Phil Davis says Vadim Nemkov is toughest opponent in Bellator Grand Prix

Former Bellator light heavyweight champion and no. 2 ranked Bellator light heavyweight Phil Davis spoke with the media ahead of his main event bout at Bellator 257 against reigning champion Vadim Nemkov for the light heavyweight belt.

The main event will also serve as one of the quarterfinal bouts for the Bellator light heavyweight grand prix.

Along with this fight being for the light heavyweight championship in addition to carrying implications for the light heavyweight grand prix, this will also be Nemkov and Davis’ second time competing against one another.

The first time they fought was in 2018 when Nemkov took a split decision victory over Davis in Tel Aviv, Israel.

While Davis would have to defeat two more opponents if he beats Nemkov at Bellator 257, “Mr. Wonderful” believes his toughest opponent in this grand prix is the foe currently in front of him.

“Honestly it’s sort of cliche but I wanna say Nemkov. I think he’s the champion for a reason. He’s a tough cat and he’s the guy to beat,” Davis said. “I want to have the light heavyweight belt. Then after that, clean up the rest of the tournament.”

Davis said he does not know what to expect in his rematch with Nemkov, but the former Bellator light heavyweight champion guaranteed fireworks.

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“It is gonna be crazy, I promise you that. Right now I know Nemkov– you know when you skate by with a win,” Davis said in reference to their first fight. “This time he’s coming to make a statement that he’s the rightful champion, and I am coming to say ‘No you not’, and so it’s definitely gonna be a very aggressive and exciting fight.”

“Mr. Wonderful” then reflected on his loss to Nemkov and expanded on how a victory would provide Davis with an element of poetic justice.

“I never wish I would lose,” Davis said. “But at the same time I do feel like it adds a little bit more theatrics to this moment and how sweet it will be to win the belt back from a very close decision in such an amazing light heavyweight tournament.”    

With a victory over Nemkov, Bellator’s no. 8 ranked men’s pound-for-pound fighter would face the winner of Anthony Johnson and Yoel Romero in the semi-finals of the grand prix.