Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
After dispatching Ryan Bader in impressive fashion to claim the title this past August, Nemkov stands as the fighter most likely to walk out with the championship belt still around his waist.
According to oddsmakers at Bet Online, Nemkov currently has 9-5 odds to leave the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix as champion. Former UFC title contender Yoel Romero is behind him with the second closest odds at 4-1 to win the entire tournament.
The longest odds belong to former UFC champion Lyoto Machida, who is currently whopping 30-1 underdog to take it all. See the full odds below:
To win Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix:
Vadim Nemkov: 9/5
Yoel Romero: 4/1
Ryan Bader: 11/2
Anthony Johnson: 7/1
Corey Anderson: 10/1
Phil Davis: 16/1
Lyoto Machida: 30/1
Romero will first face Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in arguably the most anticipated fight in the tournament’s opening round. Johnson is returning from retirement after competing in a pair of title fights in the UFC; he holds knockout wins over the likes of Ryan Bader, Glover Teixeira and Alexander Gustafsson.
Despite those accolades, Johnson is actually a very slight underdog to Romero in the opening round fight.
Currently, Romero is a -130 favorite while there is even money on Johnson. That means a better would have to place a $130 wager on Romero to win back $100 while a $100 bet on Johnson would return $100 if he were victorious.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson: EVEN
Yoel Romero: -130
As for the reigning Bellator champion, Nemkov enters his rematch against Phil Davis as a much larger favorite despite their first fight ending in a split decision. Nemkov opened as a -280 favorite while Davis remains the underdog at +220.
Phil Davis: +220
Vadim Nemkov: -280
Both of those fights will take place on April 9. The largest betting favorite of the opening round matchups is featured on April 2, when Bader faces Machida after they first clashed in the UFC back in 2012.
On that night, Machida won by second-round knockout. But Bader has gone onto accomplish quite a lot since that first meeting. Ahead of the rematch, he has opened as a massive -450 favorite to beat Machida.
Lyoto Machida: +350
Ryan Bader: -450
With those odds, it would take a $450 bet just to win back $100 on Bader while a $100 on Machida would win $350 as the underdog.
In the final fight for the opening round of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, former UFC fighter Corey Anderson opened as a slight favorite over newcomer Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov.
Anderson is currently sitting at -140 odds while the comeback on Yagshimuradov is +110 as the underdog.
Corey Anderson: -140
Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov: +110
As reported on Tuesday, the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix starts in April, and the promotion plans to wrap up the tournament in October. Each fight will be contested over five rounds with Nemkov defending his championship along the way. If anyone beats him during the tournament, that person will then go on to defend the belt in the Grand Prix.