Vadim Nemkov retains his Bellator Light Heavyweight championship by defeating Cuba’s Yoel Romero by unanimous decision at Bellator 297.
Nemkov, a Russian native boasting a professional MMA record of 17 wins 2 losses and 1 No Contest extended his record title reign to 4. With the loss, the “Soldier of God” Romero is now 2 and 2 in Bellator. Romero had bounced back from his defeat to Phil Davis in his Bellator debut with consecutive wins over Alex Polizzi and Melvin Manhoef.
About the fight
Nemkov began the fight aggressively with punch and kick combinations. Romero was feeling the heat and Nemkov was careful to not over extend his punches. Nemkov really went after Yoel Romero in the first round. He kept the pace up high and pressurized Romero to be in the backfoot. Nemkov landed solid one two combinations and a deceptive spinning back kick to the body on Romero.
Round 2 was another comfortable round for the champion. Nice work was done by Nemkov with his one two combinations. Nemkov was easily up 2-0 after two rounds. The fight was controlled by the champion.
Round 3 was where Romero picked up his pace. Romero was lethargic in the first two rounds, hesitant to mount offense. It all changed in the final minutes of the third round where Romero played possum to counter the champion and tried to finish the fight by submission. Consecutive right hands from Nemkov seemed to hurt Romero but Romero used it to his advantage to strike back against Nemkov.
The champion came back strongly for round 4. Round 4 was similar to the first two rounds where Romero couldn’t mount any significant offense. Unofficial scorecards all across the board had Nemkov up by 3 rounds to 1 after round 4.
Romero rallied back in round 5 but it was too late for the former UFC Middleweight title contender. Romero ended the round by landing a takedown on Nemkov. When the scorecards were read, all three judges had the same score of 49-46 for Nemkov.
Nemkov now has defended his title against all the top contenders in the division. The champion would most likely face Corey Anderson who defeated Phil Davis by split decision in the undercard. The Russian and Anderson has fought two times with Nemkov winning the second fight after the first fight ended in No Contest.
Romero who is two and two with the promotion would have to mount a win streak to get another crack at the title. The champion and the top 3 contenders in Corey Anderson, Phil Davis and Yoel Romero competed at Bellator 297.
If Bellator is not interested in booking a third fight between Nemkov and Anderson, fresh matchups available in the roster are against Grant Neal, Luke Trainer and Karl Moore. Neal doesn’t have a fight scheduled, Trainer is scheduled to fight Laurynas Urbonavicius at Bellator 299 and Moore defeated Alex Polizzi in the preliminary card of Bellator 297.
In the co-main event of Bellator 297, Sergio Pettis defeated Patrício Pitbull by unanimous decision with scorecard of 49-46 and 50-45(2). Pettis thwarted Pitbull’s ambition to become the first three division champion in MMA. Pettis showcased impressive takedown defense and speed in striking to thwart Pitbull’s haymakers and takedown attempts.
Next up for Pettis is a Bellator Bantamweight title reunification bout against Patchy Mix, the interim Bellator Bantamweight champion. Mix won the title after defeating Raufeon Stots in the final of the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix.
There were only 4 fights in the main card of the event including the title fights. The opener was a Heavyweight bout between Gökhan Saricam and Daniel James which Saricam won by unanimous decision. The second fight was the one that Anderson defeated Davis by split decision.