Bellator 186 post-event facts: Ilima Macfarlane's dominant run leads to inaugural 125-pound belt

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Filed under: Bellator, News

One new champion was crowned while another defended the gold on Friday at Bellator 186, which took place on the Penn State campus at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa.

In the Spike-televised headliner, Ryan Bader (24-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) defended his light-heavyweight title for the first time with a second-round TKO of Linton Vassell (18-6 MMA, 7-3 BMMA), which kept him undefeated since ending his UFC tenure a year ago.

The co-main event, meanwhile, saw Ilima Macfarlane (7-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) continue her dominance in the Bellator flyweight division. She beat Emily Ducote (6-3 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) once again, but this time she was awarded the inaugural 125-pound belt for her efforts.

Bader’s victory closed out of a five-fight main card, which saw four contests end in a stoppage. For more on the numbers behind the show, check out 20 post-event facts about Bellator 186.

* * * *

General

Ryan Bader

Debuting fighters went 0-2 at the event.

Betting favorites went 5-0 on the main card.

Betting favorites fell to 12-4 (with one even odds) in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the five-bout main card was 39:14.

* * * *

Main card

Linton Vassell and Ryan Bader

Bader improved to 9-1 in his past 10 fights. The lone defeat in that stretch came to Anthony Johnson at UFC on FOX 18 in January 2016.

Vassell fell to 0-2 in Bellator title fights.

Vassell suffered his first knockout loss since Oct. 29, 2010 – a span of 2,562 days (more than seven years) and 16 fights.

Macfarlane became the inaugural Bellator flyweight champion.

Macfarlane’s six Bellator victories are most among female fighters in the organization.

Ilima Macfarlane

Macfarlane’s six-fight Bellator winning streak in the longest among female fighters in the organization.

Macfarlane’s four stoppage victories in Bellator competition are most among female fighters in the organization.

Macfarlane’s four stoppage victories in Bellator flyweight competition are most in divisional history.

Macfarlane has earned all of her Bellator stoppage victories by submission.

Ducote suffered the first submission loss of her career.

Leonardo Leite (10-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) had his 10-fight winning streak for the first defeat of his career.

Ed Ruth

Ed Ruth (4-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) has earned all of his career victories by knockout.

Chris Dempsey’s (11-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) four-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since April 2015.

Dempsey fell to 1-5 in his past six fights dating back to July 2014.

Dempsey has suffered all six of his career losses by stoppage, including five knockouts.

Saad Awad

Saad Awad (21-9 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) has earned 17 of his 21 career victories by stoppage.

Awad’s four knockout victories in Bellator lightweight competition are tied with Michael Chandler for second most in divisional history behind Patricky Freire (seven).

Zach Freeman (9-3 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

For complete coverage of Bellator 186, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 186 highlights: Bader's title defense, Macfarlane's title win, Claxton's crazy knee

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Check out the highlights from Friday’s Bellator 186 event on the Penn State campus at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa.

In the Spike-televised headliner, Ryan Bader (24-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) scored the first defense of his light-heavyweight title with a second-round TKO win over Linton Vassell(18-6 MMA, 7-3 BMMA).

As you can see in the video above, Bader trapped the challenger against the fence, controlled his wrists, and then unloaded the fight-ending flurry of punches.

Additionally, Ilima Macfarlane (7-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) claimed the inaugural women’s flyweight title with a fifth-round submission victory over Emily Ducote (6-3 MMA, 4-2 BMMA), former Penn State national wrestling champion Phil Davis (18-4-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) scored a dominant decision victory over previously unbeaten Leo Leite (10-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in a mostly standup affair, and fellow Penn State alum Ed Ruth (4-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) scored a big knockout win over former UFC middleweight Chris Dempsey (11-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA).

Additionally, in the main-card opener, lightweight Saad Awad (21-9 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) needed just 63 seconds to stop Zach Freeman (9-3 MMA, 1-1 BMMA).

