The co-main event for Bellator 277 features the finale of the light heavyweight grand prix, as Vadim Nemkov looks to defend his title against the oncoming Corey Anderson.
A fighter who has seemingly figured out how to stoke his own fire, Anderson brings a suffocating pressure that is palpable through many facets of his game.
Finding a balance between sticking and moving, Anderson achieves his desired cooking temperatures through a high-output approach of striking volume and transitional takedown threats. Using this rinse-wash-and-repeat method, Anderson will steadily tenderize his opposition without letting off the gas.
Even though Anderson’s striking volume has won him many rounds in the cage, his transition game is what ultimately glues everything together. Similar to his stablemate, Frankie Edgar, Anderson mixes in volume and variety to keep his opposition behind the 8-ball.
However, despite Anderson displaying much meaner offensive wherewithal to go along with better head movement and overall boxing technique, he still opens himself up to undesirable traffic due to the nature of the numbers he puts up. For that reason, Anderson will have to respect what’s coming back at him this Saturday.
Despite coming from a strong base in combat sambo, Nemkov offers a lot more than the casting punches that are typically associated with stylists from his side of the world.
Unlike his mentor, Fedor Emelianenko, Nemkov utilizes a lot more jabs and straight punches in his repertoire – though he is not beyond unleashing power shots from the rear once establishing his timing and rhythm. Taking a more Western boxing approach has also seemed to allow Nemkov to have a lot more level-changing opportunities in the takedown department.
When feeling in stride, the Stary Oskol product will continue to break regional stereotypes by attaching hard, Thai-style leg kicks to his combos and advances (something that I think will serve him well in this fight).
Although Nemkov historically reserves most of his damaging efforts for shots from the rear, the 29-year-old has gotten better at offering the more traditional competencies off of the lead side that a lot of Russian and Eastern European kickboxers show.
Nemkov has also been mixing in more shifting combinations into his attacks, but may think twice before getting too aggressive opposite a takedown threat like Anderson.