When Will We See Ryan Bader In Action Again?
After three years, Bellator’s Light heavyweight Title will be defended.
According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Ryan Bader is set to defend his title on August 21 at Bellator 244. Bader, also the Bellator Heavyweight Champion, will face off against Vadim Nemkov.
“I’m excited about it,” Bader stated. “There was a lack of options where I thought I was going to fight at heavyweight again, but they can get him into the country [from Russia], and that’s the fight. He definitely deserves a title shot at light heavyweight. It’s one of those fights I’ve been looking at for a long time. It’s an intriguing fight and I’m ready to go down and defend.”
Bader (27-5, 1 NC) joined Bellator in 2017 following a 15-5 record in the UFC. The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner won the Bellator Light heavyweight Title in his Bellator debut in 2017, beating Phil Davis at Bellator 180. He defended the title a few months later against Linton Vassell, beating him via TKO.
Following that win, Bader moved up to heavyweight and competed in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. He beat Muhammed Lawal, Matt Mitrione, and Fedor Emelianenko to win the tournament and vacant Bellator Heavyweight Title. Bader’s last fight was a no-contest bout against Cheick Kongo for the heavyweight title in September.
While it has been a while since he has fought at 205, Bader did express interest in this fight not being a one and done deal. He is hoping to face fighters like Lyoto Machida, while also completing other personal goals.
“I obviously want to keep both of these belts,” Bader went on to say. “I can bounce back and forth pretty easily. For me, right now I’d like to defend the belt at 205 and fight again at 205, while my body is primed for that weight. It’s been some years since I’ve been down there, due to no fault on my side they just asked me to come do this heavyweight tournament and defend the heavyweight title right after the Grand Prix. I’d like to get a couple fights at 205. Go out there, beat Nemkov, then turn around and give Machida a title shot, get that loss back. I’d also like to fight in Japan, fight for the Rizin FF belt, finish the year with three belts.”
Nemkov (11-2) is currently on a six-fight win streak. The four-time Sambo World Champion made his Bellator debut in 2017, beating Philipe Lins via knockout. He would later beat Liam McGeary, Phil Davis, and Rafael Carvalho, the last bout coming back in October.
Bader was supposed to defend his Bellator Light Heavyweight Title at Bellator 242 against Nemkov on May 9. The event was postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Bellator 244 is expected to take place inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.