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Bellator 288 ‘Nemkov vs. Anderson 2’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

Sherdog's live Bellator 288 coverage will begin Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.

Check out the MMA Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below.

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Wladimir Gouvea (265.8) vs. Kory Moegenburg (246.2)

Round 1

Kicking off one of the biggest Bellator cards of the year are two very big men, as Wladimir "Blanka" Gouvea makes his pro debut against Kory Moegenburg (2-4). Referee Mike Cimmarusti gets the first assignment of the night. Gouvea is immediately aggressive, throwing a series of hooks, though none land. Moegenburg returns fire with leg kicks, but while they land, they're very light. Gouvea wades forward, getting him against the cage, as he eats more leg kicks. They both throw punches with reckless abandon, but absolutely nothing lands, as they hit pure air. They return to the center of the cage and Moegenburg continues scoring with leg kicks. Gouvea finally connects with a jab, but is mostly missing. Finally, he gets Moegenburg against the cage and lets loose with a series of straight-armed windmilss that are probably supposed to resemble hooks. A few land partially, but no serious damage is done. They clinch and Gouvea gets Moegenburg down. He moves with little resistance to side control and then gets a crucifix. Moegenburg partially recovers and Gouvea has him in North-SOuth position. He soon gets back to side control and then to half-guard, where he begins landing punches to Moegenburg, who does little to defend against them. Finally, he ties up Gouvea. Both men can be heard breathing heavily already. The pace slows, as Gouvea goes back to side control. Gouvea puts a knee on belly but is very sloppy in taking the back and Moegenburg gets back to half-guard. Again, the pace slows, as both men throw little blows of no consequence, but nothing else. The round ends. 10-9 Gouvea.

Round 2

Moegenburg begins the round with kicks, but they're again very light, barely bothering Gouvea. He comes forward and Gouvea throws some hooks, but none land heavily. Gouvea looks tired, with his arms down at his sides. Moegenburg begins throwing punches of his own, though again, none land. Gouvea looks very tired indeed. He does, however, partially land a left hook as Moegenburg comes forward. He summons his energy and hits Moegenberg with a 1-2-1. Suddenly, he swarms Moegenberg with a series of wild punches, many straight-armed windmills. Moegenburg is simply covering up and not getting out of there. While most of Gouvea's punches are missing badly, some hitting nothing but air and others slapping the shoulders, the referee stops it. I don't know how I feel about that.

The Official Result

Wladimir Gouvea def. Kory Moegenburg via TKO (Punches) at 1:46 of Round 2

Isaiah Hokit (145.4) vs. Matias Nader (144)

Round 1

Next up, Isaiah Hokit (1-1) battles undefeated Ecuadorian prospect Matias Nader (3-0) at featherweight. Referee Mike Cimmarusti works his second fight in a row. Nader begins with a nice leg kick and is coming forward. Hokit fires back with a left hook, but Nader dodges. He continues throwing kicks, including ones to the head and body. He dodges a 1-2 by Hokit. Hokit nicely changes levels and gets the double-leg takedown. Nader immediately works for a triangle choke and starts throwing elbows from the bottom that hit Hokit's head. Hokit wrenches his arm out and decides to stand back up, not wanting to be submitted. Hokit throws a punch and then chains a head kick to it that partially gets through. He lands a leg kick and throws a 1-2 that is only partially blocked. Hokit is not going to be anyone's stepping stone! Hokit scores again with a body kick. Nader throws a wild punch that misses. He misses a kick. They clinch for a while in the center of the cage, but soon separate. Nader lands a body kick, but soon after, Hokit scores with a 1-2 that is his best connect of the fight. He soon lands a right cross and gets Nader to the cage, where he picks him up and slams him down. This time, Nader is content with a closed full guard. Nader tries for another submission, but Hokit cuts an angle. However, Nader scores with a few upkicks and gets back to his feet. Nader then connects with an eyepoke that brings a temporary halt to the action. Seems rather blatant on the replay. Hokit comes out firing again and lands a couple of punches. A Hokit kick gets Nader off-balance and falling on his butt. Hokit then gets another easy double-leg takedown. This time, he throws a little ground-and-pound. Hokit goes body-head with his punches, though they're not big. Hokit stands back up to end the round. Very impressive work by him. 10-9 Hokit.

