Bellator: Who should get the next shot at Vadim Nemkov?

This past weekend at Bellator 251, Corey Anderson made his promotional debut against Melvin Manhoef. Anderson was a top ranked light heavyweight in the UFC before making the promotional jump. Many believe he can be champion inside of Bellator.

Anderson completely dominated the fight from the opening bell to the finish. Manhoef truly had no answer for Anderson’s superior wrestling. In the second round, Anderson got Manhoef to the ground and blitzed him with elbows leading to a TKO victory.

The performance was so impressive that many think he should be next for the Bellator light heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov. Nemkov just won the title back in August when he knocked out former champion, Ryan Bader, at Bellator 244.

Nemkov is unbeaten in his Bellator career at 5-0. He’s already taken out the likes of Liam McGeary, Phil Davis, and Rafael Carvalho. He is the cream of the crop when it comes to Bellator’s light heavyweight division.

A matchup between Nemkov and Anderson would be something fresh for the promotion’s light heavyweight division. However, there’s a familiar opponent for Nemkov that might be in front of Corey Anderson for a title shot.

What should Bellator do?

The fighter that I’m referring to is former Bellator light heavyweight champion, Phil Davis. Since making the jump to Bellator in 2015, Davis has only lost two fights. He lost to Ryan Bader and he lost a split decision to the current champion.

Other than that, it’s been smooth sailing for Davis. Davis is coming off of a split decision victory over Lyoto Machida back in September. While the performance wasn’t sensational, it was still the third straight victory for Davis since his loss to Nemkov.

Bellator is in a very interesting position. Anderson’s dominant performance put the division on notice. A fight between Nemkov and Anderson would be something new for the division. However, can they ignore the longevity of Davis’ run in Bellator?

If I had to guess, I think that the promotion will lean towards giving the fight to Davis with Anderson fighting the winner. I could be wrong, but Anderson’s post-fight interview may have told us the future. He called out both Nemkov and Davis in his interview.

Corey Anderson dominates Melvin Manhoef in Bellator debut

Corey Anderson

Tonight at Bellator 251, Corey Anderson (14-5) made his debut with the promotion. He took on famed striker Melvin Manhoef (32-15-1, 2 NC) in the main event. The fight was a good way for Anderson to get his feet wet with Bellator.

When the matchup was booked by Bellator, many knew how Anderson would have to win the fight. Anderson is a strong wrestler while Manhoef is known for his world class striking. Anderson was going to need to go back to his routes to win this one.

The last we saw Corey Anderson in a cage, he was knocked out by current UFC light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz. Anderson admittedly said that he had fallen in love with striking, but he can’t get away from his wrestling base.

Tonight, he went back to what he did best. In the main event of Bellator 251, it was all Corey Anderson. Anderson shot in immediately in the first round and took Manhoef down. Manhoef didn’t have any answers for Anderson’s wrestling attack all night.

After spending the majority of the first round on top, Anderson struck a little in the second. However, it was all just to keep Manhoef guessing. Anderson took Manhoef down in the second and with a brutal flurry of elbows finished the fight.

What’s next after Bellator 251

Tonight was the perfect Bellator debut for Corey Anderson. The matchmakers did a really good job of giving Anderson an opponent that could really showcase what he does best. Anderson delivered to the max with his performance tonight.

After this, there are no questions about what should be next for Anderson. Corey Anderson should be challenging for the Bellator light heavyweight championship. Now, there’s no guarantee that Anderson will get the next shot.

Phil Davis is also deserving of the next shot at the Bellator light heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov. Bellator’s light heavyweight division is looking pretty good with those three at the top of the division.

If I had to guess, I think that Nemkov will likely defend his title against Phil Davis. However, Anderson will be the first in line for the winner of that fight. Anderson called out both of them after his successful Bellator debut.

Bellator 251 Main Event Preview

Tomorrow night, Bellator MMA returns and they are featuring a solid contest in their main event. Top light heavyweight contender, Corey Anderson (13-5), will be making his promotional debut as he takes on striker, Melvin Manhoef (32-14-1, 2 NC).

Entering 2020, Corey Anderson looked like he was going to be getting a shot at the UFC light heavyweight championship. However, Anderson ran into some Polish Power and was defeated by Jan Blachowicz back in February.

After that loss, Anderson dealt with some health issues outside the cage. Once he was ready to get going, Anderson contemplated his future with the promotion. He wanted to see what other promotions had to offer him.

Anderson asked for his released, and was almost immediately signed by Bellator. He was ranked fourth in the UFC’s light heavyweight division and immediately became a top contender in Bellator. If he wins tomorrow night, he might be in line to fight for the Bellator light heavyweight championship.

Bellator 251 Preview

At Bellator 251, I’m expecting Anderson to really lean on his wrestling attack. While he showed some improved striking in his win over Johnny Walker, I don’t expect Anderson to get crazy. I think he might play it safe in his Bellator debut.

Standing across from Anderson will be Melvin Manhoef. Manhoef is a former professional kickboxer, and he’s known for his dynamic striking and power. Out of his 32 professional wins, 29 of them have come via knockout.

