After a close win at Bellator 297, what’s next for Corey Anderson?

Bellator 297 Corey Anderson
BELLATOR/Lucas Noonan

This past weekend on the main card of Bellator 297, we saw a pivotal light heavyweight matchup between two of the top contenders in the division. Former light heavyweight champion Phil Davis (24-7) was taking on top contender and former title challenger Corey Anderson (17-6, 1 NC).

This fight was very intriguing given the styles of both men. They both have tremendous wrestling so we figured that would cancel each other out and we’d see a lot of striking which is what happen over the course of the three-round affair.

Corey Anderson got off to a really good start and was getting the better of things in the early going. However, as the fight went on, momentum started to shift towards the former light heavyweight champion. Universally, Davis won the third round and most of the scorecards.

While the second round was close, the majority of people still thought Anderson did enough. When the scores were read at Bellator 297, the judges were split and it came down to the second round. However, in the end, two judges gave the fight and the win to Corey Anderson.

What’s next after Bellator 297?

With this win, Corey Anderson finds himself in a little bit of a tough spot. One on hand, it’s another impressive win that goes on his resume since making the jump to Bellator. Since signing with the promotion in 2020, he’s gone 4-1, 1 NC with three finishes.

One of those finishes was a first round finish over current heavyweight champion Ryan Bader. Anderson’s lone loss came against light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov. The light heavyweight division is rather shallow and Anderson makes for the most compelling next challenger to Nemkov.

However, since that fight just happened, I’m wondering about Nemkov’s willingness to take the fight. On paper, you can definitely sell it. When the two first fought at Bellator 277, the fight was close but it looked like Corey Anderson was very much in control. I firmly believe he was going to win that fight.

However, an accidental clash of heads caused a big cut on Nemkov and the fight was ruled a No Contest. In the rematch, Nemkov dominated the full 25 minutes. You could sell a third fight because in reality, both men got the better of the other overall in one of the fights.

However, Anderson doesn’t have a true win over Nemkov and Nemkov has flirted with the idea of moving up to heavyweight. If Anderson can’t fight Nemkov next, he’s going to be forced to take a fight against a lower ranked guy or he could jump to heavyweight himself. Tough to say exactly what’s next for him.

If Nemkov does stay at 205, I think a third fight with Anderson makes a ton of sense even considering the fact that they just fought twice.