Here's why Vadim Nemkov vacated the Bellator light heavyweight title

Vadim Nemkov doesn't hold the Bellator light heavyweight title anymore.
Vadim Nemkov
Vadim Nemkov / Bellator

Vadim Nemkov is no longer the Bellator light heavyweight champion, according to promotion officials who revealed the news to MMA Junkie on Jan. 17.

Nemkov had previously voiced his desire to move up in weight, so the news isn't entirely unexpected. It's even more unsurprising when on Jan. 16, the PFL announced the champion vs. champion fight card and Nemkov was not on it.

“I’m getting older and every fight is getting harder for me to cut weight,” Nemkov told MMA Junkie in August 2023. “Let’s say that before I felt comfortable when I was training at 103kg (227lbs). Now, I feel even more comfortable at 106-108kg (233-238lbs). When I train right now, it’s 103kg. I feel less strong and dangerous. It’s not the same as I am at 106-108kg. … It’s a new challenge for me. I’ve done everything I can at light heavyweight. Now, it’s a new challenge to go up in weight and get another title. At 205, I don’t see anything new for me.”

The PFL, who now owns Bellator, announced a 185-pound fight between Bellator champion Johnny Eblen and PFL light heavyweight champion Impa Kasangany for Feb. 24 in Saudi Arabia.

Nemkov won the light heavyweight title when he defeated Ryan Bader in Aug. 2020. He defended the title through the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix defeating Phil Davis, Julius Anglickas, Corey Anderson and Yoel Romero.

Its unclear when he might make his heavyweight debut.


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