This fight is going to come down to where it takes place. I don’t expect Anderson to play with the fire very long tomorrow. He’s not going to have the advantage on the feet, and I don’t expect him to try to strike with Manhoef.

I think Anderson will throw a few things out there early, but mainly trying to setup his takedowns. If Manhoef can keep it standing, he’s got a good shot. We’ve seen Anderson be put away with strikes, and Manhoef has the power to pull it off. However, my guess is that the wrestling takes over in this one.

Prediction: Corey Anderson by Unanimous Decision

Corey Anderson to make Bellator debut against Melvin Manhoef

Corey Anderson

Bellator has announced it’s headliner for their fight night on November 5th. President Scott Coker told CBS Sports Network today that newly signed Corey Anderson (13-5) will be taking on Melvin Manhoef (32-14-1, 2 NC) in his promotional debut.

This will be the first Bellator fight for Manhoef in 2020. The 44 year old returned to the Bellator cage in 2019 where he went 2-0 against Kent Kauppinen and Yannick Bahati. Manhoef is known for his dangerous striking which was on display against Bahati.

Having fought all around the world, Manhoef is not going to be afraid of this moment. He’s got the striking and the power to put anyone out who stands in front of him. This is a very tough stylistic matchup for him, but don’t expect him to shy away.

Throughout his career, Manhoef has fought for all the big promotions outside the UFC. He’s fought in Bellator, ONE, Strikeforce, Dream, and K1 throughout his long career. He’s been in there against some big names from Robbie Lawler to Gegard Mousasi.

Bellator Debut for Anderson

Bellator made waves a while back when they announced that they had signed Corey Anderson. Anderson was the fourth ranked light heavyweight in the UFC, but he decided to ask for his release. Upon getting his release Bellator scooped him up right away.

Coming into 2020, Anderson looked to be primed for a title shot in the UFC. However, he was knocked out in the first round by the current UFC champion, Jan Blachowicz back in February. That completely derailed his plans.

Following a health scare, Anderson decided to ask the UFC for more money. When the UFC wasn’t willing to give him more, he asked for his release. Shortly after, he landed a lucrative contract with Bellator and he’s expected to be a force in their light heavyweight division.

While Anderson will have to be aware of Manhoef’s striking, this is a very winnable fight for Anderson. If he utilizes his wrestling skills to the best of his ability, he should be able to get a win while getting his feet wet in the Bellator cage.

Bellator 245 Preview: Phil Davis and Lyoto Machida go head to head again

Phil Davis, MMA, UFC

Bellator MMA returns tomorrow night with a solid lineup of fights for their Friday night fight night. In the main event of the evening, Phil Davis (21-5, 1 NC) takes on Lyoto Machida (26-9) for the second time in a light heavyweight main event.

With Vadim Nemkov having just knocked out Ryan Bader at Bellator 244, this is a big fight to determine the next title contender. In addition to this fight, Bellator recently signed Corey Anderson to it’s growing light heavyweight division.

Phil Davis vs Lyoto Machida 2

The two men in Bellator 245’s main event do have some history. The history dates back to UFC 163 where Phil Davis was able to win a unanimous decision over Machida in Brazil. The fight was controversial as all 13 media members scored the fight for Machida.

Machida outstruck Davis the entire fight, but Davis landed a takedown at the end of the first two rounds. Those takedowns were enough to win him the fight on the three judges scorecards. Now, these two will rematch seven years later.

Davis has been very good since making the move to Bellator. In ten fights, Davis is 8-2 with his only losses being to Nemkov and Bader. Both of those fights were razor close split decisions.

With Davis you know what he’s going to do. He can strike, but he mainly uses his striking as a way to setup his tremendous wrestling. He will be looking to secure takedowns to defeat Machida once again.

Machida is moving back up to light heavyweight after fighting Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 228 last September. Machida lost a close decision in that contest. The dragon is looking for one final run towards a world title.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion is known for his karate striking. His unique blitzing style stifles many opponents that step across the cage from him. He will be looking to use that striking to outpoint and defeat Davis.

When it comes to a prediction, I think that this fight is going to be razor close. The only way it’s not is if Davis gets Machida down and holds him down. Machida is 42 years old, and I think Davis is much improved from their first fight, but it’s still going to be close.

Prediction: Phil Davis by Split Decision

Rest of Bellator 245

There are more solid fights on the card for Bellator 245. Cat Zingano (10-4) is making her debut against Gabrielle Holloway (6-5). This is the first time we’ve seen Zingano since her fight with Megan Anderson where a head kick went right into her eye which stopped the fight.

Another fight that is worth tuning into is the middleweight matchup between Ed Ruth (8-2) and Taylor Johnson (5-1). Bellator 245 doesn’t have the biggest names on the card, but it’s a night that should be filled with some solid fights.

Does Bellator have a better light heavyweight division than the UFC?

UFC, Dana White

Last week, Bellator President Scott Coker made some pretty bold statements about his promotion’s light heavyweight division. He said that they had the best light heavyweight division in the world after Jon Jones vacated his UFC light heavyweight title to move to heavyweight.