Because the video above shows the main-card highlights, they’re missing one viral clip from the preliminary card. Featherweight Tywan Claxton (1-0) blasted Jonathan Bonilla-Bowman (1-1) with a massive flying knee:

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For complete coverage of Bellator 186, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 186 results: Ilima Macfarlane taps Emily Ducote in fifth to win inaugural flyweight title

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Bellator has its first women’s flyweight champion, and it’s Ilima Macfarlane. But Emily Ducote did not go down without a major fight.

Macfarlane (7-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) finally put Ducote (6-3 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) away with an armbar and a verbal submission from a triangle choke late in the fifth round. But Ducote tested her most of the fight in what may have been a close one had it gone to the judges. The finish came at the 3:42 mark of the final round.

The inaugural women’s flyweight title bout was the co-main event of today’s Bellator 186 event at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa. It aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Ducote landed an early kick, but Macfarlane countered with a quick combo. Macfarlane swung hard seconds later with a right, but was just off the mark. A Ducote leg kick was on the spot, and Macfarlane moved in to clinch up. She landed a knee, then another, from a Thai clinch before Ducote finally broke away a minute in. Ducote briefly dragged Macfarlane to the canvas 100 seconds in, but the Hawaiian was right back up.

Macfarlane stalked Ducote down not long after that and landed several heavy shots. Ducote clinched up trying to recover, but again Macfarlane landed knees to the body. Then Macfarlane scooped Ducote up for a takedown right in front of Ducote’s corner. She tried to take her back, then went after a rear-naked choke. She had it briefly, then worked to half-guard and landed elbows from up top with 90 seconds left. With a minute left, Macfarlane went after a striaght armbar, then jumped over to near mount. She stayed after the armbar and turned it over with 10 seconds left. But Ducote survived the frame.

Ducote kicked early in the second, but ate a couple punches from Macfarlane after. Macfarlane landed a solid jab that was too quick for Ducote to catch up to. Ducote worked kicks to Macfarlane’s lead leg, but they didn’t appear to be stopping her. When she kicked harder, Macfarlane threw harder counters. Macfarlane seemed more patient in the first half of the frame and was willing to eat a few leg kicks – and they may have started to take their toll. With each one, Ducote’s corner got more and more confident with Macfarlane backing up. The kicks let Ducote climb right back into the fight.

Ducote started the third with more leg kicks. If she lacked the same kind of punching power that Macfarlane had, she seemed poised to make up for it with the kicks. Macfarlane tried to chase her down for a takedown just about a minute in, but Ducote wasn’t there. Macfarlane put together a combination 90 seconds in, then clinched up with Ducote for more knees. That was where she found success in the first and went back to it when she needed to.

Ducote finally broke away, but not long after, Macfarlane landed perhaps her best combo of the fight. When Ducote threatened with punches, Macfarlane shot for a single-leg takedown. But with 90 seconds left, she found herself still working to complete it. With 45 seconds left, Macfarlane tried twice to pick Ducote up and failed. But the third time was the charm and she finished the round with a few punches from on top.

Ducote opened the fourth with another leg kick, but ate a few punches for her effort. They tied up briefly, but Macfarlane wasn’t able to get anything done in the clinch. Macfarlane continued to work through Ducote’s kicks, but with two minutes left Ducote turned up the aggression in her striking game. A solid right from Macfarlane landed, but she struggled to put combinations together and Ducote stayed aggressive. With 40 seconds left, Macfarlane got the fight to the ground. But Ducote reversed it with a trip and got to side control to end the frame.

Macfarlane opened the final frame with a pair of right jabs, then just missed a Superman punch. Ninety seconds in, Ducote got back to her leg kicks, but found herself taken down by Macfarlane. But there once again, Ducote reversed to get on top. Macfarlane worked for a triangle choke from the bottom and had half the round keep working at it. She finally locked it up tight enough to get Ducote’s arm and roll it over for an armbar finish when Ducote verbally tapped.

