At Bellator 266, MMA fans received the unfortunate news that promotional newcomer and ex-UFC star Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was forced to step down from the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix due to a severe illness. After picking up a win in the opening round of the tournament, Johnson was set to face current champ, Vadim Nemkov, at Bellator 268. Now, tournament alternate Julius Anglickas will step in and challenge Nemkov for the title in the main event of Bellator 268. But, just who exactly is Julius Anglickas?
Julius Anglickas—The Lithuanian Nightmare
Julius Anglickas made his professional debut in 2016, fighting under the promotion Shamrock FC. There, Anglickas finished Eric Crittendon to earn his first professional victory. Anglickas would go on to lose his second pro fight to Cameron Olson—this bout would mark his first and only loss to date. Anglickas would fight for a third time in 2016, again under the Shamrock FC promotion, jumping back into the win column. The St. Charles MMA fighter would then step away from competition for several months due to injuries. Anglickas would then successfully compete in a pro boxing match before returning to MMA competition against Erick Murray at LFA 42. Anglickas would go on to submit Murray in the third round via rear-naked choke.
After successfully returning to action, Anglickas would next step into the Midwest Championship Fighting cage where he would square off against Bradan Erdman. In less than a round, Anglickas would find his second career submission victory, again via rear naked choke. In his next outing, Anglickas would headline his first ever card, sharing the cage with Rashid Abdullah at NFA-Twas the Fight Before Christmas. After suffering some early adversity, Anglickas would go on to score a first-round ground-and-pound finish.
At 5-1 professionally, Anglickas would return to action under the LFA banner at LFA 60, headlining his second ever card. Anglickas would go on to earn his third rear naked choke finish, submitting Clayton York in the second round to win the vacant LFA Light Heavyweight Championship. With the win, the Lithuanian fighter also earned a fight on Dana White’s Contender Series. Anglickas would go on to finish Karl Reed in the third round via submission. Despite the victory, Anglickas would fail to earn a UFC contract and become the first ever Lithuanian fighter in the UFC.
Jump to Bellator
Julius Anglickas would make his Bellator debut at Bellator 233 against Jordan Young, where he would go on to earn a clear-cut unanimous decision victory. This bout would mark the first time in his career that he would go to the judges’ scorecards. In his second fight with Bellator, Anglickas would square off with the now-#7 ranked light heavyweight Alex Polizzi. Again, Anglickas would go on to outpoint his adversary, earning his second ever unanimous decision victory.
At this point, Anglickas had solidified himself as a serious threat within the light heavyweight division. At Bellator 257, Anglickas would face Gregory Milliard. The 29-year old Anglickas would go on to earn his tenth professional victory, dominating Milliard throughout the fifteen minute contest.
Style and Threat to Nemkov
Julius Anglickas is a wrestler masked as a striker. With good cage sense and smart, measured pressure Anglickas is solid on the feet. His jab, combined with his straight, is a simple, quick, and powerful tool. His high guard and his ability to absorb minimal strikes, makes him rather formidable.
Considering this, if Anglickas senses a takedown is available, he will shoot. His high percentage shots more than likely earn him a dominant ground position, and if not, his ability out muscle his opponents will certainly give him that position. His ground and pound is nasty and his top pressure slowly but surely breaks his opponents down.
So, how will Anglickas measure up to Nemkov? Hard to say. Nemkov is such a technical striker. He has incredible power and has the fight IQ to out-strike his opponents. Nemkov’s wrestling is just as impressive, having outwrestled the likes of Phil Davis. In terms of level of competition, Nemkov has fought mountains, where Anglickas has fought hills. Certainly, Nemkov will be Anglickas’ toughest opponent to date.
What do you think? Will Julius Anglickas pull off a stunning upset over Vadim Nemkov?
Embed from Getty Images