Corey Anderson will square off against Karl Moore to crown a new Bellator light heavyweight champion. The bout will headline a March 22 event that is expected to take place in Belfast, Ireland. This will be Bellator’s first fight card held after the promotion was purchased by rival PFL. No details on the venue or broadcast have been announced yet.
The former, longtime champion, Vadim Nemkov, vacated the belt to make his move to the heavyweight division. Nemkov dethroned then two-division champion Ryan Bader at Bellator 244 on August 21, 2020. Since becoming the champion he defended the belt for a record-setting 5 times. He entered the 2022 Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament as a champion and each of his fights was a title affair.
In the quarterfinals, he was awarded a unanimous decision win over Phil Davis. In the semifinals, he submitted Julius Anglickas with a kimura. At Bellator 277 he met Corey Anderson in the finals. The bout ended with a no-contest due to an accidental head clash. It was rescheduled for Bellator 288. This time Nemkov took a unanimous decision win over Anderson, defended the belt, and won the entire tournament. He successfully defended the belt for the last time against Yoel Romero at Bellator 297. On January 17th Nemkov declared that he vacated the title and moved up to the heavyweight division.
To fill the void Corey Anderson will now face Karl Moore.
Corey Anderson, who holds a 17 – 6 MMA record. He’s the winner of the 19th season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. He fought in the UFC from 2014 to 2020 and stacked up a 10 – 3 balance in the promotion. After his devastating knockout loss to Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 167 Anderson was released by the UFC. He quickly signed with Bellator and made his debut against Melvin Manhoef. After stopping the Dutch fighter in the second round he entered the same Light Heavyweight tourney as Nemkov did. Anderson TKO’d both Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov and Ryan Bader on his way to the finals. After an unsuccessful attempt to dethrone Nemkov, he bounced back by besting Phil Davis at Bellator 297.
Karl Moore will fight in front of his hometown crowd. The Irish fighter sports a 12 – 2 MMA record. His biggest achievement yet is capturing the Cage Warriors vacant Light Heavyweight Championship by defeating Josh Clark at the Cage Warriors 81. However, he lost the belt in his first defense against Mauro Cerilli at Cage Warriors 92. Since then he switched his attention to Bellator, where he’s unbeaten as he won all of his four fights in the promotion.
The bout was first reported by Ariel Helwani. The same person confirmed it again to the MMA Junkie.
Corey Anderson x Karl Moore for the vacant Bellator light heavyweight title is scheduled to headline the first Bellator event of the new era on March 22 in Belfast, per sources.
That is the only title fight currently slated for the card.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 30, 2024
During the PFL vs. Bellator: Champs press conference, the PFL’s CEO, Peter Murray announced the new Bellator Champions series. Each fight card will be based around a Bellator title defense with events taking place around the world, including the United States and Europe. Additionally, the PFL vs. Bellator head-to-head fight card will be an annual affair with Bellator fighters also entering the PFL Global season participants pool.