Up-to-the-minute Bellator 186 results include:

  • Ilima Macfarlane def. Emily Ducote via verbal submission (armbar) – Round 5, 3:42 – to win inaugural women’s flyweight title
  • Phil Davis def. Leo Leite via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Ed Ruth def. Chris Dempsey via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 0:27
  • Saad Awad def. Zach Freeman via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:07
  • Scott Clymer def. Michael Benjamin Putnam via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:07
  • Mike Wilkins def. Brett Martinez via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:09
  • Michael Trizano def. Mike Otwell via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 2, 2:07
  • Dominic Mazzotta def. Matthew Lozano via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 1, 2:37
  • Logan Storley def. Matt Secor via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Tywan Claxton def. Jonathan Bonilla-Bowman via knockout (flying knee) – Round 1, 1:29
  • Frankie Buenafuente def. Francis Healy via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Andrew Salas def. Ethan Goss via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Josh Fremd def. Ryan Parker via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:25

For complete coverage of Bellator 186, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 186 staff picks: Is anyone picking upsets in the 2 title fights on Penn State's campus?

Bader
vs.
Vassell
Ducote
vs.
Macfarlane
Dempsey
vs.
Ruth
Davis
vs.
Leite
Awad
vs.
Freeman
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 97-67
bader2017
Bader
(87%)
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
(75%)
ruth2017
Ruth
(68%)
pdavis2017
Davis
(90%)
awad2017
Awad
(54%)
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 108-62
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
ruth2017
Ruth
pdavis2017
Davis
freeman2017
Freeman
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 106-64
trophy copy 2016 Champion
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
ruth2017
Ruth
pdavis2017
Davis
freeman2017
Freeman
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 106-64
trophy copy 2015 Champion
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
ruth2017
Ruth
pdavis2017
Davis
freeman2017
Freeman
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 105-65
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
ruth2017
Ruth
pdavis2017
Davis
awad2017
Awad
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 103-67
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
ruth2017
Ruth
pdavis2017
Davis
awad2017
Awad
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 100-70
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
ruth2017
Ruth
pdavis2017
Davis
freeman2017
Freeman
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 98-72
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
ruth2017
Ruth
pdavis2017
Davis
freeman2017
Freeman
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 97-73
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
ruth2017
Ruth
pdavis2017
Davis
awad2017
Awad
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 97-73
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
dempsey2017
Dempsey
pdavis2017
Davis
freeman2017
Freeman
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 96-72
trophy copy 2014 Champion
bader2017
Bader
macfarlane2017
Macfarlane
ruth2017
Ruth
pdavis2017
Davis
awad2017
Awad

Bellator returns this week with a pair of titles on the line at the top of the bill in “Happy Valley.”

Bellator 186 takes place Friday at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) puts his title on the line for the first time when he meets veteran challenger Linton Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA). Bader is more than a 3-1 favorite in the fight and is one of three unanimous picks on the main card from our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts.

In the co-feature, Emily Ducote (6-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) and Ilima Macfarlane (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) meet in a rematch for the inaugural Bellator women’s flyweight title. Macfarlane won the first fight less than a year ago by unanimous decision. She’s a heavy favorite in the rematch and another unanimous pick from our staff members.

The other unanimous nod on the main card comes in the form of former 205-pound champion Phil Davis (17-4-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) against Leo Leite (10-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who is making his promotional debut. Davis is the heaviest favorite on the main card at more than 6-1. He’ll be fighting in front of a friendly crowd at Penn State – he wrestled there in college.

Another Nittany Lions wrestling product is Ed Ruth (3-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), who takes on Bellator newcomer Chris Dempsey (11-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a middleweight bout on the main card. Ruth is a 9-1 pick from our staff members. And in the closest fight from a picks perspective, as well as in the betting lines, Zach Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) has a 6-4 edge over Saad Awad (20-9 MMA, 8-6 BMMA) in their lightweight fight to open the main card.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Bader, Macfarlane, Ruth, Davis and Awad are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on Bellator 186, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

5 reasons to watch Bellator 186, where a once-disrespected challenger gets his wish

After he signed a free-agent deal with Bellator, former UFC light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader was booked to face Muhammed Lawal in his promotional debut, but an injury forced “King Mo” from the fight. That gave Bader the opportunity to meet then-light heavyweight champion Phil Davis at Bellator 180.

