By Gil Kuta Jr.
Nemkov spoke of having to change his camp because of the pandemic, but continually stressed he was ready for a 5-round fight.
When asked if Fedor’s recent loss was a reason to get “revenge” Vadim implied that wasn’t a factor and that the “fight was for him.”
Nemkov somewhat questioned Ryan Bader’s stamina by saying that his last fight was “kind of stale.”
When asked if he was interested in moving up to Heavyweight to go for that title if he won the Light Heavyweight title he said he would rather let his teammate Valentin Moldavsky go for it and stay at Light Heavyweight.
Jessy said she’s not worried about the lack of a crowd and plan’s to put on a show regardless. Miele was asked several questions about being perceived as the underdog as her last win was “surprising” she responded that she trains to be the underdog and gladly embraces that role.
His first question implied that he retired “King Mo”, Kapel answered by saying that Mo “took himself out” in the most respectful way possible, as he had a fight left on his contract and walked away anyway.
Kapel continued to press the narrative that his fight would be very exciting, and said that Salter is “underrated.”
Kapel talked about how he’s had a “transformational year” since his fight with King Mo.
Kapel is “looking forward to” empty arenas as he’s “used to it” from the beginning of his career.
He also made what I would call a somewhat surprising comment that “the Middleweight title was never in my crosshairs.”
Kapler was very adamant that he wanted to keep the fight standing up, but conceded that Salter would probably get him down a couple times, but “this is MMA, anything can happen.”
Side note: Andrew Kapel was incredibly respectful about his opponent (John Salter) and his abilities.
Valentin said that he doesn’t know if a win over Nelson gets him closer to a title, and he’s not looking past the fight.
He gave Nelson his due by saying that he’s the biggest name he’s ever fought to this point in his career.
He continually pressed that he has no idea what to expect from Roy, and that Nelson’s 4 losses in a row doesn’t mean he takes him lightly.
Moldavsky was the first fighter to say he’s not sure what fighting without a crowd will be like as he has “never fought without a crowd before.”
Valentin said he can’t predict how the fight will go, but he would “love to knock him out in the first round.”
I asked Valentin if there is any added pressure to carry on the legacy of Fedor by being on his team, he responded “I wouldn’t call it pressure, but there is a responsibility.”
When asked what he would focus on in the fight he said that Kapel is “comfortable everywhere, but I’m a little more comfortable.”
Salter implied when asked about a title shot that Covid-19 not allowing a lot of guys to come fight might push him to the top of the list more quickly along with a win, and he didn’t seem to mind cutting in line.
Salter wasn’t happy that the fight for the vacant middleweight title was called off, and wouldn’t mind being thrown in after a win.
Salter said he made big changes to his conditioning after his last loss, including hiring a conditioning coach.
Nelson said he has no intention of hanging up the gloves “as long as I’m competitive.”
He implied there is a different style of fighting without the crowd because “you don’t have to please the fans, when there’s a crowd it’s like a rock n’ roll concert, so now you don’t have to worry about making everybody happy.”
Nelson said that he’s always wanted to fight Fedor, and that if he beats Moldavsky that “they should let me pick a fight.”
Nelson said the top 3 fights he would like to have are: Cheick Kongo, Fedor Emelianenko, and Matt Mitrione.
Nelson implied that he would retire if he won the Heavyweight title saying “I’d hand it right back, I’m good after that.”
Nelson said he’s happy to play spoiler against an up-and-comer, it’s like he says “F-You to everybody.”
When asked about the Heavyweight division he implied it’s a tough call to make because “It only takes one punch.”
Julia started off by saying that training during the pandemic wasn’t as difficult for her because her husband is her trainer.
She enthusiastically said that a Women’s Grand Prix would be a “great idea” and that she “would happily be a part of it.”
Budd said that she would love to have a rematch with Cyborg but she’s focused on Miele.
She said she is motivated by the fact that her only 3 losses are to Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes, but she “doesn’t want to lose to the best.”
Ryan Bader, Bellator Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion
The Champ opened by saying that he’s looking forward to an empty arena, as wrestling in college and being on The Ultimate Fighter will help him out.
Bader was asked a lot of questions pertaining to UFC’s Jon Jones relinquishing his Light Heavyweight Title and if his fight against Nemkov will determine who the number 1 Light Heavyweight in the world is, and Bader was happy to agree.
Bader was asked if he wants another fight with Chieck Kongo after what happened, Bader answered that there is “unfinished business” between the two, and he wants the fight to happen.
Bader did have some praise for Nemkov throughout being questioned, even said:”He’ll be a champion someday, just not on Friday.”
Bader said that the new talent coming into Bellator is a great thing and even mentioned potential future fights he’d like to have saying “Machida is one of those guys.”
His closing remarks were about Nemkov being considered Fedor’s prodigy, he responded “I dont give a sh**” and said he would retain his Light Heavyweight Title.