Is Vadim Nemkov the top light heavyweight in the world after Bellator 288?

Daniel Cunningham
SAITAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 29: Vadim Nemkov of Russia of reacts after defeating Goran Reljic of Croatia in ther bout Rizin Fighting GP Tournament during the Rizin Saraba Fiesta at Saitama Super Arena on December 29, 2015 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

This past Friday night in the headliner of Bellator 288, we saw the conclusion of the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Champion Vadim Nemkov (16-2, 1 NC) was taking on Corey Anderson (16-6, 1 NC).

These two men originally fought back in April. In that fight, Nemkov started out strong, but Corey Anderson started taking over in the second round. The wrestling was too much for Nemkov and it looked like Anderson would walk to the Grand Prix title.

However, a clash of heads opened a nasty cut on Nemkov and the fight was ruled a No Contest. Given the way the first fight went, most thought Anderson would win the second fight. Nemkov even moved part of his training to Florida with ATT to prepare for the wrestling attack of Anderson.

Well, that training paid off in a massive way. Just like the first fight, Nemkov got off to a really good start. However, this time, Anderson never got his wrestling going. From the first round to the fifth, Nemkov stuffed every takedown attempt from Corey Anderson.

Leading up to Bellator 288, Corey Anderson had looked unstoppable since his debut with the promotion. Nemkov completely shut him down on Friday night and won a lopsided decision to win the Grand Prix and retain his light heavyweight title.

Is Bellator’s Nemkov the best?

I saw a post earlier today naming Vadim Nemkov the best light heavyweight in the world regardless of promotion after his win at Bellator 288. Now, Bellator fighters have always seemingly played second fiddle compared to UFC fighters regardless of whether it’s warranted or not.

Is this the same situation where in reality Nemkov is second fiddle to the UFC champion? Or, is Vadim Nemkov truly the best light heavyweight in the world. I’ll say this, he definitely has an argument as the best.

However, I can’t put him at number one. To me, the number one spot belongs to the man who gave Nemkov his first professional loss. The current UFC light heavyweight champion, Jiri Prochazka. Prochazka has won thirteen fights in a row and will defend his light heavyweight title against former champion Glover Teixeira in early December.

I think these two are very close, but I would give the slight advantage to Jiri Prochazka. If he successfully defends against Glover next month, I think he’s pretty firm at number one. I will say, I do wish we could see a UFC – Bellator crossover like we are seeing with Bellator and RIZIN. I would love to see these two have a rematch.