Bader won by split decision, and the victory earned him the first major title of his 10-year career. On Friday Bader looks to defend that title when he meets Linton Vassell in Bellator 186’s main event.

In the co-main event, Ilima Macfarlane faces Emily Ducote for the Bellator’s inaugural women’s flyweight title.

Former champ Davis also appears on this card and welcomes Bellator newcomer Leo Leite to the promotion.

Bellator 186 takes place at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa., with a main card on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Here are five reasons to watch the event.

1. Put the lesson to good use

Not long after Bader took the light heavyweight title from Davis at Bellator 180, Bellator President Scott Coker told MMAjunkie he was leaning toward Bader vs. Lawal for the freshly minted champ’s first title defense. That didn’t sit well with Vassell, who defeated former champ Liam McGeary at Bellator 179.

“I do feel disrespected,” Vassell told MMAjunkie. “I feel like what I’ve done is not enough. Beating former world champions is not enough. If you’ve got a bigger name, then you’re going to get the fight – win or lose. No disrespect for Mo, but his recent record is win, loss, win, loss.

“When Scott was asked the question (about who was next), he didn’t even mention my name. He just said, ‘Yeah, Mo will be next in line.’”

In August, the promotion gave Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA), who is No. 14 in the most recent USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings, what he wanted: the opportunity to fight the No. 3-ranked Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) for his title.

This is Vassell’s second shot at the light heavyweight crown. In his previous title fight, then-champ Emanuel Newton submitted him in the fifth round. Vassell had the champ in trouble multiple times during that contest with his own submission game, but he couldn’t force the tap.

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Vassell, who is in the midst of a three-fight winning streak, has waited three years for his second shot at Bellator gold. He’s said he learned from his first title fight loss, and we’ll find out if that’s true at Bellator 186.

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2. Run it back with higher stakes

Macfarlane has had a wild ride in MMA. She made her pro debut in 2015 and won that fight with a 10-second knockout. Video of the stoppage quickly went viral after her overmatched opponent, Katie Castro, was dubbed a “soccer mom.” Since then, Macfarlane has done an excellent job of shaking off whatever stigma came with that win. She’s now 6-0, and at Bellator 186, she meets Ducote for the inaugural flyweight title.

This is the second meeting between these two. In the first fight, Macfarlane scored a unanimous-decision victory. Since that bout, Macfarlane (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) has one win – a first-round armbar submission – while Ducote (6-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) has a submission win and decision victory to her name.

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The first matchup between these two was fairly even. Ducote had the advantage on the feet, but Macfarlane’s aggressive ground game won her the fight.

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3. Risky business

Former light heavyweight champ Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) meets promotional newcomer Leite at Bellator 186.

Even though this is Leite’s (10-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) first fight with Bellator, he’s no neophyte when it comes to combat sports. He enters this bout as a former dual-division titleholder with Legacy FC. He also sports a perfect 10-0 record. Leite has also won world championships in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The only mark against the Brazilian is that he hasn’t fought in nearly a year.

This is a high-risk, low-reward fight for Davis. Not only is he fighting at the school where he won an NCAA Division I national wrestling championship, but he also faces an opponent who lacks the name recognition of many of his former foes. If Davis, who is ranked No. 4 in the light-heavyweight division, loses this fight, his road back to a title shot could lengthen.

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4. The spoiler

Zach Freeman

Zach Freeman raised his profile considerably in his most recent fight. Freeman was the man Bellator picked to fight the much-hyped Aaron Pico in his pro debut. Freeman ran over Pico, submitting him in 24 seconds in front of a stunned crowd at Madison Square Garden.

Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) takes a considerable step up in competition at Bellator 186, where he faces 14-fight Bellator veteran Saad Awad (20-9 MMA, 8-6 BMMA), who has been in the cage with some of the best fighters in the promotion’s lightweight division.