Round 2

Hokit throws an early 1-2 and the right cross hits paydirt, pushing Nader back. Suddenly, he throws a series of close-range hooks and they connect, with Nader deciding to go to his knees and try to grapple. He has no success, and Hokit pushes him over. He decides to continue the battle standing. Hokit fires a punch and then a body kick, with that one getting through. He then lands another front kick. It's all Hokit now! He pelts Nader with straight punches, as Nader looks like he doesn't want to be there. He hits Nader with more punches, and Nader drops to the floor. Hokit wants him back up. He slowly does so. It's more target practice for Hokit, who lands a head kick and series of punches. He is absolutely brutalizing Nader now, landing punch after punch. Nader curls up but then attacks a submission from his back. Once again Hokit beckons him up, and Nader is very slow in doing so. Nader finally lands a right hand, but Hokit just hits him again and again with punches. Nader goes to his feet as the referee is VERY close to stopping matters. However, he gets a miracle takedown when Hokit is too aggressive in coming forward. Hokit manages to eventually turn into Nader, who turns his own head away and eats blows. Hokit lands a big knee as Nader stands up. Against the cage, Hokit batters Nader again and again and again. He is landing punches and knees at will. FINALLY, with over a minute remaining, it's stopped. Very interesting that the same referee who waved off the opening contest far too early let this one go on too long. Overcorrection?

The Official Result

Isaiah Hokit def. Matias Nader via TKO (Punches and Knees) at 3:48 of Round 2

Laird Anderson (145.6) vs. Rob Fenicle (146)

Round 1

We stay at men's 145 pounds as undefeated Laird Anderson (2-0) confronts Rob Fenicle (2-2). Referee Kevin MacDonald will keep them honest. Anderson begins with a front kick to the body that partially connects. They then throw hands and Fenicle partially connects, gaining some respect. Anderson quickly dives for the legs and gets a double-leg takedown. Anderson is throwing the occasional punch from the top, especially to the uncovered body, as Fenicle is content to stay on his back. Anderson neatly steps into half-guard and begins scoring with elbows. Anderson nails Fenicle with more forearms and elbows. Fenicle finally tries to escape, but Anderson keeps him flat on his back. Anderson puts his knee on Fenicle's arm, looking to improve position. He does so, getting into side control. He gets into a crucifix position and begins dropping elbows on Fenicle. Fenicle continues moving though, and gets his arm out eventually. Anderson gets North-South and decides to posture up, dropping a few punches. He looks to attack the neck from there, but settles for entering back into half-guard, where he lands a few more elbows. Fenicle tries to get up, but Anderson pushes him down, posturing up and then landing a punch. It's been all Anderson thus far, though not quite enough for a 10-8 round. Anderson lands a few more punches to a grounded Fenicle, who goes for a heel hook as the round ends. 10-9 Anderson.

Round 2

Fenicle is a little slow coming out of his corner. He lands a solid left hook against Anderson, but of course, the striking is not where he is in danger. Anderson returns aggression with a front kick, which hits Fenicle's chin. Fenicle keeps throwing very light leg kicks, and it costs him, as Anderson shoots in after one and easily returns Fenicle to the canvas. Anderson begins work with a couple of elbows. Anderson lands a few more punches, though Fenicle tries to control his biceps, though not very effectively. Anderson steps over into half-guard again, with little resistance. Anderson postures up and fires a big punch which Fenicle partially dodges. Anderson uses this to get into a crucifix, again pelting Fenicle with big elbows and punches. This time, Fenicle cannot escape as he continues to eat punch after punch after punch. Referee Kevin MacDonald stops it and Anderson has some angry words and gestures for the defeated Fenicle. Not the classiest in victory. Regardless, he has some good wrestling and ground-and-pound, especially at this level.

