The semi-finals of the $1 million Bellator light heavyweight grand prix are the star attraction at Bellator 268, which takes place this Saturday night in Phoenix, Arizona.
Reigning 205-pound champion Vadim Nemkov features in the night’s main event against tournament alternate and No. 5 ranked contender Julius Anglickas, who steps in to replace Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, who is dealing with ongoing health issues that have forced him out of competitive action.
Nemkov will head into the bout as a sizeable betting favourite, but with Lithuania’s Anglickas riding a nine-fight win streak heading into fight night, the champion will need to be on top form to ensure the headline fight doesn’t produce an upset.
The second final spot will be decided in the co-main event, as current heavyweight champ and former two-division belt-holder Ryan Bader takes on fellow former UFC contender – and ex-training partner – Corey Anderson.
Anderson has hinted multiple times during the build-up that he had the better of the exchanges when the pair trained together in the past.
But Bader, while annoyed at the supposed breaking of an unwritten rule of sparring, has kept typically level-headed in the lead-up to fight night, and plans to put Anderson in his place and book his place in the final, and a shot at reclaiming the 205-pound title once again.
With Nemkov and Bader the favoured athletes heading into the event, there is the chance that the final of the tournament could produce a rematch the two, with Bader eyeing revenge against the man who dethroned him via second-round TKO at Bellator 244 back in August, 2020.
The main card also features a pivotal bout in the Bellator lightweight division, as former champion Brent Primus takes on former UFC champion Benson Henderson in what could potentially be a lightweight title eliminator.
The 155-pound title will be contested by Patricky Pitbull and Peter Queally at Bellator 270 on November 5 after the Brazilian’s brother, Patricio, vacated the belt in his quest to reclaim the featherweight title.
And with No. 3 ranked Henderson facing former 155-pound champ Primus this weekend, the promotion’s lightweight picture should be nicely set heading into 2022, with a new champion, and a title challenger already in place.
Henderson’s night in Phoenix could prove to be a special one for the Arizona native, with his wife, Maria, set for action in the opening bout of the night as she makes only the second professional appearance of her fledgling career against Collette Santiago.
Bellator 268: Confirmed Fight Card
- Vadim Nemkov (c) vs. Julius Anglickas – for Bellator light heavyweight title / light heavyweight grand prix semi-final
- Ryan Bader vs. Corey Anderson – light heavyweight grand prix semi-final
- Benson Henderson vs. Brent Primus
- Henry Corrales vs. Vladyslav Parubchenko
- Karl Albrektsson vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov
- Sullivan Cauley vs. Deon Clash
- Nick Browne vs. Bobby Lee
- Javier Torres vs. Gregory Milliard
- Sumiko Inaba vs. Randi Field
- Lance Gibson Jr. vs. Raymond Pina
- Jaylon Bates vs. Raphael Montini
- Muhkhamed Berkhamov vs. Jaleel Willis
- Maria Henderson vs. Collette Santiago