Nemkov dominates Anglickas, retains Bellator title by submission
Vadim Nemkov is still the Bellator light heavyweight champion, and he's headed to the grand prix final.
Nemkov submitted Julius Anglickas to retain the title at the 4:25 mark of the fourth round in the Bellator 268 main event Saturday night in Phoenix.
With the semifinal victory, Nemkov is set to defend his belt against Corey Anderson and compete for the $1-million grand prize in the tournament final. Anderson defeated Ryan Bader by TKO in the other semifinal bout, which co-headlined Saturday's event.
Nemkov controlled Anglickas on the mat for most of the fourth round before sinking in the submission. He went for a straight armbar, made an adjustment, and tapped the challenger with a kimura moments later.
Anglickas badly hurt Nemkov with a heavy right hand in the first round, nearly pulling off a stunning win as the tournament alternate. Anglickas replaced Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, who withdrew from the title fight in September due to an illness.
After getting past the early adversity, it became a one-sided performance in the champion's favor. Nemkov dragged Anglickas down to the ground and dominated the rest of the frame, and he did so in each subsequent round. He was also a step ahead in the striking department.
Nemkov bloodied Anglickas with vicious ground-and-pound late in the second round and nearly stopped him. Anglickas' offense was limited throughout the fight aside from the early blow, but he certainly showcased his extreme toughness.
The titleholder intelligently scored a quick takedown in the third round after the success he had in Rounds 1 and 2, and he attempted an armbar late, but time expired.
Nemkov retained his Bellator light heavyweight title for the second time. He beat former champion Phil Davis in the quarterfinals earlier in 2021 after knocking out Bader in 2020 to claim the belt. Nemkov, 29, is riding a nine-fight winning streak and hasn't lost since 2016.
No date has been set for the grand prix final. Anderson is 3-0 in Bellator since leaving the UFC and signing with the promotion last year.
Anglickas suffered his first loss in Bellator, dropping to 3-1. He had won nine in a row before Saturday. The 30-year-old was victorious on "Dana White's Contender Series" in 2019 but didn't earn a UFC contract.