Bellator’s heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader is in discussion to defend one of his belts. Russian sports reporter Alexey Safonov reports that Bader is in talks to defend the light heavyweight championship against Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 244 on August 21. MMAJunkie’s Nolan King also confirms that the fight is being planned with “Sources with knowledge of the situation.” This fight would be Bader’s second light heavyweight championship defense.
Bader is having an incredible run in Bellator. He defeated Phil Davis by split decision at Bellator 180 on June 24, 2017, to win the light heavyweight championship. Bader decided that he wanted to become a two-division champion and entered the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament for the vacant heavyweight championship. He won the tournament by defeating King Mo, Matt Mitrione, and Fedor Emelianenko. A win over Nemkov will give Bader his sixth win in Bellator.
Nemkov is going into a potential title fight with Bader with momentum. He is on a six-fight win streak and has finished five out of six opponents. His last win was against Rafael Carvalho by submission via rear-naked choke at Bellator 230 on October 12, 2019. Nemkov was supposed to fight Bader on the original Bellator 242 card on May 9, but the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now Nemkov may get his chance at becoming the new light heavyweight champion with a win over Bader.
The fight has yet to be finalized. Both fighters have shared on social media that they will fight each other on August 21. The only fight announced for Bellator 244 is a bantamweight matchup between Erik Perez and Josh Hill. The event will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.