After Vadim Nemkov knocked out Ryan Bader at Bellator 244, Coker doubled down on his claim that they were better than the UFC. “When Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight, clearly we have the best division.”

Bellator’s claim

The UFC also had an event this weekend. After the event, the media asked UFC President Dana White about Coker’s claims that Bellator had the better light heavyweight division. With a big smile, White replied to the media, “Isn’t he cute?

Bellator has some very solid guys in their light heavyweight division. Nemkov, Phil Davis, Corey Anderson, Lyoto Machida, and others. You can throw Bader in too although I’m sure he’s going to be sticking to heavyweight after that fight.

Those are all very solid fighters, but the UFC president made a point that rings very true about their light heavyweight division. He stated, “Everyone they have in their light heavyweight division, we let go of. That’s like the dumbest f–king thing I’ve ever heard.”

Anderson, Machida, Bader, and Davis were all former members of the UFC that the promotion let walk. I understand what Scott Coker is trying to do with making his statement. However, I’m not sure the statement holds a lot of weight.

The UFC is better at the top

The UFC doesn’t have the same stacked light heavyweight division they once had, but it’s still the best game in town. Corey Anderson was ranked fourth in the UFC prior to him being signed by Bellator, but he was just starched earlier this year by Jan Blachowicz.

I believe that Dominick Reyes is better than anyone in Bellator. I also believe that the best version of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is better than anyone inside of Bellator’s light heavyweight division.

If the four best UFC light heavyweights (Reyes, Blachowicz, Johnson, Thiago Santos) fought the four best Bellator light heavyweights (Nemkov, Anderson, Davis, Bader), would you favor any of the Bellator guys?

The answer to that question is probably no. Bellator has a good light heavyweight division, but it is not better than the UFC‘s. This round goes to Dana White and the guys in the UFC.

Fighter pay prompted Corey Anderson to ask for UFC release

Corey Anderson

Last week there was shocking news in the UFC when it was announced that the fourth ranked light heavyweight contender, Corey Anderson (13-5), had signed with Bellator. Many were left scratching their heads.

One of the main reasons for confusion was the fact that Anderson still had a few fights left on his deal. This was not some tomato can who had lost a bunch of fights in a row, this was one of the top contenders in the UFC‘s light heavyweight division.

Almost a week after the signing was announced, we are starting to learn a little more about what happened between Anderson and the UFC.

Rough 2020 for Corey Anderson

It has been a very rough year for Anderson. After he lost to Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 167 by knockout, Anderson collapsed in his friend’s driveway. Anderson suffered multiple injuries and had to undergo multiple procedures due to a heart condition.

In an interview with ESPN, Anderson stated that the UFC was wanting to move quickly after he came out of recovery. He stated that he had a contract waiting for him right after.

“I literally came out of the last procedure, rolled into my waiting room and turned my phone on, and had a contract from the UFC for a fight,” Anderson said. “I agreed to the fight, but then my opponent got hurt. They were doing the same thing they did in the past. Offering me fights that didn’t make sense for the money I was making…”

Anderson went on to talk about the fact that he’s the fourth ranked fighter in the world, but he was being paid like a newcomer. The top contender decided to ask the UFC for a little more money considering everything and they promptly said no.

Bellator paying a lot more than the UFC

Anderson told his manager to request a release to see if they could find a better deal elsewhere. He said it took “20 seconds” for the UFC to agree to release him from his current deal.

It wasn’t long after that, that Anderson signed with Bellator. Anderson said that, “Bellator was offering me money like I was the number four guy in the world.”

Needless to say, Anderson is getting a massive pay bump to go over to Bellator. Not surprising considering Bellator’s interest in poaching top talent from the UFC. Bellator usually has to overpay a little to draw away talent.

Anderson will definitely be one of the top contenders immediately in Bellator’s light heavyweight division. I would expect him to get a title shot sooner than later, perhaps in his first Bellator fight.

BREAKING: Corey Anderson has signed with Bellator MMA

Corey Anderson

There has been a massive shakeup in the light heavyweight division for both the UFC and for Bellator. News just broke via Ariel Helwani that Corey Anderson (13-5) asked for his release from the UFC and has signed with Bellator.

What’s it mean for Bellator and the UFC?

The move is a bit of a head scratcher. Anderson was currently ranked as the fourth best light heavyweight in the UFC. There had been no recent news of rifts between Anderson and the UFC.

After UFC 244, Anderson did come out and say that he wanted to be released if he didn’t receive a title shot. Anderson took a fight with Jan Blachowicz instead and he was knocked out in the first round.

After hitting that roadblock, it looks like Anderson was ready to move on. The UFC’s loss is Bellator‘s gain. Bellator doesn’t have the deepest talent in the division, but Anderson will truly bolster their roster.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see Anderson get a shot at the title in his first fight with the promotion. Bellator is known for rushing former UFC fighters.

If not his first fight, you might see him take on someone like the winner of Phil Davis/Lyoto Machida in his first fight. The Bellator champion, Ryan Bader, is currently scheduled to fight Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 244.

Given the timeline of the Machida – Davis fight, don’t be shocked if Anderson gets a shot right out of the gate. What do you think of Corey Anderson’s move to sign with Bellator?