Awad has had mixed results in those fights, but he’s a tough, well-rounded fighter who puts a lot of pressure on his opponents. Awad defeated Ryan Quinn by decision in his most recent bout.

If Freeman can get past Awad, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Bellator fast-tracked him into a fight against a top-five lightweight in his next outing.

5. Stepping up

Ed Ruth (3-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) wanted a step up in competition for his fourth professional fight. He gets that in former UFC competitor Chris Dempsey (11-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who had a four-fight run with the UFC between 2012-2016.

During that time, he went 1-3, and his three losses all came via first-round knockout. In his most recent bout, Dempsey was knocked out in 40 seconds by Adam Hunter at a regional show (Hunter signed with the UFC after that victory).

Ruth, a three-time NCAA Division I national wrestling champion at Penn State, turned pro in MMA in 2016.

Since inking his deal with Bellator, Ruth has looked like a solid prospect. He’s still working on his situational awareness, and he does rely heavily on his wrestling, but he’s making steady progress. One thing in Ruth’s favor in this fight is Dempsey’s takedown defense, which was a mere 16 percent during his UFC tenure.

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For more on Bellator 186, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Emily Ducote didn't think Bellator title shot would come this soon, but ready to take advantage

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Of the two fighters in Bellator’s inaugural women’s flyweight title fight Friday, Emily Ducote could have predicted who one would be.

But it sounds like she didn’t expect the second one would be her.

Ducote (6-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) meets Ilima Macfarlane (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) in a rematch for Bellator’s first women’s flyweight belt in the Bellator 186 co-main event at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

The two just fought in December 2016 at Bellator 167, where Macfarlane won a unanimous decision.

“(It was) a little surprising, just at the timing,” Ducote today told MMAjunkie of getting the call to fight for the belt so soon after their first meeting. “I knew it would eventually happen, the rematch, but I wasn’t really expecting this timing. But it’s happening, and I’m excited.

“I knew she’d be fighting for the title. She’s been doing really well, and I knew she’d be fighting for it. I just didn’t know against who. We got the phone call, got the question, and of course we accepted. The rematch is going to be awesome. She’s obviously a high-level athete, so we’re excited for it.”

Ducote said 11 months was enough time for her to up her game. The loss to Macfarlane snapped a four-fight winning streak, including consecutive submissions for Bellator. But since then, she has a submission win over Katy Collins at Bellator 174, and in July she outpointed Jessica Middleton at Bellator 181.

The Middleton fight was supposed to be a bout against new Bellator signee Valerie Letourneau, who had just come over from the UFC. But a Letourneau injury took her off the card, and Ducote had to deal with the opponent switch on short notice.

But maybe that challenge was enough to give her some increased signs of improvement, as well.

“(The first fight with Macfarlane was) exactly 11 months ago, which is kind of cool to show the improvement I’ve made over almost a year – most of it mental, just kind of realizing the level I’m on,” Ducote said. “Before the last fight (against Macfarlane), I just didn’t know. I had never fought anybody that made me question what level I was on. Now I know this is my level. I’m on this level and I deserve to be (fighting for the title) in this division.”

Ducote believes Macfarlane will have improved in the meantime, as well. The California-based Hawaiian has had just one fight since then, also against Middleton – and Macfarlane submitted her.

And the win over Ducote the first time around no doubt has helped make Macfarlane a 3-1 favorite with the oddsmakers. But Ducote is trying to ignore all that and simply focus up on the task at hand – knowing a belt is on the line.

“I’m positive she’s improved, as well,” she said. “It’s been 11 months for me, but it’s been 11 months for her, as well. I’m sure we’ve both improved.

“She beat me, so of course I’m going to be the underdog – and I don’t mind. I really don’t mind it at all. … She’s been doing well. Can she be stopped? We’ll find out on Friday. I think it’s going to be a better version of the first fight.”

For more from Ducote, check out the video above.

