Corey Anderson Claims Vadim Nemkov is Moving to Heavyweight to Avoid Trilogy Fight

Corey Anderson expressed surprise and disappointment at Vadim Nemkov’s decision to vacate the Bellator light heavyweight title and move up to heavyweight, believing Nemkov was avoiding a third fight with him; Anderson will now fight Karl Moore for the vacant title.

Corey Anderson didn’t see it coming. Not at all. In 2022, he had two significant fights with Vadim Nemkov for the Bellator light heavyweight title. The first one? He was dominating it. Then, an accidental headbutt stopped the fight, leading to a no-contest.

Fast forward seven months, and they’re back in the ring. This time, Nemkov outmaneuvers Anderson to retain the title. But it’s all good. Anderson takes a split decision win over Phil Davis in June. He thinks he’s secured his spot for a trilogy bout with Nemkov.

But then, plot twist! Nemkov vacates the Bellator light heavyweight title to move up to heavyweight. Anderson? He’s left in the dust, completely blindsided.

“Yeah, 100 percent,” Anderson admits on The MMA Hour. He’s surprised by Nemkov’s decision. He thought they had unfinished business, especially after the first fight. He was on the verge of taking Nemkov down in the next round. He was like a fish out of water on the ground.

Anderson was sure there would be a third fight. It made sense. Championship money was on the line. But now, Nemkov’s just a contender. Anderson knows the drill: no title, less money. He can’t help but wonder, why is Nemkov avoiding the fight?

Nemkov’s next opponent? Bruno Cappelozza, former PFL heavyweight champion. It’s a non-title main card bout at the PFL vs. Bellator: CHAMPS card, happening Feb. 24 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Anderson can’t help but think Nemkov’s scared to face him again. He recalls an interview where Nemkov expressed a preference to fight Phil Davis a third time. But then, he suddenly didn’t want to fight at 205 anymore. He felt he had nothing left to prove.

Anderson remembers when he beat Phil, Nemkov wished Phil had won. But a few months later, Nemkov was no longer interested in fighting at 205. He was moving to heavyweight. Anderson was baffled. They were supposed to fight on Nov. 18 in Chicago. The announcement was imminent.

But then, out of the blue, Nemkov announces he’s not fighting at 205 anymore. Anderson was stunned. The Bellator team was equally clueless.

Despite the curveball, Anderson still gets his shot at the light heavyweight title. He’s up against Karl Moore for the vacant belt at the first Bellator show under the PFL umbrella. If he wins, it won’t matter that it’s not against Nemkov.

Anderson believes he’s the best light heavyweight in the world. He lost his chance to prove it against Nemkov, but he’s not fazed. He’s ready to prove himself.

Bellator’s return is set for March 22 in Belfast, Ireland.


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