Ryan Bader To Defend Bellator Light Heavyweight Title Against Vadim Nemkov In May

Ryan Bader is headed back to the Bellator light heavyweight division.

Six fights in, and already arguably one of the greatest fighters in Bellator history, it was announced Saturday night that double champion Ryan Bader would defend against Vadim Nemkov. Their battle takes place Saturday, May 9 from the SAP Center in San Jose.

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The title hasn't been defended in over two years, as Bader sought, captured and defended the Bellator Heavyweight title.

Bellator MMA sent Fightful.com the following:

On Saturday, May 9, SAP Center at San Jose will host Bellator with an event headlined by a light heavyweight world championship bout featuring two-division Bellator champion Ryan Bader (27-5, 1 NC) defending his 205-pound title against Russia’s Vadim Nemkov (11-2).

Bellator San Jose: Bader vs. Nemkov airs on Paramount Network and DAZN on Saturday, May 9 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Preliminary action will stream on DAZN, Bellator.com and globally on the Bellator Mobile App. Additional bouts will be announced in coming weeks.

Tickets for Bellator San Jose: Bader vs. Nemkov are available early through an exclusive Bellator Nation pre-sale beginning Wednesday, Feb. 12 through Thursday, Feb. 13. Tickets will go on sale to the general public Friday, Feb. 14. Tickets can be purchased at the LexisNexis Risk Solutions Ticket Office at SAP Center, through Ticketmaster and Bellator.com.

A winner of seven out of his last eight fights at both heavyweight and light heavyweight, Bellator’s two-division champion Ryan Bader will make his first light heavyweight title defense since defeating “King Mo” Lawal, Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko en route to winning Bellator’s 2018 Heavyweight World Grand Prix and becoming world heavyweight champ. Fighting out of Chandler, Ariz., the former two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler from Arizona State University began his professional career by winning season eight of The Ultimate Fighter. “Darth” continued his path of dominance by collecting victories over some of the 205-pound division’s top talent, including wins over former world champions “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans, Phil Davis (x2) and Rafael “Feijão” Cavalcante, as well as Ovince Saint Preux and Vinny Magalhães, before signing with Bellator in 2017.

Vadim Nemkov, who is undefeated over his last six fights and a perfect 4-0 in Bellator since signing in 2017, will come into his first-ever title shot in MMA fresh off a submission win against former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho. With the victory, Nemkov has unequivocally defeated some of the best athletes Bellator has to offer, including three former champions in Carvalho, Phil Davis and Liam McGeary. A three-time Russian national sambo champion, Nemkov trains alongside Fedor Emelianenko in Stary Oskol, Russia.

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