This Friday night, Bellator holds 13 fights on their third event in three successive weeks. The Bellator 257 main card holds four bouts while we see nine quality fights on the prelims. The main event sees Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov defend his belt against Phil Davis in the division’s grand prix quarter final. The Bellator 257 Main Card brings us three other bouts, which you do NOT want to miss out on.
Bellator 257 Main Card Preview
Co-Main Event – Light Heavyweight Quarter-Final: Corey Anderson vs Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov
Corey “Overtime” Anderson (14-5, 1-0 BMMA) makes his walk at Bellator for the second time. His debut performance was a dominant display over Melvin Manhoef. A brutal first-round was matched with the same brutality in the second, with the referee stopping the fight after numerous elbows from Anderson.
The American started his MMA career in 2013, with three wins and two knockouts in his first three professional fights. He signed up for The Ultimate Fighter Season 19 in the same year and the rest was history. Three decision wins seen him come against Matt Van Buren in the finale. One minute and one second into the fight and it was all over. Anderson knocked Van Buren out to become the champion and earn himself a UFC contract.
Five months later, Anderson faced Justin Jones at UFC 181. Three rounds were dominated by Anderson winning by a unanimous decision. His first loss came in his next bout against Gian Villante, who he was originally meant to fight instead of Jones. Solid right hooks from Villante sent Anderson dizzy, which led to him being knocked out for the first time and losing his undefeated record.
In his first matchup against Jan Blachowicz, Anderson completely ripped the current UFC light heavyweight champion apart. Two judges even scored the bout 30-25 to Anderson. He went on to win two more bouts before losing on a split decision to Mauricio Rua.
A win over Sean O’Connell was dampened in his following two fights being knocked out to a single left jab from Jimi Manuwa and a head-kick from Ovince St.Preux. 2018 was a new year and a new Corey. He fought three times and he showed all the abilities he had in his locker. In all three fights, he was victorious on a unanimous decision against the likes of Patrick Cummins, Glover Teixeira, and Ilir Latifi.
He earned himself a title eliminator fight in a rematch against Blachowicz, after a stunning performance against Johnny Walker at UFC 244. Two minutes of swinging right hooks at Walker’s face was enough for the referee to stop it. Anderson screamed in the face of Walker, relishing his victory.
The title eliminator fight sent Anderson on his journey to Bellator. He worked so hard to bounce back from defeats, but this time around Blachowicz came out on top. Both fighters were a different breed compared to what they were in the first fight. Blachowicz caught Anderson with a few lefts, until Corey walked straight into a right-hook which dropped him to the canvas. One hammer fist was enough to finish him off.
Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5-1, 0-0 BMMA) steps into the light heavyweight grand-prix to make his promotional debut on the Bellator 257 main card. Yagshimuradov originates from Turkmenistan but fought several of his early fights in Ukrainian promotions. He drew his first bout against Rudolf Kříž before losing his second to Vasily Babich via an inverted triangle choke.
After his first eight fights, he held a record of 4-3-1. In the year of 2013, he fought in an incredible nine bouts, and went on a five-fight win-streak in the Ukrainian promotion Oplot Challenge, knocking out four of his opponents in the hot streak. His streak was ended by a familiar face Magomed Ankalaev, who went 3-0 after the win on a unanimous decision. He made the move to Russian promotion Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) in 2017, which really kick-started his career.
A promotional debut knockout is what every fighter wants. A hard-hitting knee knocked Dan Konecke to the ground, which led to the finish from Yagshimuradov. He followed his first fight in style, by finishing his next three opponents which led to a title fight in ACB.
Undefeated ACB Light Heavyweight Champion at the time Batraz Agnaev was Yagshimuradov’s next challenge. He took this step up with ease, wobbling Agnaev with a powerful right-hook in the second-round. He took him to the ground and finished it there with a rear-naked choke to become champion.
He retained his title twice in 2019 with wins over Karol Celiński and Alexey Butorin to improve his impressive run of eight wins on the bounce. With no fight in his last 15 months, rust could play a part for Yagshimuradov, but we know how much he loves to compete. The four-inch height difference could also play an issue, with Anderson the taller man at 6ft 3in.
Yagshimuradov loves to take his opponent down and hammer them, which is exactly the same case with Anderson. It’s going to be interesting to see if Yagshimuradov can possibly take Anderson down, or will they both stay on the feet in a potential brawl on the Bellator 257 main card.
Welterweight Bout: Paul Daley vs Sabah Homasi
Paul “Semtex” Daley (42-17-2, 8-4 BMMA) has competed in the MMA game since 2003. On the Bellator 257 main card, he will be competing in his 62nd professional bout.
Daley spent his time in between MMA and kickboxing early in his career. After three fights, he’d already lost two. Daley competed in Strikeforce for the first time in 2007, knocking out Duane Ludwig 42 seconds into the second round. His best streak of six wins came in this era, before being submitted with an armbar to Jake Shields.
The Englishman has bounced around promotions but made his UFC debut at UFC 103 in 2009 against Martin Kampmann. In his 32nd fight, he knocked out Kampmann after 2:31 in the first round. His following fight ended in the same result, only seven seconds quicker against Dustin Hazelett.
He lost his first fight in the promotion to Josh Koscheck on a unanimous decision, which led to him mixing around the promotions again. Former American promotion Shark Fights seen Daley entertain Jorge Masvidal in 2010. A dominant performance saw Daley win on a unanimous decision.
