Genuinely curious:— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 17, 2021
Which light heavyweight title fight interests you more?
The Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix tournament offers no advantages for the defending champion. Luckily for Vadim Nemkov, he didn't need any on Saturday.
Nemkov (15-2) survived being dropped in the opening round and went on to dominate the rest of the way in a thorough fourth-round submission of tournament alternate Julius Anglickas (10-2) in the main event of Bellator 268 inside Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Anglickas filled in for former UFC title challenger Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, who withdrew from the tournament last month due to an undisclosed illness.
A native of Russia, Nemkov made the second defense of the 205-pound title he won by stopping Ryan Bader in 2020. Nemkov advanced to the tournament final in early 2022 and will face Corey Anderson, who needed just 51 seconds to stop Bader in their semifinal bout.
Anglickas, a 30-year-old native of Lithuania, landed a perfect counter right hand in Round 1 to briefly drop the champion to a knee. But Nemkov, 29, immediately bought time to shake off the cobwebs by scoring a takedown and went on to use his wrestling to dominate his foe.
"He caught me but I wasn't knocked down, I just kind of fell," Nemkov said through a translator. "The reason I went more to grappling was that he has a hard head and I realized it wasn't going to happen so I started to work submissions."
Nemkov was cut above his left eye by an accidental head butt early in Round 2. All that did, however, was drip from above all over the face of Anglickas after an easy takedown. Nemkov closed the round by mauling Anglickas from above with short elbows, which opened up a cut on his left eye.
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The third round saw Nemkov actively seek a submission following an early takedown. He patiently alternated from arm bar to kimura and back again before finally getting enough leverage in Round 4 to produce a tap out via kimura.
Referee Mike Beltran leaped in at 4:24 of Round 4 to rescue the bloodied and battered Anglickas.
"I tried for a few armbars and he was kind of slipping and ended up on top of me," Nemkov said. "I tried to change it to a kimura and it worked."
Nemkov improved his win streak to nine overall dating back to 2016. Anglickas, meanwhile, suffered his first defeat since his second pro bout and snapped a three-fight win streak since joining Bellator.
CBS Sports will be with you throughout the evening for the latest updates, highlights and results from Phoenix, Arizona, with our live blog below. Stay tuned for updates all night long.
Bellator 268 fight card, results
- Vadim Nemkov (c) def. Julius Anglickas via fourth-round submission (Kimura)
- Corey Anderson def. Ryan Bader via first-round TKO (punches)
- Brent Primus def. Benson Henderson via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Henry Corrales def. Vladyslav Parubchenko via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Karl Albrektsson def. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Mukhamed Berkhamov def. Jaleel Willis via first-round submission (guillotine)
- Nick Browne def. Bobby Lee via first-round submission (heel hook)
- Javier Torres def. Gregory Milliard via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Sumiko Inaba def. Randi Field via second-round submission (arm triangle choke)
- Lance Gibson Jr. def. Raymond Pina via second-round TKO (punches)
- Jaylon Bates def. Raphael Montini via first-round submission (armbar)
- Sullivan Cauley def. Deon Clash via first-round TKO (punches)
- Maria Henderson def. Collette Santiago via first-round submission (rear-naked choke)