Bellator MMA two-weight champion Ryan Bader will defend his mild heavyweight title for the primary time in practically three years at Bellator 244 on Aug. 21.

Bader (27-5) instructed ESPN on Wednesday that he has signed a contract to face Vadim Nemkov in a 205-pound title combat at Bellator 244 at Mohegan Solar Area in Uncasville, Connecticut. Sources additionally instructed ESPN the bout is almost finalized.

Bader, 37, hasn’t competed at 205 kilos since he defended his title towards Linton Vassell in November 2017. Following that victory, Bader went into Bellator’s heavyweight Grand Prix and defeated the likes of Mohammed Lawal, Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko to turn out to be Bellator’s heavyweight champion.

“I am enthusiastic about it,” Bader instructed ESPN. “There was a scarcity of choices the place I believed I used to be going to combat at heavyweight once more, however they’ll get him into the nation [from Russia], and that is the combat. He positively deserves a title shot at mild heavyweight. It is a kind of fights I have been for a very long time. It is an intriguing combat and I am able to go down and defend.”

Nemkov (12-2), who trains with Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko, has 4 wins in a row in Bellator, beating Phillipe Lins, Liam McGeary, Phil Davis and Rafael Carvalho. He was scheduled to face Bader in Might earlier than the promotion was compelled to postpone its occasions indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bader, who trains out of Arizona, stated he’d like to stay at 205 kilos past the Nemkov combat, significantly if he wins. He expressed curiosity in a bout towards former UFC champion Lyoto Machida, who beat him by TKO in 2012 after they have been each underneath the UFC banner.

“I clearly wish to hold each of those belts,” Bader stated. “I can bounce backwards and forwards fairly simply. For me, proper now I might wish to defend the belt at 205 and combat once more at 205, whereas my physique is primed for that weight. It has been some years since I have been down there, as a result of no fault on my facet they simply requested me to return do that heavyweight event and defend the heavyweight title proper after the Grand Prix. I might wish to get a pair fights at 205. Go on the market, beat Nemkov, then flip round and provides Machida a title shot, get that loss again. I might additionally wish to combat in Japan, combat for the Rizin FF belt, end the yr with three belts.”