LOS ANGELES – As Bellator's return to the Windy City approaches, the promotion has announced the full lineup of preliminary bouts slated to take place before the event's hugely consequential, two title fight-led main card.
On Friday, Nov. 18, Bellator 288 brings two world championship bouts to Wintrust Arena in Chicago, when incumbent light heavyweight titlist Vadim Nemkov (15-2) immediately rematches No. 1-ranked Corey Anderson (16-5) in the Bellator light heavyweight world grand prix final, while Patricky "Pitbull" Freire (24-10) defends his lightweight belt against undefeated, No. 1-ranked Usman Nurmagomedov (15-0).
In an update to the main card, former featherweight title challenger and No. 7-ranked Daniel Weichel (42-13) faces promotional newcomer Timur Khizriev (11-0), who steps in to replace fellow Dagestani fighter Akhmed Magomedov (10-0).
The five-fight main card of "Bellator 288: Nemkov vs. Anderson 2" airs live on Showtime beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The preliminary portion of the card will begin three hours prior across the Bellator MMA YouTube Channel, Showtime Sports YouTube Channel, and Pluto TV.
Joining Bellator 288 will be one of Bellator's brightest prospects, undefeated 26-year-old light heavyweight Sullivan "Sully" Cauley (4-0). The protege of Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader and No. 10-ranked light heavyweight will face fellow unbeaten American Jay Radick (3-0). Cauley will put his four-fight, first-round knockout streak on the line in this preliminary bout as he welcomes the 6-foot-5 Radick to the Bellator cage.
In an all-Brazilian lightweight matchup guaranteed to deliver fireworks, the always entertaining Killys Mota (13-3) will look to build off his Bellator 282 victory over Dan Moret (15-8) against promotional newcomer and countryman Jairo "Mumuzinho" Pachecho (7-0). Mota has taken his game to the next level after joining American Top Team, and his potential to disrupt the division is evidenced by his past wins over Moret, Mandel Nallo and Bobby Lee. Opposite him will be Pachecho, who at just 25 years old has looked sensational through seven professional outings. The Bellator debutant seeks to add a third straight stoppage to his resume in Chicago.
Additionally, a featherweight bout between highly-touted undefeated American Kickboxing Academy black belt Laid Anderson (2-0) and one-time Bellator alumnus Rob "Big Papagiorgio" Fenicle (2-2) will take place on the preliminary portion of Bellator 288.
The full Bellator 288 lineup includes:
MAIN CARD (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET)
- Champ Vadim Nemkov vs. Corey Anderson – for light heavyweight title
- Champ Patricky Pitbull vs. Usman Nurmagomedov – for lightweight title
- Daniel Weichel vs. Timur Khizriev
- Tyrell Fortune vs. Daniel James
- Roman Faraldo vs. Levan Chokheli
PRELIMINARY CARD (YouTube, 6 p.m. ET)
- Otto Rodrigues vs. Khasan Askhabov
- Imamshafi Aliev vs. Sean Fallon
- Killys Mota vs. Jairo Pachecho
- Jaylon Bates vs. Jornel Lugo
- Archie Colgan vs. Jesse Hannam
- Lucas Brennan vs. Nick Talavera
- Sullivan Cauley vs. Jay Radick
- Jordan Newman vs. Jayden Taulker
- Laird Anderson vs. Rob Fenicle
- Isaiah Hokit vs. Matias Nader
- Wladmir Gouvea vs. Kory Moegenburg