One of Bellator’s most dominant athletes has secured his fighting future with the promotion after signing a contract extension.

Vadim Nemkov is the current Bellator light heavyweight champion, and is considered by many within the sport as the current No. 1 light heavyweight fighter in the world. He most recently captured the promotion’s light heavyweight grand prix title by defeating Corey Anderson in the tournament final at Bellator 288 last November.

Now Bellator officials have confirmed that the Russian champion has inked a fresh contract extension that amounts to a multi-fight, multi-year deal.

Nemkov’s extension follows hot on the heels of a new deal for former featherweight champion and current lightweight contender AJ McKee, and Bellator president Scott Coker said he was happy to secure the services of the 30-year-old Stary Oskol native for the foreseeable future.

“Vadim Nemkov was another athlete that we wanted to make sure we had on the Bellator roster for the foreseeable future,” said Coker.

“He’s a huge part of one of the divisions that we feel is the strongest in all of mixed martial arts.

“Our light heavyweight tournament showcased that we have the top talent in the world at 205 pounds and we’re proud to be able to retain such a talented fighter to continue to lead that division. I am looking forward to seeing Vadim in exciting matchups in 2023 and beyond.”

A teammate and protege of Russian fighting legend Fedor Emelianenko, Nemkov has an overall career record of 16 wins, two losses and one no contest, and is undefeated under the Bellator banner, with a promotional record of 8-0 (1 NC). Those victories include wins over the likes of current heavyweight and former light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader, plus former light heavyweight champions Phil Davis, Liam McGeary, and Rafael Carvalho.

Vadim Nemkov: Bellator fight record

  • Bellator 288, Nov 2022: WIN vs. Corey Anderson via unanimous decision (wins light heavyweight grand prix)
  • Bellator 277, Apr 2022: NC vs. Corey Anderson (accidental head clash)
  • Bellator 268, Oct 2021: WIN vs. Julius Anglickas via submission (kimura), Round 4
  • Bellator 257, Apr 2021: WIN vs. Phil Davis via unanimous decision
  • Bellator 244, Aug 2020: WIN vs. Ryan Bader via TKO (head kick and punches), Round 2 (wins light heavyweight title)
  • Bellator 230, Oct 2019: WIN vs Rafael Carvalho via submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2
  • Bellator 209, Nov 2018: WIN vs. Phil Davis via split decision
  • Bellator 194, Feb 2018: WIN vs. Liam McGeary via TKO (leg kicks), Round 3
  • Bellator 182, Aug 2017: WIN vs. Philipe Lins via knockout (punches), Round 1