The Official Result

Laird Anderson def. Rob Fenicle via TKO (Punches and Elbows) at 2:28 of Round 2

Jordan Newman (185.6) vs. Jayden Taulker (185.6)

Round 1

Moving up to middleweight, another undefeated prospect in Jordan "Not Human" Newman (4-0) faces Jayden Taulker (2-2). Keeping a close eye on the action is referee Rob Madrigal. Newman begins with a left cross which looks hard, but is telegraphed, with Taulker able to dodge and push him off. Newman throws a few more punches, and they're mostly avoided as Taulker again resets. However, on the third attempt, Newman clips Taulker's chin hard with a left cross, which clearly wobbles him. He soon comes forward again and this time, scores with a right hook behind the ear. The wrestler Newman is showing a fairly technical striking game! As if to prove this further, he fires a big head kick, though Taulker ducks under it. They throw kicks simultaneously, but it's Newman's that gets through, hitting Taulker's body. Newman comes forward with another big right hook, but it's again telegraphed and Taulker ducks under. Taulker's own strikes are all missing though, as Newman is keeping the distance well. He completely avoids a few of Taulker's kicks. They throw leg kicks simultaneously, and again it's Newman who gets the better of the exchange. Taulker touches Newman with a jab, but Newman partially connects with a right hook. He comes forward throwing punches, missing, but connects with a knee to the head as Taulker goes back. Interesting that Newman hasn't decided to use his wrestling yet, but then again, he is easily winning the fight on the feet. He comes forward with a left cross, but again, it's just too telegraphed and Taulker moves away. Newman misses with another right hook, but Taulker isn't much successful with the counter. Newman throws kicks, landing one to the legs but missing the one to the head. Taulker throws a kick that is blocked. 10-9 Newman.

Round 2

Taulker begins the second stanza with a leg kick, though it's not hard. Newman is sloppy coming forward, misses, and Taulker partially lands a punch. Newman blocks a Taulker punch. Newman lands a nice leg kick, the best kick connection of either man in the fight. Emboldened, he lands a second one, though Taulker partially pulls it back. Taulker throws a head kick that is easily blocked. Newman runs forward with punches but he misses and so does Taulker with his counters. Taulker is bleeding badly over his left eye now. Newman throws a spinning kick but it's not even close. Newman misses a right hook to the head. Newman partially lands a knee to the body but misses the follow-up right hook to the head. Finally, Newman decides to shoot and he gets Taulker down. Taulker gets up, but eats a big knee. After that, Newman picks him up and gets a mat return. Newman has Taulker's back and works hard for a rear-naked choke. Taulker does little to fight against it, as Newman has him flattened out and it's in deep. The referee intervenes to stop it. A nice chance for Newman to work on his striking before finishing the contest with his grappling.

The Official Result

Jordan Newman def. Jayden Taulker via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:20 of Round 2

Sullivan Cauley (205.6) vs. Jay Radick (205.6)

Round 1

Now at light heavyweight, Sullivan Cauley (4-0) matches up with Jay Radick (3-0), as one of them will taste defeat for the first time. (Yes, I know, a draw is possible) Referee Jason Herzog works for the first, but not last time tonight. Cauley starts the fight circling energetically around the cage. Radick throws a head kick, it's blocked, and Cauley immediately shoots in. Radick defends well, however, and it's him pushing Cauley to the cage. Radick goes for a trip and almost gets it, but in the ensuing scramble, it's Cauley who ends up on top. Cauley scores with a series of punches as Radick does little to stop it, and suddenly, out of nowhere, he lands a monster punch that smashes Radick's head flat against the canvas as he is out in dreamland, asleep. Wow! That's truly brutal ground-and-pound and snaps our streaks of second-round finishes at four!

The Official Result

Sullivan Cauley def. Jay Radick via KO (Punch) at 1:01 of Round 1

Archie Colgan (154.8) vs. Jesse Hannam (155.8)

Round 1

Lightweights keep the line moving on the Bellator 288 prelims, where Hannam (2-1, 0-0 Bellator) awaits Colgan (5-0, 2-0 Bellator) at 155 pounds. Cimmarusti steps in as the third man inside the cage. They touch gloves, and Colgan immediately commands the center of the cage. Hannam gets off a leg kick and paws with his jab. Colgan drops Hannam with a clubbing right hand, swarms with punches and executes a high-amplitude mat return. More punches follow, and Cimmarusti elects to call for the stoppage. Hannam protests, to no avail. Colgan needs some better competition.

