Vadim Nemkov beat Phil Davis once. Can he do so a second time?
The Russian sambo stylist will defend his Bellator MMA light heavyweight championship against Davis in the Bellator 257 headliner on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville Connecticut. Nemkov enters their rematch—he defeated Davis by split decision in 2018—on the strength of a seven-fight winning streak. He last competed at Bellator 244, where he laid claim to the 205-pound title with a second-round technical knockout of Ryan Bader on Aug. 21. Davis, meanwhile, has rattled off three straight victories. The former champion last fought on Sept. 11, when he eked out a split decision over Lyoto Machida at Bellator 245.
As Nemkov and Davis prepare for the high-stakes sequel, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
28: Years of age for Nemkov, who was born on June 20, 1992 in Belgorod, Russia—some 5,500 miles away from Bellator headquarters in California.
9: Nemkov victories by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 75% of his career total (12). His list of victims includes Goran Reljic, Philipe Lins, Liam McGeary and Rafael Carvalho. Nemkov owns two other wins by submission and one more by decision.
2: Sub-minute stoppage victories on the Nemkov resume. He punched out Joaquim Ferreira in 22 seconds under the League S-70 banner on Aug. 29, 2015 and brought down Alison Vicente with punches in 54 seconds at a Rizin Fighting Federation event on Dec. 29, 2016.
7: Light heavyweight champions, including Nemkov, in Bellator history. Bader, Davis, McGeary, Emanuel Newton, Attila Vegh and Christian M’Pumbu are the others.
4: Combat sambo world championships on Nemkov’s mantle. He struck gold at the global competition in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019.
36: Years of age for Davis, who was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 25, 1984. Prince and the Revolution’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” John Waite’s “Missing You,” The Cars’ “Drive,” Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” and Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” were the Top 5 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 list at the time.
5: Davis wins by submission, accounting for 23% of his career total (22). His methods of choice: two anaconda chokes, two kimuras and one rear-naked choke. Davis owns six other victories by knockout or technical knockout and 11 more by decision.
.779: Cumulative winning percentage between the four men—Bader (twice), Nemkov, Anthony Johnson and Rashad Evans—who have defeated Davis. They own a combined record of 81-22-1.
9: Davis victories as a Bellator light heavyweight, tying him with the aforementioned McGeary for first on the promotion’s all-time list at 205 pounds.
6: First-round finishes on the Davis ledger. He made quick work of Newton and Francis Carmont at Bellator 142 on Sept. 19, 2015, Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 112 on April 10, 2010, David Baggett at Ultimate Cage Fighting Challenge “Rumble on the Rivers” on June 27, 2009, Terry Cohens at Ultimate Warrior Challenge 6 on April 25, 2009 and Josh Green at Palace Fighting Championship 12 on Jan. 22, 2009.
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