One of many largest occasions in latest Bellator historical past is coming to the desert.
The Bellator Mild Heavyweight World Grand Prix semifinals will happen on the identical card Oct. 16 at Footprint Heart in Phoenix, sources informed ESPN on Saturday.
The occasion can be headlined by the semifinal bout between Bellator mild heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov and multiple-time former UFC mild heavyweight title challenger Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Within the co-main occasion, Ryan Bader, the present Bellator heavyweight champion and former Bellator mild heavyweight champ, takes on fellow former UFC contender Corey Anderson within the different semifinal.
ESPN has three of the 4 semifinal opponents ranked in its high 10 on the planet at 205 kilos: Nemkov (6), Anderson (8) and Bader (9).
The winners of these two bouts will meet at a later date to find out the grand prix winner, the Bellator mild heavyweight champion and the winner of the match’s $1 million prize.
Johnson (23-6) is without doubt one of the most feared knockout punchers within the historical past of MMA. The Florida resident debuted in Bellator with a second-round knockout of Jose Augusto in Could, his first bout in practically 4 years. That was within the grand prix quarterfinals. Johnson, 37, introduced a return from retirement with Bellator final yr. He has misplaced to just one man since 2012: former UFC double champion Daniel Cormier. Each of these bouts had been UFC mild heavyweight title fights.
Nemkov (14-2) stopped Bader through second-round TKO final August to develop into Bellator mild heavyweight champion. The Russia native defended the title efficiently in April, a unanimous choice win over Phil Davis within the grand prix quarterfinals. Nemkov, 29, has gained eight straight. He’s a protégé of legendary MMA heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.
Anderson (15-5) is 2-0 since transferring over to Bellator final yr. The Illinois native completed Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov through third-round TKO within the grand prix quarterfinals in April. Anderson, 31, has gained six of his final seven with the one loss throughout that point coming towards Jan Blachowicz, the present UFC mild heavyweight champion.
Bader (28-6, 1 NC) rebounded from his title loss to Nemkov by beating former UFC champion Lyoto Machida by unanimous choice within the grand prix quarterfinals in April. The Arizona resident has only one loss in his final 10 fights. Bader, 38, remains to be the Bellator heavyweight champion after profitable a match in that weight class in January 2019, stopping Emelianenko within the ultimate.