The Official Result

Archie Colgan def. Jesse Hannam—TKO (Punches) 0:50 R1

Killys Mota (155.6) vs. Jairo Pacheco (155.6)

Round 1

Attention stays on the lightweight division, as Tata Fight Team’s Pacheco (7-0, 0-0 Bellator) puts his undefeated record on the line against Mota (13-3, 2-2 Bellator) at 155 pounds. Herzog draws the officiating assignment. A customary glove tap gets them started. Pacheco circles on the perimeter, hoping to make the most of his 76-inch reach. The Brazilian fires kicks to the body and lead leg but continues to give ground. Mota shoots on a takedown, only to wind up stalled along the fence. He shifts his weight, executes a body-lock takedown and settles in side control. Mota scores with some mild ground-and-pound but allows Pacheco to gain full guard. Nevertheless, Mota delivers some hammerfists, postures up and connects with a few standing-to-ground punches before moving into half guard. Pacheco cannot find an avenue to get back to his feet and retreats to his corner between rounds in search of some answers. 10-9 Mota

Round 2

Pacheco unleashes a series of kicks to the body and head before slamming home a right hand. Mota closes the distance and secures another takedown, this one with far less resistance. He applies his ground-and-pound, then defends against an armbar. Mota progresses to half guard and continues to feed the Brazilian fists, forearms and elbows. Fans boo, but Mota is taking the right approach. He has completely neutralized Pacheco. Mota stays busy, as his counterpart tries and fails to build a base. With a minute left in the second round, the situation does not look promising for Pacheco. Mota buries a few knees into the thigh before returning Pacheco to the canvas in a head-first dive. 10-9 Mota

Round 3

The undefeated Pacheco enters Round 3 almost certainly needing a finish to preserve his perfect record. They trade in the center of the cage. Mota again gets in on the legs, hoists the Brazilian skyward and delivers a takedown. He climbs immediately to half guard, engages in some hand fighting and scores with punches. Pacheco looks to Herzog for assistance, but the veteran official ignores him, as he should. Mota moves to a kneeling position, with a seated Pacheco pinched along the fence. The Brazilian’s promotional debut is not going as he had hoped. Mota figure fours the legs to keep Pacheco bottled up. He powers into half guard, lands some punches and continues to bleed time off the clock. This looks like a clean-sweep shutout for the former Legacy Fighting Alliance headliner. Mota gets back to his feet with 30 seconds to go but cannot free himself from the clinch. 10-9 Mota (30-27 Mota)

The Official Result

Killys Mota def. Jairo Pacheco—Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Imamshafi Aliev (185.8) vs. Sean Connor Fallon (185.6)

Round 1

Middleweights close out the Bellator 288 undercard, as Fallon (16-7, 0-0 Bellator) confronts the American Kickboxing Academy’s Aliev (8-0, 0-0 Bellator) at 185 pounds. The referee assignment falls on Kevin MacDonald. The two men touch gloves, and off they go. Fallon paws with his jab and stays busy with punches. Aliev catches a kick and secures a takedown inside the first minute. He dodges a kimura, applies some serious shoulder pressure and works toward an arm-triangle. Fallon makes him uncomfortable with a neck crank from the bottom, but Aliev frees himself and settles in full guard. He cuts loose with elbows, one of which opens a cut. Fallon briefly escapes to his feet, only to be taken down again. Blood flows from the cut. Aliev progresses to side control, as MacDonald pauses the action to have the wound inspected. The sickle-shaped cut results in a doctor stoppage.

The Official Result

Imamshafi Aliev def. Sean Connor Fallon—TKO (Doctor Stoppage) 3:20 R1

Roman Faraldo (170.8) vs. Levan Chokheli (170.6)

Round 1

Welterweights kick off festivities for the Bellator 288 main card, as the unbeaten Faraldo (8-0, 5-0 Bellator) takes on Chokheli (10-2, 1-2 Bellator) at 170 pounds. Madrigal takes the officiating reins. Faraldo stings his counterpart with a multi-punch volley upstairs. Chokheli secures a takedown and moves toward the back, threatening the neck while he works. Faraldo manages to escape to his feet, cuts loose with a knee and fires hooks from both hands before moving out into open space. Chokheli staggers the American Top Team rep with a left hook. Faraldo denies a takedown, executes a beautiful judo throw and climbs immediately to full mount. A burst of elbows follows, but Chokheli escapes and turns into top position. Chokheli scores with hammerfists and progresses to half guard before he postures up with punches and scrambles to the back. He finishes the round in side control. 10-9 Chokheli

