After Bellator 268, does Corey Anderson have an argument for the best light heavyweight?

Corey Anderson

This past Saturday at Bellator 268, the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix resumed. In the co-main event of the evening, Ryan Bader (28-7) took on Corey Anderson (16-5). Bader was the former light heavyweight champion and is the current heavyweight champion.

This fight had a ton of hype behind it as both men have had similar paths to get to where they are today. After never quite reaching the mountain top in the UFC, both men have seen a tremendous amount of success in the Bellator cage.

Bader became a two-division champion and Corey Anderson has looked like a world-beater since making the jump last year. While this fight had a ton of hype behind it, the fight itself wasn’t very competitive and it didn’t last long.

In the opening minute, Anderson was able to catch Bader with a beautiful shot that put the heavyweight champion down. Anderson followed up with big shots and ultimately got the stoppage win and punching his ticket to the Bellator Grand Prix finals.

Is Bellator’s Anderson the best?

After the fight was over and Anderson had his hand raised at Bellator 268, many were saying that Anderson had an argument as the best light heavyweight. Not just in Bellator, but in the entire sport.

This argument was met with objection from the UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. Blachowicz took to Twitter today to remind everyone that he knocked out Anderson last year which was Anderson’s final fight in the UFC.

It’s worth noting that the fight between Anderson and Blachowicz was a rematch. Their first fight took place back in 2015 with Anderson getting the win. Anderson also holds a victory over Glover Teixeira who is challenging for the light heavyweight title in a couple of weeks.

We might very well be seeing the best version of Corey Anderson in Bellator. However, we have also seen the best version of Jan Blachowicz in the UFC as of late. Given that MMA is a, “What have you done for me lately?” kind of sport, my opinion is the best is still Blachowicz.

The resume for The Polish Power is just much better than Anderson’s over the last year. However, Anderson is at the very top of that list as well. He’s not just potentially the best light heavyweight in Bellator, he does have an argument for the best in the world regardless of promotion.

Bellator 268 Preview: Benson Henderson – Brent Primus

Benson Henderson

Tomorrow night on the main card of Bellator 268, we will see a fun matchup in the lightweight division. Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (28-10) will look to snap a two-fight losing streak as he takes on former Bellator champion Brent Primus (10-2).

Henderson will be making the walk for the 11th time as a member of Bellator. The former UFC champion signed with the promotion back in 2016 while trying to compete in the welterweight division. During his time with Bellator, he’s gone 0-2 at 170.

However, he has gone 5-3 at lightweight which is his correct weight class. He was knocked out by Michael Chandler in August of 2020 which snapped a four-fight win streak. He’s been mentioning retirement, but before he does, he wants to wear Bellator gold.

The last time we saw Brent Primus was back in July when he lost a split decision to Islam Mamedov. Primus has spent virtually his entire career with Bellator having gone 8-2 with the promotion and during that stretch, defeated Michael Chandler for the lightweight title.

Primus would go on to lose to Chandler in the rematch, but he has tasted Bellator gold unlike Benson Henderson. This is a big matchup for both men as the lightweight division is crowning a new champion next month and this fight could prove to be a title eliminator.

Bellator 268 Prediction

This fight will be decided very early on for me. I know that Primus is going to try and take this fight to the ground. We’ve seen Henderson be someone who is extremely tough to take down when he’s on his game. If he’s on, he could be in for a good result at Bellator 268.

Henderson wants this fight to stay on the feet. If it does, I would expect a variety of kick attacks and distance strikes to score points. I don’t believe either of these men would put the other out on the feet so expect more of a tactical battle for points.

Don’t rule out Primus landing a takedown early, but the majority of this fight should take place on the feet. Because of that, I like Henderson in this matchup. If he’s motivated and on top of his game, I expect a decision win from him at Bellator 268.

