WINTRUST ARENA-CHICAGO, ILLINOIS-Bellator MMA makes it return to the Windy City after more than three years with Bellator 288: Nemkov vs Anderson 2. The Scott Coker led promotion was to host Bellator 244 in Chicago in June of 2020, but the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bellator 288 will feature two title fights. In the co-main event, lightweight champion Patricky Pitbull will look to defend his 155-lb. strap for the first time against undefeated #1 contender Usman Nurmagomedov. In the main event, bad blood, unresolved questions, and $1 million, will culminate in a light heavyweight championship rematch between current champion, Vadim Nemkov and his opponent, Corey Anderson.
Bad Blood to be Settled in the Main Event, Throne at 155 Up for Grabs at Bellator 288
𝑺𝒆𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑺𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒆 💰
Will it be the champ Vadim Nemkov or challenger @CoreyA_MMA taking home the $1,000,000 #BellatorLHWGP prize?#Bellator288 | 🗓 Friday at 9pm ET | 📺 @SHOSports pic.twitter.com/467Eunmu6x
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 17, 2022
At Bellator 277, Corey Anderson met Vadim Nemkov in the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Final. What was up for grabs?¬—the light heavyweight championship and a check for one million dollars. After an impressive start from “Overtime” Anderson, the massive light heavyweight main event was cut short when an accidental clash of heads rendered Vadim Nemkov unable to continue. The fight was ruled a no contest, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of an impressive-looking Anderson and fight fans around the world.
The official rule is a No Contest after an accidental clash of heads. #AndStill Light-Heavyweight Champion, Vadim Nemkov.
As it stands, there is no winner in the #BellatorLHWGP.#Bellator277 is LIVE on @SHOsports. pic.twitter.com/CGeIDsaqza
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) April 16, 2022
Since their fight in April, neither man has stepped back into the Bellator cage. With so much on the line, hometown favorite Corey Anderson has opened up as the betting underdog at -235 for today’s showdown (Odds: FanduelSportsbook).
Nurmagomedov Looks to Play Spoiler in Pitbull’s 1st Title Defense
Who leaves ℂ𝕙𝕚-𝕋𝕠𝕨𝕟 with the gold?
Lightweight Champ @PatrickyPitbull defends against @Usmannmgdv 𝙏𝙊𝙈𝙊𝙍𝙍𝙊𝙒.#Bellator288 | 🗓 Friday at 9pm ET | 📺 @SHOSports pic.twitter.com/JkWJixHhRh
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 17, 2022
Nothing came sweeter for Patricky Pibull in his career that his main event matchup against Peter Queally at Bellator 270. This fight would serve as an immediate rematch for the pair of lightweights as Peter Queally finished Pitbull at Bellator 258. However, this fight would see the added weight of an unclaimed title on the line. Patricky’s brother, Patricio Pitbull, vacated the lightweight title a month earlier and Scott Coker would announce that their main event rematch would be for the lightweight title.
Patricky would go on to finish Queally in the main event, securing redemption and the lightweight title. Pitbull was set to defend his title for the first time against Sidney Outlaw at Bellator 283 but had to pull out due to injury.
Pitbull’s opponent, Usman Nurmagomedov, has been red hot since his debut to Bellator at Bellator 255. Scoring three first-round finishes in his four fights with the promotion, Nurmagomedov soared to the #1 contender spot.
The Rest of the Card
Longtime fan-favorite Daniel Weichel will meet undefeated prospect and Bellator newcomer Timur Khizriev. Tyrell Fortune will look to make it two in a row against Daniel James at heavyweight and Roman Faraldo will open up the main card against Levan Chokheli in a welterweight matchup. Every single competitor made weight yesterday, making tonight’s card official.
Bellator 288 Results:
Main Card (Showtime-9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. CT)
Vadim Nemkov defeats Corey Anderson via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) to retain the Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship
Usman Nurmagomedov defeats Patricky Pitbull via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-44) to become the new Bellator Lightweight Champion
Timur Khizriev defeats Daniel Weichel via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Daniel James defeats Tyrell Fortune via TKO (Strikes) at 0:33 of Round Two
Levan Chokheli defeats Roman Faraldo via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28,29-28)
Preliminary Card (Bellator MMA YouTube/Showtime Sports YouTube/Pluto TV- 6 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. CT)
Imamshafi Aliev defeats Sean Fallon via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 3:20 of Round 1
Killys Mota defeats Jairo Pachecho via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Archie Colgan defeats Jesse Hannam via TKO (Strikes) at 0:50 of Round 1
Sullivan Cauley defeats Jay Radick via KO (Strikes) at 1:01 of Round 1
Jordan Newman defeats Jayden Taulker via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:20 of Round 2
Laird Anderson defeats Rob Fenicle via TKO (Grounded Strikes) at 2:28 of Round 2
Isaiah Hokit defeats Matias Nader via TKO (Punches) at 3:48 of Round 2
Wladmir Gouvea defeats Kory Moegenburg via TKO (Strikes) at 1:46 of Round 2