Officials announced Tuesday that Nemkov’s co-main event fight with Yoel Romero is off the Feb. 4 Los Angeles event, and Eblen will now defend his belt against Anatoly Tokov in the new co-main event. The change was first reported by ESPN.
This was Nemkov’s fifth scheduled title defense following a unanimous decision win over Corey Anderson this past November, which capped off a two-fight series that was necessitated by their first meeting ending in a no contest. The reason for Nemkov’s withdrawal from Bellator 290 has not been disclosed.
Eblen books his first title defense after claiming gold with a lopsided unanimous decision win over the legendary Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 282. “The Human Cheat Code” is 12-0 since beginning his pro MMA career in 2017, with eight wins inside the Bellator cage.
Tokov (31-3) also sports an unbeaten Bellator record, with seven wins for the promotion including a decision win over former middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko. In his most recent outing this past June, Tokov defeated Muhammad Abdullah by first-round TKO.
Bellator 290 marks the promotion’s first-ever event to air on CBS. It is headlined by a heavyweight title rematch between champion Ryan Bader and Fedor Emelianenko. This is expected to be the final fight of Emelianenko’s illustrious career.