Round 2

Faraldo storms out with aggressive punches and kicks, as Chokheli responds with wild swings before luring him into the clinch. He powers Faraldo to the mat with another successful takedown and sets up shop in full guard. Chokheli passes to side control, then gradually transitions to the back. He lands a head kick on the break as the two men return to standing positions. Chokheli attacks a single-leg but bails after an extended struggle on the fence. Faraldo drops the Georgian with a left hook and flurries with follow-up shots, but the determined Chokheli gets back on his legs and works for a takedown. Faraldo grabs the fence and gets docked a point, but he moves into full mount during a subsequent scramble and drops elbows until the bell sounds. 9-9

Round 3

A more tepid start to Round 3, with both men dealing with fatigue. Faraldo backs up his opponent with punches, fends off a takedown and gets back to exchanging punches on the feet. Chokheli connects with a searing counter right hand, only to have the bearded Faraldo fire back. Chokheli level changes into a takedown with 3:00 left in the bout. Faraldo faces an uphill climb now. Mild ground-and-pound follows from Chokheli, who suddenly increases the intensity of his shots. The clock has become Faraldo’s enemy. Chokheli shuts off avenues of escape, moves to half guard and slams punches into the Key West native’s face. Hopelessly trapped on his back, Faraldo watches the remaining time bleed off the clock. 10-9 Chokheli (29-27 Chokheli)

The Official Result

Levan Chokheli def. Roman Faraldo—Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Tyrell Fortune (257.2) vs. Daniel James (264.8)

Round 1

Moving along with action in the heavyweight division, James (13-6-1, 1-0 Bellator) tests his skills against Fortune (12-2, 12-2 Bellator). Madrigal once again serves as the referee. The touch gloves before getting down to business. The massive 6-foot-6 James paws with his jab, but eats a leg kick for his efforts. James catches a kick, trips Fortune to the floor and swarms with punches into the clinch. Fortune weathers the attack, then lands a knee south of the equator, resulting in a pause to the action. Fortune shoots on a single leg after the restart and secures a takedown. He lands some ground-and-pound with James having moved to a seated position against the cage. Action stalls, which benefits Fortune. James’ offense from the bottom is limited to a few short elbows. James gets back to his feet, but Fortune jumps on his back and sinks a rear-naked choke with less than a minute to go. James survives, turns into top position and drops heavy hammerfists and elbows. With a little more time, he may have generated a finish. 10-9 James

Round 2

James uncorks a brutal right uppercut at the start of Round 2, dropping Fortune in the center of the cage. He powers into top position and seals the deal with follow-up punches and elbows.

The Official Result

Daniel James def. Tyrell Fortune—TKO (Punches and Elbows) 0:27 R2

Daniel Weichel (145.2) vs. Timur Khizriev (146)

Round 1

The show makes the turn with featherweights, as Khizriev (11-0, 0-0 Bellator) makes his anticipated promotional debut and risks his perfect professional record in a battle with Weichel (42-13, 11-5 Bellator) at 145 pounds. MacDonald has been tapped as the third man in the cage. Khizriev sneaks in a front kick to the chin, flashing some lightning-quick speed. The two men trade kicks to the body and leg as the circle one another in the center of the cage. Khizriev doubles up on his jab, eats a counter right hand and narrowly misses a clubbing overhand right of his own. The promotional newcomer tags Weichel with a clean one-two and continues to keep the former M-1 Global champion off-balance. Khizriev again doubles up on the jab and answers a Weichel kick to the armpit with a counter overhand right. Weichel cartwheels out of an attempted takedown from his undefeated opponent but soon after absorbs a few more counter shots. An impressive start for Khizriev. 10-9 Khizriev

