Bellator 257 results, highlights: Vadim Nemkov outpoints Phil Davis to retain title, advance in Grand Prix

Bellator MMA

Vadim Nemkov and Phil Davis were not strangers coming into the main event of Bellator 257 on Friday night. Nemkov edged Davis by split decision in their first meeting in 2018. He entered the rematch as Bellator light heavyweight champion and once again outworked Davis for a decision victory, retaining his championship and advancing to the semifinals of the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix.

In the week leading up to the event, Davis had vowed to use his wrestling throughout the fight, a weapon that had helped him win the third round of the first meeting with the Russian champ. Instead, Davis committed to a striking battle, and that decision was ultimately his undoing as Nemkov was quicker to the punch and far more accurate in every round.

Nemkov worked behind a stiff jab that he used to set up clean overhand rights. With Davis content to move backward and allow Nemkov to lead, the champion picked his spots to connect with his strikes and move out of danger as he built up a lead on the scorecards through pressure and pacing.

"It's very hard to knock out Phil Davis, so I was getting ready for a five round fight," Nemkov said after fighting five full rounds for the first time in his career. "I knew it was going to go the distance."

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Nemkov connected with a heavy flurry in the second round, briefly dropping Davis, who tried to respond with one of the few takedown attempts of the fight. But Nemkov was able to muscle his way out, effectively shutting down any chances that Davis would return to attempts to force the fight to the floor.

After five rounds, it seemed clear Nemkov had done enough to move forward in the tournament and pick up the first successful defense of his title. The final scores were closer than expected, with Nemkov retaining his title by unanimous scores of 48-47.

In the night's co-main event, Corey Anderson picked up a big statement victory, advancing to the semifinals of the tournament with a TKO victory over Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov. With the victory, Anderson advances to face former champion Ryan Bader.

Nemkov will find out his semifinal opponent on May 7 when Yoel Romero faces Anthony Johnson in the final quarterfinal fight of the tournament.

CBS Sports was with you throughout the evening for the latest updates, highlights and results from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut with our live blog below. Stay tuned for updates all night long.

Bellator 257 card, results

  • Vadim Nemkov (c) def. Phil Davis via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
  • Corey Anderson def. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov via third-round TKO (punches)
  • Veta Arteaga def. Desiree Yanez via majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27)
  • Paul Daley def. Sabah Homasi via second-round TKO (punches)
  • Julia Budd vs. Dayana Silva via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Julius Anglickas def. Gregory Milliard via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Steve Mowry def. Shaun Asher via first-round TKO (punches)
  • Grachik Bozinyan def. Demarques Jackson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Raymond Daniels def. Peter Stanonik via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
  • Lance Gibson Jr. def. Marcus Surin via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Karl Albrektsson def. Viktor Nemkov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Mads Burnell def. Saul Rogers via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
  • Jay-Jay Wilson def. Pedro Carvalho via second-round TKO (punches)
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Official result: Vadim Nemkov def. Phil Davis via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)


Nemkov alnded a leg kick and a jab, mobing out of the way of Davis' return fire. Davis went for a few home run shots with head kick attempts but nearly locked up a choke in a scramble before Nemkov spun out and the fight came to a close with the final bell. Unofficial score: 10-9 Nemkov (49-46)


A Nemkov jab forced Davis backward, but Davis cracked with a hard leg kick. A kick from Davis went low, hitting Nemkov's cup and leading to a brief break in the action. Nemkov shook it off and the fight continued as he pressed forward.


Vadim Nemkov vs. Phil Davis -- Round 5: Nemkov missed with a spinning back kick to the head but landed a jab. Davis looked to keep upping his offense, but Nemkov scored with a right hand and then a combination left hook and leg kick.


Davis couldn't do anything with the clinch against the cage before Nemkov got back to distance, but Davis did land a crisp left hook. Davis got in with a right hand behind Nemkov's ear, seemingly bothering the champion a bit. Davis' best round of the fight and one he may get on the cards. Unofficial score: 10-9 Davis (39-37 Nemkov)


Davis turned up the offensive output a bit, landing a kick to the body and a one-two combination of punches. Nemkov tried for a takedown but nearly got his own back taken before breaking away and back to distance. Nemkov again shot for a takedown but was instead turned against the cage. 


Vadim Nemkov vs. Phil Davis -- Round 4: Nemkov landed an explosive four-punch combination in the opening minute. Davis landed a combination and Nemkov came back with a counter left hook before popping out his jab once again. A takedown attempt by Davis failed to make any contact with Nemkov as it appeared he was beginning to fatigue.


Davis continued to try to throw kicks, but was not balanced and the kicks seemed more of a defensive tool, trying to keep Nemkov from getting inside and landing the big overhand rights that had been so effective. Nemkov shot for a late takedown, nearly putting Davis on his back just before the end of the round. Unofficial score: 10-9 Nemkov (30-27)

@BellatorMMA via Twitter
April 17, 2021, 3:10 AM

Vadim Nemkov vs. Phil Davis -- Round 3: Nemkov landed an early left hook, beating Davis to the punch again. The jab of Nemkov remained a solid weapon, snapping out and connecting regularly. Davis landed a heavy leg kick. Nemkov landed another big overhand right but threw the punch a few more times without being in position.


Davis was nearly caught in a guillotine choke as he worked for the takedown, forcing him to push away and go back to standing with Nemkov. Davis again tried for a takedown, but Nemkov again defended before the round ended. Unofficial score: 10-9 Nemkov (20-18)


Nemkov worked some nice counters, timing Davis and either working overhand rights or hard jabs. Nemkov exploded forward with a combination, briefly dropping Davis. Davis immediately went for a takedown to try and recover from the big punches of Nemkov.

@BellatorMMA via Twitter
April 17, 2021, 3:01 AM

Vadim Nemkov vs. Phil Davis -- Round 2: Davis landed a good right hand after blocking a head kick and he tried to step in with a combination but Nemkov landed a counter right hand. Nemkov suffered a small cut over his left eye early in the round, but that didn't stop him from landing a clean right hand. 


Nemkov landed a jab and another lead left while Davis continued to look for single shots at a time. Unofficial score: 10-9 Nemkov


Nemkov's speed continued to allow him to dart in and out, landing punches and getting away without taking return fire. Davis was avoiding eating the heaviest shots of Nemkov, but was not getting off with much offensive work of his own. 


Vadim Nemkov vs. Phil Davis -- Round 1: Nemkov opened with a hook and a head kick, both of which missed. Nemkov began throwing a solid amount of kicks to the lead leg of Davis, pressing forward and keeping Davis on the defensive. Nemkov connected with a good overhand right and went back to the leg kick before throwing another right hand, and then another that connected clean.


With the win, Corey Anderson moves to the semifinals of the tournament where he will face former champion Ryan Bader.


Anderson continued the assault before again achieving mount. Anderson flurried with big strikes until Yagshimuradov gave up his back. Yagshimuradov turned over again as Anderson continued to unload with big strikes until the referee called an end to the fight. Official result: Corey Anderson def. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov via TKO (punches), Round 3

@BellatorMMA via Twitter
April 17, 2021, 2:29 AM

Corey Anderson vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov -- Round 3: Anderson opened with a jab and went right back to look for the takedown, forcing Yagshimuradov against the cage. Anderson dropped down and secured the takedown along the cage and immediately started dropping ground and pound strikes again.

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