LOS ANGELES — Chicago, Ill., hosted an eventful night of BELLATOR MMA action this past weekend, headlined by two star-studded title fights that saw BELLATOR Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov (16-2) retain his title and conclude the $1,000,000 BELLATOR Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix against Corey “Overtime” Anderson (16-6). In the co-main event, fellow Russian Usman Nurmagomedov (16-0) became the first Dagestani champion in BELLATOR history with his dominant, lightweight title-clinching victory over Patricky Pitbull (24-11).
Nemkov’s flawless unanimous decision win saw him retain his No. 2 place in the BELLATOR men’s pound-for-pound rankings, and Anderson likewise held on to his spot as the No. 1-ranked light heavyweight contender in the loss.
Nurmagomedov’s historic championship victory vaulted him to No. 8 in his pound-for-pound rankings debut. With the defeat, Pitbull fell to No. 1 in the lightweight rankings. BELLATOR 288 title alternate, Tofiq Musayev (20-4), climbed to No. 2 in the updated rankings for the division. Additional movement in the weight class saw Benson “Smooth” Henderson (30-11) drop to No. 3, Alexander “Peresvet” Shabliy (22-3) move up to No. 4, and Sidney Outlaw (16-5) fall to No. 5.
Elsewhere in the men’s pound-for-pound rankings, BELLATOR Middleweight Champion Johnny “The Human Cheat Code” Eblen (12-0) climbed one spot to No. 6, while BELLATOR Bantamweight Champion Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis (22-5) jumped two slots to No. 7. Former middleweight titlist Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi (49-8-2) fell three spots in the updated rankings to No. 9.
After his thrilling main card clash with “Vicious” Roman Faraldo (8-1), Georgia’s Levan Chokheli (11-2, 1 NC) stole Faraldo’s place in the welterweight rankings and now sits at No. 10 in the division.
Fellow main card winner and Chicago’s hometown hero, heavyweight Daniel “The American Predator” James (14-6-1), debuted in the division’s rankings at No. 8 following his sensational, come-from-behind knockout victory over Tyrell Fortune (12-3). The defeat saw Fortune drop four spots to No. 9. “Tall” Steve Mowry (10-0, 1 NC), Tim Johnson (15-9), and Marcelo Golm (10-3) all moved up one place in the rankings at heavyweight, while Gokhan Saricam (8-1) fell one slot to No. 10.
Rounding out the movement caused by the eventful BELLATOR 288 main card was the promotional debut of Timur “Imam” Khizriev (12-0), who debuted at No. 8 in the featherweight rankings with his decision win over BELLATOR veteran Daniel “Drake” Weichel (42-14). Justin “J-Train” Gonzales advanced to No. 7 in the division, while Weichel fell two spots to No. 9.
The final change came from preliminary card victor Sullivan “Sully” Cauley (5-0), who scored yet another first-round knockout to keep his perfect record intact against Jay Radick (3-1). The win saw him move up to No. 9 in the light heavyweight division, knocking Karl Moore (10-2) to No. 10.
BELLTOR MMA will next visit Mohegan Sun Arena for the can’t-miss BELLATOR 289: Bantamweight World Grand Prix Semifinals fight card on December 9, which features the two $1,000,000 Grand Prix semi-finals matchups featuring Raufeon Stots (18-1) vs. Danny Sabatello (13-1) and Patchy Mix (16-1) vs. Magomed Magomedov (19-2) and a flyweight championship rematch between titlist Liz Carmouche (17-7) and Brazil’s Juliana Velasquez (12-1).
The four-fight main card of BELLATOR 289: Bantamweight World Grand Prix Semifinals airs LIVE on SHOWTIME beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
The preliminary portion of BELLATOR 289 is stacked emerging contenders, including No. 3 flyweight Denise Kielholtz (6-4) and wrestling star Pat Downey III (1-0), and it can be seen in full on the BELLATOR MMA YouTube Channel, Showtime Sports YouTube Channel, and Pluto TV beginning at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased online at Bellator.com.
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Updated schedule of BELLATOR events - click links for updated fight cards
Fri. Dec. 9 // BELLATOR 289: Stots vs. Sabatello // Mohegan Sun Arena //Uncasville, Conn.
Sat. Dec. 31 // BELLATOR MMA vs. RIZIN FF // Saitama Super Arena // Saitama, Japan
Sat. Feb. 4 // BELLATOR 290: Bader vs. Fedor 2 // Kia Forum // Inglewood, Calif.
Sat. Feb. 25 // BELLATOR 291: Amosov vs. Storley 2 // 3Arena // Dublin, Ireland
BELLATOR MMA is a leading global mixed martial arts organization featuring many of the best fighters in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, BELLATOR events take place in major cities worldwide and can be seen on television in over 160 countries to an available audience of over one billion people. In the United States, BELLATOR can be seen on SHOWTIME. BELLATOR is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity, and commission relations. BELLATOR is based in Hollywood, Calif. and owned by entertainment giant Paramount, home to the world's premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.
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