CHICAGO – Corey Anderson is ready to get right back to where he was the first time he fought Vadim Nemkov in April.
In their first meeting at Bellator 277, Anderson (16-5 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) was seemingly on the verge of winning the light heavyweight grand prix and becoming the new champion of the division. Unfortunately, an accidental clash of heads in the final seconds of the third round halted the bout, leading to a no contest result.
After taking a week or two to get over the frustration of the outcome, Anderson is ready to step in against the champion Nemkov (15-2 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) once more in the main event of Friday’s Bellator 288 at Wintrust Arena.
“Just pick up where we left off, you know what I mean?” Anderson told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s media day.
According to the official scorecards, the fight was tied going into the third round, but the momentum was clearly in Anderson’s favor as he was successfully implementing his wrestling game and pulling away in the fight.
“I pretty much called exactly how the fight was gonna go,” Anderson said. “When I was a college wrestling coach prior to doing it again now, my main thing was breaking down film. I could just tell you what somebody was going to do before they knew it, and that was the same thing.
“… Going into the fight, I knew exactly what he was going to do. The thing that surprised me, he wasn’t – he was strong, on the initial contact. On the first shot, he was strong, and I thought that was going to last a lot longer. The second time I shot, that was gone. I was like, I blew his load. Third time it was non-existent. What surprised me is that his strength didn’t last as long as I figured it would.”
Even though Anderson had Nemkov scouted well and everything was going to plan, he still left the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. without a title and without the $1 million prize that came along with the grand prix victory. This time, Anderson expects to complete the mission.
While he fully expects Nemkov to have improved upon his mistakes in their first meeting, Anderson says there is no added pressure and is confident he will still “completely dominate.”
“You gotta learn how to balance the pressure and excitement,” Anderson said. “Excitement is one thing – I’m always excited. I wake up, I’m excited. Another day to get better. Pressure, you learn how to manage that after 10 years in this game, ’cause pressure either breaks pipes or pressure makes diamonds.”