- Date & Location: Friday, April 16 @ Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT
- Odds: Vadim Nemkov (-210) va. Phil Davis (+170) via BetOnline
- Prediction: Nemkov via decision
On Friday, Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov attempts to begin his run through the gauntlet that is the Bellator light heavyweight Grand Prix. Nemkov faces former Bellator light heavyweight titleholder, Phil Davis, in the opening round of the tournament. The two met in November 2018. Nemkov won that three-round bout via a split decision.
Nemkov is a perfect 5-0 with Bellator. He won the promotion’s light heavyweight crown in August of last year with a second-round TKO of Ryan Bader. Of his 12 career wins, Nemkov has 10 knockout victories and one submission triumph. Nemkov’s only decision win came over Davis.
Davis joined Bellator in 2015. He won the 205-pound crown with the promotion in 2016 with a decision victory over Liam McGeary. Bader took the belt from Davis in 2017. That setback was Davis’ first loss with the promotion. He is 5-1 since the Bader fight. The loss to Nemkov is the only blemish on Davis’ record in that span. Davis is coming off a September split-decision win over Lyoto Machida.
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|1st Fighter||2nd Fighter|
|Vadim Nemkov||-210||+170||Phil Davis|
NEMKOV vs. DAVIS 2 PREDICTION & PICK
The first time these two met, Davis made the mistake of not employing his wrestling until the third round. Had the Penn State All-American done more wrestling, there’s a good chance he could have won the fight. The problem Davis faces in the rematch is nearly three years have passed since the first time he faced Nemkov and that time favors the Fedor Emelianenko protege. At 36, Davis is still a force, but he’s on the downside of a career that began in 2008. Nemkov is 28 and heading into what should be his prime years. Nemkov will not be the same fighter in 2021 that he was in 2018 and that will be the biggest difference in this rematch.
I expect Davis to wrestle earlier in this fight, but I believe Nemkov will be more prepared in the defense department and that Nemkov will walk away with his title in hand and move on to face the winner of the upcoming Anthony Johnson vs. Yoel Romero scrap.
Prediction: Nemkov -210 via Bovada.
BETTING VALUE WITH NEMKOV
Davis went the full three rounds with Nemkov in 2018 and that fight was a squeaker. This matchup is scheduled for five rounds. Davis can and has gone a full 25 minutes on several occasions, Nemkov has never fought five rounds. Had the 2018 bout been a five-round contest, I think Davis would have won. I don’t feel that way about the rematch. Nemkov might have had a questionable gas tank when he was younger, but I think he has sorted out those issues in 2021.
Nemkov is a finisher, but Davis has never been stopped. All five of his career losses have come via decision. Three of those were five-round setbacks. I don’t think Nemkov will finish Davis.
I think the safe bet is Nemkov via decision as I think these two will contest the rematch at distance and if Anthony Johnson couldn’t finish Davis, I don’t think Nemkov will be able to either.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
In 2018 Davis had the wrestling edge over Nemkov and the experience advantage. While Davis might be the better wrestler in this rematch, I think Nemkov will be better prepared in 2021 than he was in 2018 and that he will have the edge in speed and power. In short, I think the time between the first matchup and the second has been kinder to the champion.
FIGHT STATS: NEMKOV vs. DAVIS 2
|Vadim Nemkov||Category||Phil Davis|
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The winner of this fight moves on to the next round of the Bellator light heavyweight Grand Prix and faces the winner of the bout between Anthony Johnson and Yoel Romero. More importantly, the winner moves on to that fight as the Bellator light heavyweight champion.
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