Light heavyweight bouts featuring Anthony Johnson vs. Vadim Nemkov and Ryan Bader vs. Corey Anderson have been set for a fall Bellator event.
ESPN’s Marc Raimondi was the first to report that Johnson vs. Nemkov and Bader vs. Anderson will take place on October 16 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The Johnson vs. Nemkov fight will be for the promotion’s 205lbs belt that Nemkov currently possesses, while the winner of Bader vs. Anderson will meet the winner of the Johnson vs. Nemkov fight next year to crown a tournament winner and the new champion at 205lbs.
Bellator has another big card set for Oct. 16 in Phoenix, sources say. The Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix semifinals will take place together at that event: Rumble Johnson vs. Vadim Nemkov for the 205 title and Ryan Bader vs. Corey Anderson. More coming to @espnmma
Johnson defeated Jose Augusto Azevedo in a quarterfinals fight by knockout in what was his return to MMA after four years away from the organization. As for Nemkov, he defeated Phil Davis by unanimous decision in the quarterfinals. As for Bader, he defeated Lyoto Machida, and Anderson defeated Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in the quarterfinals. The final four in this tournament are the best light heavyweights that Bellator has to offer right now.
All three of Johnson, Bader, and Anderson were formerly in the UFC and among the top fighters in that organization before making the move to Bellator, while Nemkov is essentially a homegrown star for the promotion. It will be interesting to see who wins the tournament finale given how dangerous all four of these men are. The champion Nemkov would still seem to be the favorite, but you never know what can happen in a tournament.