It was a banner night for Russian MMA as Vadim Nemkov retained his lightweight title and Usman Nurmagomedov captured the lightweight belt at Bellator 288.
Nemkov blocked Anderson with leg kicks and denied all 15 of Anderson’s takedown attempts, taking 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46 points to win the Bellator light heavyweight title for the $1 million payout.
“I was well prepared,” Nemkov said afterwards, through an interpreter. “I wasn’t distracted, and kept the pace pretty high. Like I said, in replay matches, I never lose, and you guys didn’t believe me.”
Bellator commentator John McCarthy announced that Nemkoff will face Yoel Romero in Bellator’s recently confirmed return to CBS at Bellator 290 on February 4.
Anderson kept the pressure high, trying to force his way into takedown opportunities. Every time he got close, Nemkov was ready for single leg setups and leg traps. That let Anderson overtake him, and Nemkov took an early lead with better distance management. A hard hit and a one-two run were scored frequently, and a wheel kick dropped Anderson at the end of the first.
In the second straight fight, Nemkov and Anderson bumped heads as Anderson ducked for takedowns. This time, however, there was no chop to chop things off like in their first fight, delaying Bellator’s big run. Anderson was winning the first fight — the second time around, he was down again and again.
A kick to the calf in the fourth round didn’t help matters at all for the American, who kept a gritty face as his leg stiffened from further punishment. He finished the fight as much as he spent the rest of the fight, stalking and taking counters from his more accurate opponent.
Nurmagomedov freezes Pitbull
At 24, Nurmagomedov joined his older cousin, Khabib Nurmagomedov, as the undefeated MMA champion with Patricky Pitbull shutting out the Bellator 288 co-main event.
Small Nurmagomedov sniped from distance before exploding in takedowns that left Pitbull unable to get much of any offense. The final scores were 50-45 and 50-44 twice for the new Bellator lightweight champion, who extended his unbeaten record to 16-0 in his fifth appearance in the promotion.
Nurmagomedov almost finished off Pitbull early, ending the second round with a flurry of elbows that the referee was looking closely at. Pitbull closed the next shot in the third round, but didn’t make it until the fifth round. Urged on in no uncertain terms by featherweight champion Patricio’s brother Pitbull, Patriki stepped forward and landed most of the fight’s blows. Unfortunately for him, that opened him up to elimination, and he spent the next several minutes on his back, trying to avoid the worst. After abandoning the pinning to avoid suffocation, he was able to reverse the situation and get him back on his feet. The final moments were not enough to catch Nurmagomedov, who smiled and congratulated his opponent.
One can imagine Khabib Nurmagomedov somewhere smiling, but thanks to Usman’s corner, retired UFC welterweight Abubakar Nurmagomedov, the retired UFC lightweight champion, joined his cousin’s celebration via FaceTime.
Khizriev delays the surge of forces late in Vyschel
Daniel Wiechell needed to do something, and quickly, after being picked off his feet by Timur Khiziev in the first 10 minutes together. Unlike many of his Dagestani colleagues, Khizriev was more comfortable on his feet and caught Witchel at the counter regularly. With one round to go, Weichel came very close to turning the tables with a takedown and a drop back; Khizrev was forced to defend his neck, leg (via Soloev’s stretch), and arm. The flying knee that shook in the first two frames found its mark, and Khizriev wobbled backwards. However, it was a little too late, and Khizriev held on to win the decision. Two of three judges did not give Weichel credit for his late over, giving unanimous scorecards to the Dagestani fighter via 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
James escapes from suffocation and shatters Fortune
Daniel James refused to appeal tinsel for Tyrell Fortune and stung the heavyweight vet Bellator early in the second round. James spent some time on the canvas early on, a victim of Fortune’s formidable wrestling skills. When he tried to run away to his feet, Fortune patted him from behind naked and squeezed for dear life. James may have been seconds away from getting out, but his hand control allowed him to survive and reverse the situation. When they met in the center of the cage in the second round, an exchange of punches did not favor Fortune, and his upper right take sent him to the canvas. A series of brutal follow-up elbows finished the job, and James had scripted his improbable comeback, resulting in Fortune losing his second by knockout.
Chokheli takes 0 to Faraldo
Levan Chokeli exposed a gap in knockout artist Roman Faraldo’s skills, repeatedly taking him to the canvas when the action got intense. Cage catches kept Faraldo upright on several crucial takedown attempts, but the second attempt cost him a point, and he was unable to finish Chokheli. After rocking the Georgian in the second, Faraldo took the mount and lunged away, only for the time to run out. By the third, Faraldo was low on gas and walked straight to the counters before giving up an easy takedown. Chokheli finished first and moved to the finish line, earning a 29-27 unanimous decision.
Chokheli is back in the winning column after a setback against Goiti Yamauchi, while Faraldo suffered the first loss of his professional career after five consecutive Bellator cage finishes.
Bellator Full 288 Results:
Vadim Nemkov defeated. Corey Anderson via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
Usman Nurmagomedov def. Patricky Pitbull via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-44)
Timur Khizriev defeated. Daniel Weishel by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Daniel James def. Tyrell Fortune via TKO (elbows) – 2nd round, 0:27
Levan Chokheli def. Roman Faraldo via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Imam Shafi Aliyev def. Shawn Fallon via TKO (cut) – Round 1, 3:20
Killys Mota def. Jairo Pacheco via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Archie Colgan def. Jesse Hannam via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:50
Sullivan Cooley defeated. Jay Radek via KO (punches) – 1st round, 1:01
Jordan Newman def. Jaden Tolker via submission (naked rear choke) – Round 2, 3:20
Laird Anderson def. Rob Finkel via TKO (punches) – 2nd round, 2:28
Isaiah Hockett Def. Matthias Nader via TKO (punches) – 2nd round, 3:48
Vladimir Gouvea was defeated. Kory Moegenburg via TKO (punches) – 2nd round, 1:46
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