Bellator holds its only event of November on Friday, November 18, at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL. That fight card, Bellator 288, is headlined by two title fights.
Vadim Nemkov faces Corey Anderson for the Bellator light heavyweight crown in the main event. The first meeting between these two took place in April. The matchup was the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Final. Neither fighter had their hand raised in victory. The light heavyweight scrap ended in a no contest after an accidental clash of heads opened a cut above Nemkov’s eye that left him unable to continue. With that, Nemkov retained the Bellator light heavyweight crown.
In the evening’s co-main event, Bellator lightweight champion Patricky Pitbull puts his 155-pound title on the line against Usman Nurmagomedov. Pitbull last fought in November 2021, winning the vacant title with a TKO victory over Peter Queally. Nurmagomedov is coming off a July first-round submission win over Chris Gonzalez.
Also on the main card, former Bellator featherweight title challenger Daniel Weichel faces Timur Khizriev, heavyweight Tyrell Fortune meets Daniel James.
Will Corey Anderson's honesty pay off in his rematch with Vadim Nemkov for the Bellator light heavyweight title?
Corey Anderson (16-5-0-1) could have kept silent. Had he done so, he would have walked away from his April matchup opposite Vadim Nemkov (15-2-0-1) with $1 million and the Bellator light heavyweight title. However, Anderson spoke up and that’s why the fight ended in a no contest.
A clash of heads in the third round of that matchup opened a cut on Nemkov’s head. The referee missed it. Anderson told the ref the cause f the damage and with five seconds left in the contest the doctor called the fight. With that, Anderson watched the ring girls walk the $1 million check he would have won down the steps and away from the cage.
Nemkov is the better striker of the two, but Anderson has the advantage in wrestling and on the ground. With this being a five-round fight, Anderson has the advantage. He knows what to expect from Nemkov’s striking and that he can get his foe to the mat and keep him there. I expect Anderson will be more aggressive with his wrestling in the rematch and I believe the odds are good that he will use those skills and his nasty ground strikes to break his foe late in the fight. With that, the best bet is for Anderson to win via stoppage in the second half of the light heavyweight title fight.
OSB Prediction: Corey Anderson (-240)
Can Patricky Pitbull defend his Bellator lightweight title against Usman Nurmagomedov?
The 36-year-old Patricky Pitbull fell short in his bid to win the Bellator lightweight title in June 2016 when Michael Chandler knocked him out. However, after a run of seven wins and two losses, he captured the belt in 2021 with a TKO win over Peter Queally. Now, with a 24-10 career record, the longtime Bellator competitor puts his title on the line against the unbeaten cousin of former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, the (15-0) Usman Nurmagomedov.
The 24-year-old Nurmagomedov has yet to face a ranked opponent, but don’t let that inexperience or his young age fool you, he will be ready for this fight and he has the skills to win.
Pitbull is a power striker, but he can leave himself open when throwing his strikes. His aggression will work against him in this fight. Nurmagomedov is very good at managing distance and has a better mix of striking targets and the advantage if the fight goes to the mat. The best bet in this matchup is for Nurmagomedov to submit a gassed Pitbull in the fight's second half.
OSB Prediction: Usman Nurmagomedov (-400)
Will the debuting Timur Khizriev make a statement against ranked Daniel Weichel?
Timur Khizriev has the opportunity to make a statement at Bellator 288. The 26-year-old makes his debut with the promotion with a 10-0 record. The promotion puts him to the test right out of the gate, matching him up against former Bellator featherweight title challenger Daniel Weichel. The 37-year-old Weichel has a 42-13 record and is ranked at No. 7 in the official Bellator 145-pound rankings.
Weichel had a great run between 2009 and 2017, putting together a 21-3 record, but time has caught up with him. Weichel is 3-4 dating back to 2018. While his losses during that span have come to some of the better Bellator fighters, his wins haven’t been against the top of the division. He is coming off a May TKO win over the unranked Rob Whiteford.
I expect a somewhat cautious approach from the debuting fighter, but the best bet in this contest is Timur Khizriev to win via decision.
OSB Prediction: Timur Khizriev (-280)
Will Tyrell Fortune continue his climb when he faces Daniel James?
A much-hyped prospect when he signed with Bellator, former college wrestler Tyrell Fortune has watched that hype slowly fall away with two losses since 2020. However, the 32-year-old is currently the No. 5 ranked fighter in Bellator’s heavyweight division and this fight seems designed to boost his confidence and exposure. Fortune faces the 40-year-old Daniel James at Bellator 288. James has not fought for Bellator since his pro debut in 2014.
The best bet in his heavyweight scrap is for Fortune to walk away with a knockout victory.
OSB Prediction: Tyrell Fortune (-300)
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