Bellator 268 Predictions: World Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Semifinals Fight Card, Start Time, Odds, Preview
While there are still many unknowns going into Saturday’s Bellator 268 card pairing main event, light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov against late substitute Julius Anglickas in the Grand Tournament semifinals Global Prize, 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 quarterfinals 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 your feet 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.”
Meanwhile, the main event features Russian champion Nemkov looking to make the second defense of his 205-pound crown. He won the belt in a demolition of Bader at the Bellator 244 in August 2020, then pulled off a successful defense in the first round of the tournament with a unanimous decision victory over former champion Phil Davis. He gets a tough outing for Anglickas, who enters the fight on a nine-game winning streak as he replaces Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. The Lithuanian has already made three appearances in the Bellator cage, the three victories having been decided unanimously.
Other veterans fill in the rest of the main card on Saturday night in Phoenix. Former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson is back when he takes on former Bellator lightweight champion Brent Primus. Henderson has been a mainstay of the Bellator roster since 2016 with mixed results at 4-5. Primus, meanwhile, has just suffered the second defeat of his professional career. Additionally, combat veteran Henry Corrales is back in a featherweight contest when he takes on Vladyslav Parubchenko to open the festivities.
Let’s take a closer look at the full map before tackling the predictions for the two Grand Prix fights.
Fight card, odds
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
- Vadim Nemkov (c) (14-2) -625 v Julius Anglickas (10-1) +450 – Semi-final of the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix
- Corey Anderson (15-5) -190 vs. Ryan Bader (28-6, 1 NC) +160 – Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Semi-Final
- Benson Henderson (28-10) -125 v Brent Primus (10-2) +105 – Lightweights
- Henry Corrales (18-6) -140 v Vladyslav Parubchenko (16-2) +120 – Featherweight
- Karl Albrektsson (12-3) -200 v Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-6-1) +170 – Light heavyweights
- Sullivan Cauley (1-0) -440 v Deon Clash (1-0) +340 – Light heavyweight
- Nick Browne (11-1) -280 vs. Bobby Lee (12-6) +230 – Lightweight
- Gregory Milliard (12-6) -115 vs. Javier Torres (11-5, 1 NC) -105 – Middleweight
- Sumiko Inaba (2-0) -575 v Randi Field (2-0) +425 – Flyweight Women
- Lance Gibson Jr. (4-0) -575 vs. Raymond Pina (9-4) +425 – Lightweights
- Jaylon Bates (3-0) -1000 v Raphael Montini (6-4, 1 NC) +650 – Bantamweight
- Mukhamed Berkhamov (14-1) -200 vs. Jaleel Willis (15-2) +170 – 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 down this fight and embark on 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