Round 2

Khizriev touches Weichel with a kick to the inside of his lower leg, dips out of danger and again counters effectively. Weichel presses the issue by moving forward but struggles to find the mark with anything meaningful. Khizriev circles on the outside, hunts for counters and pads his lead. He buckles Weichel with a left hook, fires the jab and trips him to the floor. Khizriev hovers above Weichel in the butt scoot position, slams kicks into his exposed legs and probes for openings until MacDonald restarts the action on the feet. The Khizriev jab is becoming more and more of a factor. Weichel needs to find a way to switch gears. Khizriev switches stances fluidly, keeps his experienced adversary guessing and piles up points with his educated hands. 10-9 Khizriev

Round 3

Weichel seems to need a finish entering the third round. Khizriev fires a beautiful left hook to the body, then goes upstairs in an exquisite sequence. Weichel changes levels and shoots for a potential takedown, but it goes nowhere. Khizriev connects with a chopping overhand right and works in open space. Weichel trips Khizriev to the mat and immediately advances to the back, consolidating those efforts with ground-and-pound. Khizriev dodges a rear-naked choke and an armbar before escaping back to his feet. His jab continues to torment Weichel. The resourceful Weichel takes flight unexpectedly and staggers Khizriev with a flying knee. With roughly 30 seconds left in the bout, he connects with a glancing front kick to Khizriev’s chin. Weichel pulled out all the stops but could not author the stoppage he needed. 10-9 Weichel (29-28 Khizriev)

The Official Result

Timur Khizriev def. Daniel Weichel—Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Bellator Lightweight Title Bout:
Patricky Freire (154) vs. Usman Nurmagomedov (154.8)

Round 1

Bellator 288 arrives at its co-main event, where Nurmagomedov (15-0, 4-0 Bellator) challenges Freire (24-10, 15-8 Bellator) for the company’s undisputed lightweight crown. MacDonald stays in the cage to officiate. Champion and challenger touch gloves, and the first of our two title fights is underway. Nurmagomedov works behind stomping side kicks to the thigh, throws in a spinning back kick to the body and then turns to more traditional techniques. Freire is having difficult getting out of the gate. Nurmagomedov continues to score with kicks to the leg and body, and though “Pitbull” unleashes his hands on occasion, the challenger is dictating the terms of this engagement. Fans boo what can only be described as lukewarm action. 10-9 Nurmagomedov

Round 2

Nurmagomedov picks up where he left off in the first round. He follows a thudding left hand into a takedown, surprising the champion. Nurmagomedov settles in half guard and chips away with short punches, hammerfists and elbows from the top. “Pitbull” shrimps toward the fence in a bid to get back to his feet, but Nurmagomedov’s crushing control prevents an escape. Ground-and-pound continues. Freire again tries to scramble free, only to eat a series of punches, elbows and forearm strikes. Nurmagomedov maneuvers behind the champion and hammers away with rapid-fire elbows until the bell sounds. 10-9 Nurmagomedov

Round 3

Needless to say, this has not gone well for Freire, who needs to alter the narrative in a hurry. Nurmagomedov shoots for a takedown, bails and returns to his kicks. He works in some side kicks to the body and leg, paws with his jab and maintains a steady pace. Freire looks flummoxed, as the crowd grows increasingly restless with the one-sided nature of the bout. “Pitbull” lands on occasion but too often does so with single strikes. 10-9 Nurmagomedov

Round 4

Nurmagomedov shoots on a single-leg, releases “Pitbull” and narrowly misses a head kick. Freire appears to be stuck in stop-and-stare mode, unable to crack the code being presented to him. Nurmagomedov expertly uses his legs to manage distance, counters the Brazilian whenever he moves in and continues to pile up points with kicks to all levels. Freire delivers a body kick to the ribs but fails to follow up with anything of consequence, allowing the challenger to stay in his comfort zone. The Brazilian’s frustration is building—and understandably so. Whatever adjustments he has attempted to make have gotten him nowhere. Unless he nets a finish in Round 5, we are about to see a changing of the guard at 155 pounds. 10-9 Nurmagomedov

