him to the light heavyweight division,” Nemkov said. “It’s definitely a fight I would want to test and see.”
Bellator 277 takes place Friday at SAP Center with the main card airing on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.
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