Bader to Defend LHW Title vs. Nemkov
After spending the last couple of years at heavyweight to pursue and claim the Bellator heavyweight championship and become the promotion’s first champ-champ, Ryan Bader will be returning to light heavyweight to defend his Bellator championship at that weight class.
Bader will defend Bellator’s 205-pound title against Vadim Nemkov on May 9 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. Bellator MMA confirmed the fight during the Bellator 238 broadcast.
Bader will enter this fight on an eight-fight unbeaten streak. Bader claimed the light heavyweight championship at Bellator 180 in June 2017, defeating Phil Davis in his promotional debut after jumping from the UFC. Bader successfully defended the light heavyweight title against Linton Vassell at Bellator 186 that November.
Bader then went on to compete in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, knocking out Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal in 15 seconds before dominating Matt Mitrione in the semi-finals and finishing Fedor Emelianenko with just one punch in 35 seconds at Bellator 214 last year. By defeating Emelianenko in the finals, Bader became the first fighter in Bellator history to hold two weight classes’ titles simultaneously and the second fighter in Bellator history to win Bellator titles in two weight classes at any point in their career.
Bader was last in action at Bellator 226 in September, with a heavyweight title fight against Cheick Kongo going to a No Contest.
Nemkov has won all four of his fights in the Bellator cage thus far and six straight. After knocking out Philipe Lins at Bellator 182, he finished a former champion in Liam McGeary at Bellator 194 and defeated another former champion in Davis at Bellator 209 in November 2018. Nemkov most recently submitted former Bellator middleweight champ Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 230 in October.