Bellator 268 Preview: Ryan Bader – Corey Anderson

Ryan Bader

Saturday night in the co-main event of Bellator 268, we have a semifinal matchup in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Former light heavyweight and current heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (28-6) takes on Corey Anderson (15-5).

Ryan Bader lost the light heavyweight title back at Bellator 244 when he was knocked out by Vadim Nemkov. It was Bader’s first fight and defense of his title since 2017 and he didn’t look good. After losing the title, Bader had a decision to make.

He could either defend the heavyweight title or join the Grand Prix. Ultimately, Bader decided to join the Grand Prix and try and win his second title back. In the opening round, Bader was able to defeat Lyoto Machida by decision.

Standing across from Bader on Saturday night is Corey Anderson. Entering 2020, Corey Anderson looked like he was going to get a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title. He had a title eliminator against Jan Blachowicz and he lost by knockout.

After the fight, he actually got out of his UFC contract and signed with Bellator which shocked the fight world. Anderson made his debut with Bellator in November and won by TKO. He opened the Grand Prix with another TKO win to start out 2-0 with his new promotion.

Bellator 268 Prediction

This is such a good fight and one that I truly wish was five rounds. These are two of the better light heavyweights in the world and both contain a very similar skillset which will make this Bellator 268 matchup so intriguing.

Both men possess really good wrestling and they both have striking to be weary of. We have seen both Bader and Anderson put opponents away on the feet. In terms of using their wrestling, I would say that we’ve seen Anderson be more effective there, but Bader has better credentials overall.

I’ve really gone back and forth on this matchup at Bellator 268 because I think it comes down to the striking. I can picture Bader landing a bomb that puts Anderson out. However, I don’t ultimately think that’s going to happen.

I just have a feeling that this is Corey Anderson’s time. He will be able to do more on the feet and his wrestling will negate any wrestling from Bader. It might not be the most exciting affair, but I expect a Corey Anderson decision win at Bellator 268.

Prediction: Corey Anderson by Unanimous Decision

Bellator 268 Preview: Vadim Nemkov – Julius Anglickas

This Saturday night in the main event of Bellator 268, the light heavyweight title is on the line as the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix continues. The champion Vadim Nemkov (14-2) is back as he’s taking on the surging challenger Julius Anglickas (10-1).

Originally, Nemkov was slated to take on Rumble Johnson in this semifinal matchup. However, after falling ill, Rumble had to pull out of the fight. Anglickas was originally scheduled to be on the Bellator 268 card and the promotion decided to add him to this matchup.

Anglickas will be making his fourth appearance with Bellator. He fought on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2019, but the UFC passed on him. After they didn’t sign him, Bellator scooped him up and he’s gone a perfect 3-0.

That said, Saturday night he’s going to have his hands full with the Bellator light heavyweight champion. Vadim Nemkov has been sensational since joining the promotion back in 2017. Since making his debut, he’s gone a perfect 6-0.

He captured the light heavyweight crown last year when he knocked out Ryan Bader at Bellator 244. In the opening round of the Grand Prix, he picked up his second win over Phil Davis. Despite the opponent change, Nemkov appears focused heading into Saturday.

Bellator 268 Prediction

Since losing out on his UFC contract, Anglickas has looked like a man possessed. He’s been incredibly good through his first three Bellator matchups and he does have a skillset that can give the champion some trouble on Saturday.

We’ve seen Nemkov get tired in a few of his fights. You can bet that Anglickas is going to be going for takedowns early on and he’s going to look to get the champion tired. However, Nemkov has shown the ability to stay on his feet and keep the fight at range.

When they’re striking, the Bellator champion has a big advantage. The movement and fluidity of strikes definitely favors Nemkov and I think that’s ultimately going to be the deciding factor. I wouldn’t rule out Anglickas landing a takedown here and there early on.

However, I think Nemkov is going to prove to be too much for the challenger. I think it’ll be more competitive than people thinking, but Nemkov is going to outstrike his way to another win and I think he gets a finish in the later rounds.

