Nemkov (14-3) is already Bellator’s 205-pound champion, but with bigger names in the promotional tournament, including Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, Yoel Romero and Ryan BaderIt would be easy to overlook him. The 28-year-old Russian reminded the rest of the field of his talents in a five-round decision over Davis on Friday.
All three judges scored the championship bout which Bellator 257 led for Nemkov 48-47 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The win marks Nemkov’s first defense of the light heavyweight title, which he won against Bader last August, and takes him to the semi-finals of the tournament where he will face Johnson or Romero.
“My plan was to beat him and defend his wrestling,” Nemkov said through an interpreter. “I’m pretty happy with my performance, but I made mistakes. I’ll work on it next time.”
Nemkov, who trains in the legendary Russian heavyweight division Fedor Emelianenkolooked great for the first three laps. He mixed up his offensive wonderfully and attacked Davis’ leading leg with low kicks and his body and head with punch combinations. On the third round, he dropped Davis with a left hook in the center of the cage.
Davis (22-6), who wanted to avenge a very close loss in the decision against Nemkov from 2018, turned the tide in the later rounds. He landed an overhand just behind Nemkov’s ear, temporarily unbalancing his balance, forcing him to back off for the first time in the fight. Davis continued to build on that dynamic in a highly competitive fifth round, but the 13-year-old veteran dug too deep into a hole early on. Davis’ remarkable statement of never getting done in a fight, however, remains.
For Nemkov, his active winning streak extends to eight in a row. He’ll find out his next opponent on May 7th when Johnson and Romero meet at Bellator 258. Both former UFC vets will make their Bellator MMA debuts.
Anderson advances to the semifinals with a dominant performance
Anderson reached the semi-finals of the Bellator MMA light heavyweight tournament by finishing Yagshimuradov (18-6-1) via TKO at 2:15 pm of the third round. The win puts him in a matchup against former champion Ryan Bader, who defeated Lyoto Machida in its opening round a week ago.
Fighting out of New Jersey, Anderson used his wrestling to defeat Yagshimuradov in the second and third rounds and completely neutralize his offense. A native of Turkmenistan, he chased a couple of homerun counterstrikes in the opening round and nearly headed Anderson down, but ended up succumbing to wrestling pretty early on.
“I wasn’t hurt, just off balance,” Anderson said at the headbutt, which seemed to numb him. “I said to Coach, ‘I’m fine, it didn’t shake me. But it took me away from where I was.’ I just kept my composure and made it to the next round. “
When Anderson started bringing Yagshimuradov to the ground, it quickly became snowy for the former UFC veteran. He went to work from the topmost position with his elbows and rose to the full position at one point on the second round. Yagshimuradov looked very uncomfortable on his back and it was only a matter of time before the referee had to intervene.
Anderson improves to 2-0 in the Bellator MMA cage.
Daley overcomes a difficult start and beats Homasi in two
Daley (42-17-2) scored a TKO finish against Homasi (15-8) in 1:44 of the second round, but only after he was almost knocked out himself in the first minutes of the fight. Homasi, who trains from the American Top Team, rocked Daley with an early right hand and a moment later dropped him with hits on the fence.
Referee Kevin Macdonald stayed at the front, but 38-year-old Daley did just enough to survive. After getting back on his feet, he quickly turned the tables and impressed Homasi in the last minute of the opening round with three unanswered knees in a clinch. Target came quickly the second Daley hit with a straight right, then a hard left hook.
“I didn’t give him the respect he deserves,” said Daley. “The kid can hit just as hard as [welterweight champion Douglas Lima]. Looking back on my fights I don’t really get dropped and I’ve been there with some of the best strikers. Much respect for Homasi. “
For Daley, who is fighting in Nottingham, England, it was his first appearance since October 2019.
Former title challenger Arteaga deserves a nod at Yanez
Two judges scored the bout 29-27 for Arteaga, while a third had a 28-28 draw with the point deduction. Arteaga was docked to the knee to a grounded opponent for not seeing Yanez having a hand on the mat in a forward headlock position. Yanez was not badly injured by the knee, however, and was able to continue after a short break.
Overall, it was Arteagas Boxing that dictated the fight as she sustained a constant series of insults on the feet. Yanez had her moments, mixing in a handful of takedowns, but just couldn’t get enough points to beat Arteaga on the scorecards. Arteaga who challenged unsuccessfully Ilima-Lei Macfarlane A tackle skid snapped up for the title in April 2019.