The last time fans Ryan Bader competed as a 205-pounder, it was
watch here November 2017. Bader, who had won the Bellator light-heavyweight title less than five months earlier, made a successful defense of the belt against Linton Vassell and then turned his attention to the heavyweight division, where he conquered three opponents
22 Aug 6:00 AM Bellator 244: Bader vs. Nemkov
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
In the headliner of Bellator 244, Bader puts his belt on the line against Vadim Nemkov. The challenger has turned heads with a campaign in which he’s victimized a couple of previous Bellator kingpins. He brings a 12-2 record and nine knockouts with him when he enters the cage against “Darth” Bader. Could this be the end of Bader’s title run?
Friday night also serves as a chance for former Bellator women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd to rebound from her loss to Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. Cyborg destroyed the formerly dominant titleholder with strikes in the fourth round of their January encounter. Now, Budd is out to spark a new winning streak when she clashes with Jessy Miele.
These two bouts top a four-fight main card th at also includes a heavyweight scrap between Roy Nelson and Valentin Moldavsky. The show-opener is a middleweight affair featuring John Salter and Andrew Kapel.
Bellator 244 takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and gets underway with the prelims on DAZN at 7:30 p.m. ET. The main card follows on DAZN and the Paramount Network at 10 p.m. ET.
Two-division Bellator champion Ryan Bader has been in the game for a long time, so he’s happy to experience things a little differently as he prepares for his return.
Bader (27-5 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) will face two fresh tests on Friday night at Bellator 244 when he takes on a new challenger in the form of surging Vadim Nemkov. Not only is he set to face a new opponent, he’ll also be doing so in unusual circumstances, fighting in an empty venue in Bellator’s “Fightsphere” at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Speaking to MMA Junkie during the lead-up to the fight, Bader explained that the experience of fighting in an empty arena will suit his mental approach and help bring out the best in him on fight night.
“I’m gonna like it. It’s gonna be something different,” Bader said. “I’ve been in this game for a while – I have 30-something fights – so something different kinda intrigues me. I’ve fought on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ in front of 30-40 people, and I kinda like
that. There’s no distractions. You go in there, (and) it feels like a Friday sparring session. I can hear my coaches, all that kind of stuff. It kinda takes the hoopla out of it, so I get to roll in there and feel comfortable, nerves low, and I can think clearly, and that’s where I fight my best.”