Vadim Nemkov’s championship reign and grand prix run are rolling on.
In his first defense of the light heavyweight title, Nemkov (14-2) used his striking to earn a unanimous decision over Davis (22-6, 1 NC) in the Bellator 257 main event on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. All three judges scored the fight 48-47 for Nemkov.
With the win, Nemkov also advances to the semi-finals of the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix, where he awaits the winner of the Anthony Johnson vs. Yoel Romero matchup that takes place at Bellator 257 on May 7.
Nemkov was in control for the better part of the first three rounds as he outlanded Davis on the feet and even had moments where he outwrestled the NCAA Division-I wrestling champion. After utilizing a pressuring jab to clearly take the first round, Nemkov increased his advantage in the second, catching Davis with a jab-uppercut-left hook combo that had Davis stumbling (on the replay, it appeared that Nemkov stepped on Davis’ foot during this sequence).
Davis found some success in round three, but Nemkov was still the superior striker. It wasn’t until the fourth round—following a request for urgency from his corner—that Davis began to match Nemkov’s pace. He found a home for his right hand in the fourth and it appeared that he would take at least one round in the fight.
Nemkov continued to mix up his techniques beautifully in the final round, though Davis was right there with him, and in the end he managed to take the final two rounds on each of the judges’ scorecards. But it wasn’t enough as Nemkov retained his title and scored a second win over Davis. Nemkov also defeated Davis at Bellator 209 by split decision in November 2018, which was Davis’ most recent loss.
This makes it eight straight wins now for Nemkov, who holds an unblemished 6-0 record in the Bellator cage.
In the co-main event, Corey Anderson (15-5) needed two rounds to figure out Bellator newcomer Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-6-1), but the former UFC contender’s wrestling eventually led him to victory. Anderson advanced to full mount in round three and finished with relentless ground-and-pound as Yagshimuradov turned over to shield himself from the strikes.
Yagshimuradov’s strategy saw him waiting to counter Anderson in rounds one and two, which was effective at times as Anderson patiently looked for an opening to shoot in. While Anderson was busy, it was Yagshimuradov who landed the harder shots, specifically a counter-uppercut and a spin kick that clipped Anderson’s neck at the end of the first round.
However, Anderson finally took Yagshimuradov down with 90 seconds left in round two and went to work from full mount. Yagshimuradov made it out of that period, but was quickly taken down in the third frame when he succumbed to Anderson’s ground-and-pound attack. The official time of the stoppage was 2:15 into round three.
Anderson advances to the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix semi-finals, where he faces Ryan Bader. Bader secured his spot last week at Bellator 256 with a dominant decision victory over Lyoto Machida.
Veta Arteaga’s standup was too much for a game Desiree Yanez (5-3) and the one-time flyweight title challenger overcame a penalty in the second round to take a majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27) and snap a two-fight losing streak.
Early in the fight, Yanez was active, but ineffective as she walked into the sharp counters of Arteaga (6-4). In round two, Arteaga kept scoring with her right hand until one put Yanez on her backside. Unfortunately for Arteaga, she landed a pair of the now infamous knees-to-the-head-of-a-grounded-opponent and referee Todd Anderson deducted a point from Arteaga.
Yanez’s takedowns were not enough to slow Arteaga, who consistently recovered and got the better of Yanez on the feet to win the bout on the scorecards despite the penalty.
In the main card opener, reports of Paul Daley’s career demise were apparently greatly exaggerated.
Ten years after his classic Strikeforce encounter with Nick Diaz, “Semtex” found himself in another firefight as he went toe-to-toe with Sabah Homasi (15-9). It was Homasi who scored first blood, rushing Daley with a right hand that wobbled the British veteran. Homasi swarmed, hitting a jumping knee and another right hand that hurt Daley bad, but somehow Daley survived.
Daley (43-17-2) weathered a first-round storm and battled back in round two, landing his own haymakers before dropping Homasi with a left hook. He flurried with strikes on the ground to cap off an incredible comeback and finish the fight at the 1:44 mark of round two.
Though Daley had previously mentioned that this fight could be his last, the 38-year-old made no mention of retirement in his post-fight speech after defeating Homasi. Their bout was contested at 175 pounds, and Daley said he plans to continue his career competing at that weight.