In the following year, Daley competed in one of the greatest first-rounds the sport has ever seen against Nick Diaz. A knockdown inside four seconds with Diaz hitting the canvas, nearly seen the fight ended with Daley going all out for the knockout.
Daley knocked down Diaz again, and he was displaying the hammer fists but the referee didn’t stop it. With 40 seconds left Daley welcomed Diaz to the feet, and how he must regret that decision. Diaz caught Daley with a right then a left and Daley lost his balance. This escalated in Diaz pouncing on him to finish the fight with three seconds left in the first-round.
His Bellator debut was in 2015, where he beat André Santos on a unanimous decision. Daley also fought and won a kickboxing bout against Fernando Gonzalez at Bellator 142. In a three-fight win-streak in the promotion, he was set up with a headline event against Douglas Lima. Daley was handed his first loss in the promotion at the hands of Lima, who won on a unanimous decision.
His next five fights didn’t go down so well losing three of those. Firstly being submitted to Rory MacDonald, as well as close contests with Michael “Venom” Page and Jon Fitch. Although, he did come away with one of the most beautiful flying knees against Brennan Ward. Two wins over Erick Silva and Saad Awad has put Daley on a two-fight win-streak coming into the fight on Friday.
Sabah “The Sleek Sheik” Homasi (15-8, 4-2 BMMA) looks to continue his streak of three wins in his return to the promotion with one of his toughest tests to date on the Bellator 257 main card. Homasi was victorious in his first two professional bouts, but he was finished in his following two. One of those losses came at Bellator 21 against Frank Carrillo.
He explored other promotions and competed again in the promotion at Bellator 92. Homasi was finished for a second time with Ricky Legere Jr. submitting him in the second round. Two wins outside the promotion seen him come back for a third shot at a victory in Bellator. Third-time lucky, he was able to submit Eric Moon with a guillotine choke, one of his two career submissions.
Homasi competed in the 21st season of The Ultimate Fighter, but he lost his first bout to Carrington Banks on a unanimous decision. 15 days after a victory over Jorge Patino in Titan FC, Homasi signed up to fight Tim Means at UFC 202. He was knocked out in the second round.
18 months later, Homasi faced Abdul Razak Alhassan at UFC 218. Alhassan knocked Homasi to the ground, but there was definite recovery from Homasi, who tried to grab the legs of Alhassan but Herb Dean stopped the fight. This was one of the earliest stoppages we’ve seen in the sport.
This setup a rematch the following month. There seemed to be a bit of bad blood from Homasi in the second fight, with Alhassan reacting with another knockout, only 34 seconds quicker and there was no recovery this time.
Alhassan stood over Homasi yelling with anger and jubilation in his voice after a beautiful right uppercut, which left Homasi stunned and finished in the UFC. Homasi joined Bellator again in 2019, and this time it’s worked out wonders. He knocked out Micah Terrill with a beautiful right-hook after 17 seconds in his return!
The American holds a four-fight win-streak which is the best in his career, his last victory was flying knee to hammer fists in a win over Bobby Voelker at Bellator 250.
Expect an absolute slugfest in this one, with both fighters looking to scrap it out and continue their hot-streaks. With the cracking fights we have in store, this could potentially be the most exciting on the Bellator 257 main card.
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Veta Arteaga vs Desiree Yanez
Veta Arteaga (5-4, 4-4 BMMA) has been competing in the promotion since 2016. She was signed after her first professional win over Ashley Deen. Arteaga won her first bout in the promotion against Jackie Vandenburgh on a unanimous decision. Her first loss came in an extremely close contest with Anastasia Yankova. The judges awarded the split decision victory to Yankova.
She clearly wanted to avenge her last defeat, putting some damage on her next opponent Brooke Mayo. A doctor stoppage was decided in the third round, due to a cut on Mayo’s eye caused by Arteaga’s powerful striking.
Her second loss was another split decision against Bruna Ellen. She showed her abilities by bouncing back with two victories. Arteaga performed a standing guillotine choke on Denise Kielholtz to win in her seventh professional bout. Two of the toughest fighters in the division were Arteaga’s next opponents. She was defeated by Ilima-Lei Macfarlane due to a cut on her forehead. Alejandra Lara was next to beat Arteaga on a unanimous decision.
Desiree “Dirty Dez” Yanez (5-2, 0-0 BMMA) will make her debut in the promotion on the Bellator 257 main card. Yanez started her career in Xtreme Knockout (XKO) beating Carmella James via a rear-naked choke. She lost her second bout in LFA, losing to Itzel Esquivel via armbar.
A four-fight win streak for Yanez seen her competing in Combate Americas for the Strawweight Championship against undefeated prospect Melissa Martinez. In a back and forth fight, Martinez won the title via a split-decision victory. She also kept her undefeated record, handing Yanez her second career loss.
Yanez and Martinez were due for a rematch, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the bout was canceled in March 2020. She was later signed by Bellator. We could see Yanez look to take the fight to the ground, with Arteaga looking to stand up and knock Yanez out. It’s a massive opportunity to show their abilities, as they’ve been put ahead of many quality fighters on the Bellator 257 main card.
With the Bellator 257 main card previewed, which fight are you most looking forward to?
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images
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