Round 5

Freire knocks his opponent off-balance with a right hook inside the first 10 seconds, igniting some aggression withing the proud champion. Nurmagomedov doubles up on the jab, then transitions to a takedown. The man has all the answers to this point. Nurmagomedov applies his ground-and-pound in full guard, working punches to the body and head. He opens a significant cut with a slashing elbow to Freire’s face. The situation has gone from bad to downright dire for “Pitbull,” as blood gushes out of the wound. Freire gets back to his feet brief, only to be returned to the mat. Usman makes a move toward his back, then achieves full mount with roughly 90 seconds left in the match. Freire sweeps into top position, but Nurmagomedov scrambles to his feet and out of danger. With 30 seconds left, “Pitbull” does not want this to go to the scorecards. Nurmagomedov stays light on his feet, circles on the outside and ducks out of the way of two late left hooks from the champion. 10-9 Nurmagomedov (50-45 Nurmagomedov)

The Official Result

Usman Nurmagomedov def. Patricky Freire—Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-44)

Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Final:
Vadim Nemkov (203.8) vs. Corey Anderson (204.2)

Round 1

The fate of the 205-pound championship hangs in the balance—along with a $1 million prize for the winner of the Bellator light heavyweight grand prix—as Nemkov (14-2, 7-0 Bellator) rematches Anderson (16-5, 3-0) in the five-round headliner. Their first encounter on April 15 ended in a no contest due to an accidental clash of heads in the third round of their Bellator 277 pairing. Officiating duties fall upon Herzog. A respectful touch of gloves gets it started. Nemkov doubles up on his jab, resets and fires a right hand over the top before denying a takedown. The champion lands his right on the counter and staggers Anderson. Nemkov is sharp out of the gate. Anderson completes a takedown, but the Russian immediately gets back to his feet, negating his counterpart’s work. Nemkov connects with a jab, setting off a burst of punches from both men. Nemkov delivers a glancing wheel kick in the closing seconds and drops him to a seated position. 10-9 Nemkov

Round 2

His confidence growing, Nemkov rips power punches at the start of the second round, re-establishing his dominance. He wisely gets back to his jab and hides a right cross behind it. Nemkov stuff another takedown attempt from the onetime “Ultimate Fighter” winner. The champion continues to enjoy success with a jab-jab-cross combination, then turns away another attempted takedown from Anderson. A low blow from the challenger results in a brief pause to the action. Nemkov recovers quickly and gets back to business with a thumping jab and occasional kicks, offsetting whatever gains Anderson might be making with his forward pressure. 10-9 Nemkov

Round 3

More jabs from Nemkov greet Anderson at the start of Round 3. Anderson shoots for a takedown, then backs out with nothing to show for it. Nemkov doubles up on his jab, goes to the body, ducks under a left hook from Anderson and exits into open space. Nemkov denies another takedown. Blood now flowing from a cut above Anderson’s right eye—perhaps a byproduct of that persistent jab. Anderson looks increasingly desperate. Anderson counters with a jab of his own and shoots on the legs. Nemkov shrugs of the attempt takedown, feeds the Rockford, Illinois, native more jabs and slowly but surely builds his lead. It looks more and more like Anderson will need a finish as they head to the championship rounds. 10-9 Nemkov

Round 4

Anderson shoots for a long-distance takedown, and though it fails to yield the desired result, it opens up Nemkov for a sweeping left hook on the exit. The Russian continues to double up on his jab, sometimes following it with punches to the body and head. Nemkov knocks Anderson off-balance with a kick to the lower leg, then another and another. The champion follows a low leg kick with a jab. Nemkov, as has been case the entire fight, is throwing more and landing more when it matters most. Anderson backs up the Fedor Emelianenko with a right hook, leading to a clinch against the fence. Nemkov connects with another kick to the lead calf, and with 20 seconds to go in this round, it looks more and more like Anderson needs a miracle. 10-9 Nemkov

Round 5

Nemkov triples up on his jab and continues to target the lower lead leg with kicks. It is a simple but effective approach. Anderson shoots for a takedown, but it goes nowhere. Nemkov moves laterally on the outside, throws a knee and winds up clinched along the fence. Anderson gets double underhooks but cannot corral the champion. Nemkov retreats to the safety of the center of the cage, resets and goes back to chopping down Anderson’s base with kicks. Anderson is now limping on his lead leg, making the possibility of a Hail Mary finish even less likely. With a minute left, Nemkov throws out his jab and the occasional spinning attack, keeping Anderson at bay. Nemkov lands one final low kick for good measure. 10-9 Nemkov (50-45 Nemkov)

The Official Result

Vadim Nemkov def. Corey Anderson—Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
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