And for more on Bellator 186, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 186 pre-event facts: Inside Ilima Macfarlane's divisional dominance

Bellator action returns on Friday with Bellator 186, which takes place at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa., with a main card on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Two championship fights top the bill. In the main event, Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) goes for his first Bellator light heavyweight title defense against streaking challenger Linton Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA). In the co-headliner, Ilima Macfarlane (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) rematches Emily Ducote (6-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) for the inaugural women’s flyweight belt.

For more on the numbers behind Friday’s Bellator 185 fight card, check out 25 pre-event facts.

* * * *

Main event

Ryan Bader

Bader became the first fighter in Bellator history to win a championship in his promotional debut when he defeated Phil Davis at Bellator 180 in June.

Bader was successful in his Bellator debut following a 20-fight stint under the UFC banner.

Bader is 8-1 in his past nine fights. The lone defeat in that stretch came against Anthony Johnson at UFC on FOX 18 in January 2016.

Vassell competes in his 10th Bellator light-heavyweight bout, tied with Liam McGeary for the second most appearances in divisional history behind Emanuel Newton (12).

Vassell’s three-fight winning streak in Bellator light-heavyweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Vassell has earned 14 of his 18 career victories by stoppage.

Vassell’s three submission victories in Bellator light-heavyweight competition are tied with McGeary, Newton and Mike Mucitelli for most in divisional history.

Co-main event

Ilima Macfarlane

Macfarlane competes in her sixth Bellator bout, the most appearances of any female in company history.

Macfarlane’s five Bellator victories are most among female fighters in the organization.

Macfarlane’s five-fight Bellator winning streak is the longest among female fighters in the organization.

Macfarlane’s three stoppage victories in Bellator competition are most among female fighters in the organization.

Macfarlane’s three stoppage victories in Bellator flyweight competition are most in divisional history.

Emily Ducote

Ducote, 23, is the youngest of the 10 scheduled main-card fighters.

Ducote, 23, can become the youngest champion in Bellator history.

Ducote competes in her sixth Bellator flyweight bout, tied with Macfarlane for the most appearances in divisional history.

Ducote’s four Bellator victories in flyweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Macfarlane (five).

Ducote’s three Bellator stoppage victories in flyweight competition are tied with Macfarlane for most in divisional history.

Ducote’s three Bellator submission victories in flyweight competition are tied with Macfarlane for most in divisional history.

Remaining main card

Chris Dempsey

Chris Dempsey (11-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) makes his Bellator debut on a three-fight losing skid. He hasn’t earned a victory since April 2015.

Dempsey is 1-4 in his past five fights dating back to July 2014. He’s suffered all of his losses by first-round knockout.

Saad Awad (20-9 MMA, 8-6 BMMA) competes in his 13th Bellator lightweight bout, the third most appearances in divisional history behind Patricky Freire (18) and Michael Chandler (15).

Awad has earned 16 of his 20 career victories by stoppage.

Zach Freeman

Zach Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) has earned six of his seven career stoppage victories by submission.

Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) has suffered all four of his career losses by decision.

Leonardo Leite (10-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), 39, is the oldest of the 10 scheduled main card fighters.

For complete coverage of Bellator 186, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Ilima Macfarlane just fine with Emily Ducote rematch for flyweight title at Bellator 186

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Filed under: News

Ilima Macfarlane is in a position she never really expected to be in this week – but she’s certainly not going to complain about it.

On Friday, Macfarlane (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) fights Emily Ducote (6-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) for Bellator’s inaugural women’s flyweight title in the co-main event of Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Macfarlane told MMAjunkie at Bellator 185 in Connecticut earlier this month that she never thought she’d be fighting for a title in the seventh fight of her pro career.

“I’m very calm right now, but I know once I get there I’m going to be freaking out,” Macfarlane said. “My career has been accelerated compared to others. It was totally not my intention to be fighting for a world championship at this stage. I just joined the gym because I wanted to lose weight. It wasn’t part of my vision, but now that it’s here, it’s like, ‘All right – let’s do it.’”

To go home with gold around her waist Friday, she’ll have to beat Ducote for a second time. The two fought at Bellator 167 in December 2016, and Macfarlane won a unanimous decision.

