The “Windy City” has two big-time championship fights coming its way this fall.
On Monday, it was revealed Bellator 288 will be headlined by Vadim Nemkov defending his light heavyweight title against Corey Anderson and co-headlined by Patricky Freire putting his lightweight title on the line against Usman Nurmagomedov. Bellator officials announced the bouts Monday following an initial report from “The MMA Hour.”
Bellator 288 takes place Nov. 18 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, with a main card that airs on Showtime following prelims streamed on MMA Junkie.
Nemkov (15-2 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) and Anderson (16-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) faced each other in the light heavyweight grand prix final this past April at Bellator 277. The result of the bout was a no contest after an accidental clash of heads caused a cut to Nemkov, which prompted a stop to the fight. Now, the pair are set to run it back once again for the title.
Nemkov, 30, entered the Bellator 277 bout against Anderson on a nine-fight win streak that stretches back to 2016.
After defeating Ryan Bader to claim the light heavyweight title at Bellator 244, Nemkov defeated Phil Davis and Julius Anglickas, retaining his title while reaching the finals of the grand prix.
Anderson, 32, reached the finals on the heels of a three-fight win streak. He racked up two TKO finishes over Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov and Ryan Bader, leading to his showdown against Nemkov that resulted in a no contest.
Freire, 36, will have to deal with undefeated Nurmagomedov for his first title defense. Freire (24-10 MMA, 15-8 BMMA) won the vacant lightweight title last November when he knocked out Peter Queally in the second right at Bellator 270.
Nurmagomedov, 24, is the younger cousin and pupil to UFC Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov. Usman is 15-0 as a professional fighter, including 4-0 in Bellator with a decision win over Mike Hamel and finishes against Manny Muro, Patrik Pietila, and most recently Chris Gonzalez this past July.
The current Bellator 288 lineup includes:
Champ Vadim Nemkov vs. Corey Anderson – for light heavyweight title
Champ Patricky Freire vs. Usman Nurmagomedov – for lightweight title
Khasan Askhabov vs. Otto Rodrigues