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Bellator MMA is coming back strong with its event towards the end of August.
Via press release, the promotion released its card lineup for Bellator 244 on Friday, which will take place on Aug. 21 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event will be headlined by the long-awaited return to light heavyweight for two-division champ Ryan Bader (27-5, 1 NC) as he comes to blows with Vadim Nemkov (11-2). Drawing the co-headlining assignment is former featherweight queen Julia Budd (13-3) against the surging Jessy Miele (9-3). The lineup has not been completed, but Bellator announced or confirmed nine fights in total.
Bader will be taking a trip back down to 205 pounds for the first time since November 2017, when he defended his light heavyweight crown against Linton Vassell at Bellator 186. Following that defense, Bader entered the heavyweight tournament, winning it all with knockouts of Muhammad Lawal and Fedor Emelianenko, along with a decision against Matt Mitrione. The first defense of his heavyweight title was to come against Cheick Kongo, but an eye poke forced an end to the fight in a no contest. “Darth Bader” was originally booked against Nemkov in May, but Bellator cards were all postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The streaking Nemkov has yet to taste defeat in the Bellator cage, winning four including three by stoppage. Each of those wins came over former Bellator or Professional Fighters League champs, taking out Philipe Lins, Liam McGeary, Phil Davis and Rafael Carvalho in succession to earn a crack at the 205-pound throne. Nemkov’s lone two defeats came in Rizin Fighting Federation in Japan, and the Russian has rattled off six wins since hist most recent setback.
Rounding out the main card for the time being is a heavyweight rumble between Roy Nelson (23-18) and Valentin Moldavsky (9-1). On the preliminary portion of the event, John Salter (17-4) takes on Andrew Kapel (15-6) at middleweight, while Adam Piccolotti (12-3) squares off with Sidney Outlaw (14-4) in the lightweight division. Opening the prelims is co-headliner Budd’s stepson Lance Gibson Jr. (3-0), who faces the far more experienced Shane Kruchten (12-5) at lightweight.
Bellator 244 Card Lineup:Ryan Bader vs. Vadim Nemkov – light heavyweight championship
Julia Budd vs. Jessy Miele – featherweight
Roy Nelson vs. Valentin Moldavsky – heavyweight
John Salter vs. Andrew Kapel – middleweight
Adam Piccolotti vs. Sidney Outlaw – lightweight
Erik Perez vs. Josh Hill – bantamweight
Lucas Brennan vs. Will Smith – featherweight
Vladimir Tokov vs. Christopher Gonzalez – lightweight
Lance Gibson Jr. vs. Shane Kruchten – lightweight