Since then, Macfarlane submitted Jessica Middleton in April at Bellator 178. Ducote has fought twice in that span. She outpointed Middleton at Bellator 181 in July, though she was supposed to fight Valerie Letourneau, instead, and Middleton stepped in on short notice. And in March, she submitted Katy Collins.

Still, though their first fight is less than a year old, Macfarlane thought she’d be seeing Ducote again – and is fine with the rematch.

“I had a feeling it was going to be Emily because out of all the other women in the division, she’s been consistent,” Macfarlane said. “She’s been fighting, winning and keeping close to weight. She never turned down a fight. I actually thought it was going to be her. There were other women in the division, such as Anastasia (Yankova), but she hasn’t proven she can make 125, so I thought that might’ve ruled her out. And then other new signees, like Valerie Letourneau, they haven’t even fought for Bellator yet. I figured it wasn’t going to be any of them.

“But honestly, if I could choose anybody, I would choose Emily because our fight, I thought, was really close. It went to a decision, and even though it was unanimous it was back and forth. It was my toughest test to date. I think she’s deserving of it.”

For more from Macfarlane ahead of her title fight rematch with Ducote, check out the video above.

And for more on Bellator 186, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for Bellator 186 and 2 title fights in Pennsylvania

We want your predictions for Friday’s Bellator 186 event with two title fights in Pennsylvania.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Wednesday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the Bellator 186 staff picks we release Thursday ahead of the event. Bellator 186 takes place Friday at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

* * * *

Ryan Bader vs. Linton Vassell

Records: Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) vs. Linton Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA)
Past five: Bader 4-1, Vassell 4-1
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: Bader No. 3, Vassell No. 14
Odds (as of 10/30/17): N/A

Take Our Poll
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Emily Ducote vs. Ilima Macfarlane

Records: Emily Ducote (6-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) vs. Ilima Macfarlane (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA)
Past five: Ducote 4-1, Macfarlane 5-0
Division: Women’s flyweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 10/30/17): N/A

Take Our Poll
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Chris Dempsey vs. Ed Ruth

Records: Chris Dempsey (11-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) vs. Ed Ruth (3-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA)
Past five: Dempsey 1-4, Ruth 3-0
Division: Middleweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 10/30/17): N/A

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Phil Davis vs. Leo Leite

Records: Phil Davis (17-4-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) vs. Leo Leite (10-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)
Past five: Davis 4-1, Leite 5-0
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: Davis No. 4
Odds (as of 10/30/17): N/A

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Saad Awad vs. Zach Freeman

Records: Saad Awad (20-9 MMA, 8-6 BMMA) vs. Zach Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA)
Past five: Awad 2-3, Freeman 3-2
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 10/30/17): N/A

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For more on Bellator 186, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Rematch to determine inaugural women's flyweight champion at Bellator 186

Bellator will crown its first female 125-pound champion at Bellator 186.

Ilima Macfarlane (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) faces Emily Ducote (6-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) in a rematch of their December 2016 bout at Bellator 167, Bellator President Scott Coker today told ESPN.com.

Bellator 186 takes place Nov. 3 at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Macfarlane won the duo’s first meeting via unanimous decision.

Macfarlane, 27, has fought once since that win. In April at Bellator 178, she submitted Jessica Middleton via first-round armbar. It was her sixth straight victory and fifth career stoppage.

Following the loss to Macfarlane, which halted a four-fight winning streak, Ducote has fought twice for Bellator. The 23-year-old submitted Katy Collins and picked up a decision victory over Middleton.

The UFC will crown its own 125-pound female champion in December with the conclusion of “The Ultimate Fighter 26.” The long-running reality show’s tournament format will determine the inaugural champion of the UFC’s newest female weight class.

The latest Bellator 186 card now includes:

  • Champ Ryan Bader vs. Linton Vassell – for light heavyweight title
  • Emily Ducote vs. Ilima MacFarlane – for inaugural women’s flyweight title
  • Phil Davis vs. TBA
  • Ed Ruth vs. TBA
  • Saad Awad vs. Zach Freeman

For more on Bellator 186, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie