Bellator 268 Predictions: World Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Semifinals Fight Card, Odds, Start Time, Preview
While there are still a lot of unknowns going into Saturday’s Bellator 268 card pairing main event, light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov against late substitute Julius Anglickas in the semi-finals of the World Grand tournament. Price, the main co-event might be the sneakiest fight on the map. from the point of view of the plot.
Former 205-pound champion and current heavyweight king Ryan Bader (28-6, 1 NC) continues his journey to regain his title when he comes in as a slight underdog against fellow UFC veteran Corey Anderson. The winner qualifies for the tournament final and has a chance at both winning the Bellator light heavyweight title and the million dollar prize.
Much of the build towards Anderson’s third visit to the Bellator cage since signing as a free agent in 2020 surrounds the repeated comments “Overtimes” made about Bader’s previous dominance in the sessions. ‘coaching. Anderson regularly closed topics on their story by uttering the cryptic line, “Bader and his team know what happened.”
So what exactly happened? Bader, who joined “Morning Kombat” on Thursday to get a preview of the fight, believes Anderson violated the unwritten fight code of attempting to detonate what happened behind closed doors.
“So I brought him twice when I fought Phil Davis [in 2015 and 2017]”Bader said.” The first time around he couldn’t even train because he was kicked in the eye and I opened his eye. He keeps talking about that other workout and I’m in the middle of a fucking camp and tired dog. We went back and forth in sparring. What? I know [what happened] because you may have gotten a sparring withdrawal?
“I don’t know what he’s clinging to over there. I get my ass screamed all the time in sparring, by everyone. I’m a gamer and I show up when it’s game time. We’re not talking about training here. ”
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Bader, 38, could only laugh as he echoed the cadence of former NBA All-Star Allen Iverson’s infamous press conference. But after a decisive victory over Lyoto Machida in the Grand Prix quarter-finals to avenge his UFC loss to “The Dragon,” Bader believes Anderson is simply trying to boost his own confidence by entering this crucial tournament fight.
“It’s just funny that he’s hanging on to that,” Bader said. “That was five or six years ago. If he thinks he’s fighting this guy who was in training and practice, he’s going to have an extremely rude awakening when the real fight comes.”
Anderson (15-5) enters this weekend after winning six of his last seven fights in total. The 32-year-old’s only loss came by a first-round knockout to current UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in Anderson’s final fight in the Octagon. His start at the Bellator was electric thanks to a second-round TKO from veteran Melvin Manhoef and a third-round finish from Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix.
“[Anderson] does well at volume. He is still in great shape. He goes after these guys who really don’t know how to wrestle and pulls them into deep water, ”Bader said. “My fight is superior, but I feel like my MMA fight is much better. He’s one of those guys who kind of pushes you over the cage and takes long shots where I’m the guy who’ll blow you up.
“You have to worry about the takedown and you have to care that he’s on top of you, he’s got good ground and a good shot. But I’m not going to sit and let him get on me and drop my elbows. on me. I’ve been in this game for a long time. I have power in both hands and it has been knocked out a lot.
“I put my heavy power into it with both hands and he’s knocked unconscious.”
The main event will see Nemkov (14-2) looking for the second title defense he won by stopping Bader in the second round last year at Bellator 244. Nemkov then had his own rematch against Phil Davis to open the tournament and won the home a competitive decision to win.
Anglickas (10-1), a 30-year-old Lithuanian, was upgraded to tournament substitute status after Anthony “Rumble” Johnson withdrew from his title shot against Nemkov due to an undisclosed illness. Anglickas has won 10 consecutive fights, including all three under the Bellator banner and a victory over the Dana White Contender series who failed to secure a UFC contract.
Fight card, odds
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
- Vadim Nemkov (c) (14-2) -550 v Julius Anglickas (10-1) +400 – Semi-final of the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix
- Corey Anderson (15-5) -180 vs. Ryan Bader (28-6, 1 NC) +155 – Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Semi-Final
- Benson Henderson (28-10) -120 v Brent Primus (10-2) +100 – Lightweights
- Henry Corrales (18-6) -120 v Vladyslav Parubchenko (16-2) +100 – featherweight
- Karl Albrektsson (12-3) -180 v Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-6-1) +155 – Light heavyweights
- Sullivan Cauley (1-0) -380 vs. Deon Clash (1-0) +300 – Light heavyweight
- Nick Browne (11-1) -330 vs. Bobby Lee (12-6) +260 – Lightweight
- Gregory Milliard (12-6) -115 vs. Javier Torres (11-5, 1 NC) -105 – Middleweight
- Sumiko Inaba (2-0) -440 v Randi Field (2-0) +340 – Flyweight Women
- Lance Gibson Jr. (4-0) -450 vs. Raymond Pina (9-4) +350 – Lightweights
- Jaylon Bates (3-0) -650 v Raphael Montini (6-4, 1 NC) +475 – Bantamweight
- Mukhamed Berkhamov (14-1) -175 vs. Jaleel Willis (15-2) +150 – welterweight
While Anglickas certainly brings an element of the unknown to the tournament as a last minute wild card, it’s hard to imagine he will have the same success Daniel Cormier has already achieved as an unknown substitute in the Strikeforce Heavyweight. World Grand Prix almost ten years ago.
Anglickas is solid but unspectacular. Nemkov, a 29-year-old Russian, is expected to manage to control the Anglickas on the ground while slowly tiring him with strikes in another systematic performance.
The co-main event seems much more open. Due to the wrestling prowess of the two, it’s easy to assume this one turns into more of a kickboxing match. The problem for Anderson in this equation is that he’s not the same stand-up fighter as the mighty Bader.
Expect Anderson to work hard to slow this fight down and engage in a long chase of takedowns. If he fails, it could be a long night, especially if Bader is able to mix up enough threat that his own best game opens up more opportunities to land on his feet.
Choice : Nemkov via TKO3; Bader via UD