Prediction: Vadim Nemkov by TKO – Round 4

Illness forces Rumble Johnson out of Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

Anthony Rumble Johnson

Bellator 268 was dealt a major blow today. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (23-6) announced via his Instagram page that he is incredibly sick and he’s having to pull out of the fight next month. Rumble was set to take on the light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov (14-2).

Johnson said today, “Really wish I could go into detail about how ill I really am. Just know I need as many prayers as I can get and I’ll see you in 2022 God Willing. Never been this afraid of anything in my life but I’ve remained strong with the support of friends and family.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Rumble who is clearly dealing with a tremendous illness. At this point, there’s no telling on when or if he will be able to return to Bellator. This is a massive blow to the promotion who had built so much hype surrounding Rumble in this tournament.

This is the second time that Bellator has had to alter their plans. Originally, they wanted Rumble to face Yoel Romero in the opening round of the Grand Prix. However, Romero had to pull out of the fight after failing to pass medicals. Now, Rumble’s illness is taking him out of the Grand Prix as well.

Bellator’s Next Steps

At this point, there is no word on what Bellator is going to do. They are planning on having Vadim Nemkov defend his title and compete, but there has not been a decision made on who will fight him. My guess is that they will wait until tonight’s main event concludes.

Tonight at Bellator 266, Yoel Romero and Phil Davis will battle it out. Davis lost to Nemkov in the opening round of the Grand Prix while Romero wasn’t able to compete as mentioned above. If Romero wins tonight and comes out clean, I could see Bellator asking him to step in to face Nemkov on short notice.

However, if Davis wins, I find it unlikely that they will ask him considering he’s already lost twice to Nemkov and lost to him in the opening round. Another option could be Jose Augusto Azevedo who lost to Rumble in the opening round. Time will tell, but this is a big blow to the Bellator Grand Prix.

Bellator 268 adds Benson Henderson – Brent Primus

Benson Henderson

Bellator 268 is getting a matchup of top lightweights added to it’s main card. MMA Junkie was the first to report yesterday that the promotion had finalized and booked a lightweight contest between Benson Henderson (28-10) and Brent Primus (10-2).

Bellator 268 is scheduled to take place next month on October 16th. The event is shaping up to be a big one for the promotion as it will also feature the semifinal matchups in the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.

In terms of this lightweight matchup, both men will look to get back on track with wins. Brent Primus just fought in July which was his first fight in a year and a half. It did not go his way as he lost a split decision to Islam Mamedov.

That fight was just the second career loss for Primus. The first loss came back at Bellator 212 when he was defeated by Michael Chandler in their rematch. The highlight of Primus’ career came when he defeated Chandler for the Bellator lightweight title.

Primus has been with the promotion for most of his career. After starting 2-0, Bellator signed Primus who then won six in a row capped off with the win against Michael Chandler. however, since that win, he’s just 2-2 in his last four.

Bellator redemption for Smooth

It’s been quite the career overall for Benson Henderson. Henderson rose to the top of the MMA world when he became the UFC lightweight champion. This was Henderson’s second world title as he was also the WEC lightweight champion during his career.

After a successful run with the UFC, Henderson signed with Bellator when he became a free agent. Henderson had moved up to welterweight just before leaving the UFC and was immediately given a welterweight title shot in Bellator.

Henderson lost that matchup then moved down to lightweight. After defeating Patricio Pitbull, Henderson got his lone lightweight title fight against Michael Chandler. Henderson again came up short in his attempt to become Bellator champion.

The former UFC champion is now on a two-fight losing streak after having gone on a four-fight win streak. We last saw him in November when he moved up in weight to fight Jason Jackson. Again, Henderson was completely out-muscled which is why he’s moving back to lightweight.

There’s no questioning the fact that Henderson wants to capture the Bellator lightweight title before he wraps his career. If he can defeat Primus next month, he’s back on track towards getting another crack at the title.