Vadim Nemkov retained his Bellator light heavyweight title as he brought the curtain down on the promotion’s light heavyweight grand prix with a million-dollar win in Chicago.

Nemkov outpointed rival Corey Anderson over five rounds in the main event of Bellator 288, which took place at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois, to eliminate any doubt following the controversial first bout between the two at Bellator 277 in April.

In that bout, Anderson looked to be well on his way to victory, before an accidental clash of heads brought an unsatisfying end to proceedings, with the bout ruled a no contest.

There was no such controversy in the rematch, as Nemkov succeeded where he had fallen short in the first matchup, by completely shutting down Anderson’s wrestling.

With the American unable to take the Russian combat sambo specialist to the mat, the bout stayed almost exclusively in the striking realm, where Nemkov had the better of the exchanges, and even dropped the challenger with a spinning heel kick in the closing seconds of the opening round.

Anderson’s gameplan hinged on his ability to get Nemkov to the mat but, unlike in the first matchup, he was unable to complete a single takedown on the champion as Nemkov ran out a comfortable victor on the scorecards, with scores of 48-47, 49-46, 49-46.

Nemkov’s next title defence already looks set, with the Russian lined up to face former UFC middleweight title challenger Yoel Romero at Bellator 290 on February 4.

Bellator 288: Official Results


  • Vadim Nemkov def. Corey Anderson via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) – light heavyweight grand prix final (for light heavyweight title)
  • Usman Nurmagomedov def. Patricky Pitbull via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-44) – for lightweight title
  • Timur Khizriev def. Daniel Weichel via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Daniel James def. Tyrell Fortune via TKO (punches and elbows) – Round 2, 0:27
  • Levan Chokheli def. Roman Faraldo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)


  • Imamshafi Aliev def. Sean Connor Fallon via TKO (doctor stoppage) – Round 1, 3:20
  • Killys Mota def. Jairo Pacheco via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Archie Colgan def. Jesse Hannam via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:50
  • Sullivan Cauley def. Jay Radick via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 1:01
  • Jordan Newman def. Jayden Taulker via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:20
  • Laird Anderson def. Rob Fenicle via TKO (elbows and punches) – Round 2, 2:28
  • Isaiah Hokit def. Matias Nader via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:48
  • Wladimir Gouvea def. Kory Moegenburg via TKO (knee and punches) – Round 2, 1:46