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

Who ya got?! Fighters weigh in on Ryan Bader vs. Linton Vassell at Bellator 186

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Ryan Bader puts his light heavyweight title up for grabs for the first time Friday night. Can Linton Vassell make his rein on the throne a short one?

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.

In the headliner, Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) meets Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) with the 205-pound title on the line. Bader won the belt in June in his promotional debut with a split-decision win over Phil Davis in a rematch from when they both were in the UFC.

Bader, who’s No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, is currently about a 4.5-to-1 favorite to win the fight, but do fellow fighters agree? Or is No. 14 Vassell their choice?

Check out the video above to get their picks.

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

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos
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

Linton Vassell says he's night and day difference from first title shot to Bellator 186

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Linton Vassell has been in this position before three years ago.

But the difference between that Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) and the one who will challenge for the light heavyweight title held by Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) at Bellator 186, he says, is night and day.

In 2014, Vassell was strong early against then-champion Emmanuel Newton, but gassed out late and was finished in the fifth round. But after moving most of his training from his native England to South Florida, things are looking a lot different these days.

“I don’t even consider the two the same,” Vassell today told MMAjunkie. “When I fought Emmanuel Newton, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t training to my best. The training partners I had, some of them were welterweights. … I thought I was ready because I felt fit.

“Now I’m in South Florida training with some of the best. I feel like my time has just come perfectly right now. … I was the biggest name on my team back in England, and I just wasn’t getting pushed.”

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. Vassell’s shot at Bader’s 205-pound title is the main event.

Some of those best in Florida that Vassell mentioned include the likes of former UFC champs Luke Rockhold and Rashad Evans. And Vassell is hoping that work helps him against another standout wrestler in Bader.

In May, Vassell submitted former light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary. Then he had to wait on Bader’s title win over Phil Davis at Bellator 180 to find out if he was going to get a shot at the belt. It was supposed to be Muhammad Lawal, but thanks to injuries and shuffling, Vassell got the call.

“It was so satisfying to actually, one, get the win over Liam McGeary – a top, top boy, a former world champion,” Vassell said. “But it was amazing to actually finally get the nod and say I’m fighting Ryan Bader for the title. They said it might be ‘King Mo,’ so I put a tweet out to say, ‘This has to be fake news.’ I don’t know what happened, but obviously I got the nod. But everything went to plan.”

Now that he has the shot against Bader, he’ll clearly be watching out for the champ’s standout wrestling. But other than that, it’s Bader’s big-fight resume Vassell is impressed with.

“He has experience,” he said. “He’s fought some of the toughest. But other than that, I feel like we match up perfectly because my style, I feel like no one can imitate it.”

For more from Vassell, 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 205-pound champ Ryan Bader interested in heavyweight tournament

For Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, one of the promotion’s selling points is the chance to fight in multiple divisions.

Should he successfully defend his title at Bellator 186, Bader is eyeing a future move to heavyweight. He plans to volunteer for a tournament the Viacom-owned promotion is planning.

“I would definitely like to throw my hat in the ring with that and see where it goes,” Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who on Friday faces Linton Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA), told MMAjunkie. “That’s one thing that intrigued me about coming to Bellator was those different opportunities.

“First and foremost, I’m the light heavyweight champion, and I need to defend that belt. That’s happening on Friday, and from there, we’ll see what transpires.”

Bellator 186 takes place at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. The main card, including the headlining Bader vs. Vassell fight, airs live on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Bellator President Scott Coker recently told MMAjunkie the promotion’s first priority is crowning a heavyweight champion, which he expects to do in the first quarter of 2018. The new champ faces plenty of top-tier opposition with several imports joining the big-man class within the past year.

Bader isn’t in a rush to move up, but one of his goals is to add another belt to his collection.

“I would love to be in that tournament and fight a couple of fights quickly, and if there is a belt at the end of that, that would be awesome to be a two-division champ and come back and defend my light heavyweight title,” he said.  “It’s one of those things where you’re looking in the future a little bit. I’ve got to go out and win this fight, and really just see what’s next with them. But I’m open to all that.”

If he were to try his luck in the big-man class, Bader said he would prefer to compete as a smaller heavyweight, fighting around 233 pounds, rather than trying to compete with the heavier players in the division.

“My body’s used to fighting at a certain weight, so I would pretty much just not cut weight and do a little extra strength training,” he said. “(I’d) make sure I’m strong and not muscled around by these bigger guys – be faster and use my cardio.”

So far, Bellator has yet to crown a multi-division champion; Joe Warren captured belts at bantamweight and featherweight, but was unable to hold on to both at the same time.

The promotion’s longtime tournament format didn’t facilitate the accomplishment, of course. But with Coker oriented toward tentpole events and superfights, the idea of a two-division champ might not be so far away.

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

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
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

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

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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

Champ Ryan Bader to show 'disrespectful' Linton Vassell 'another level' at Bellator 186

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

Ryan Bader isn’t the type to talk much trash, but if an opponent comes at him in the lead-up to a fight, he’s going to use that as fuel for his performance inside the cage.

Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) said that’s exactly the case going into his first Bellator light heavyweight title defense against Linton Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) at Bellator 186 next week. The champion believes the challenger has taken a “disrespectful” approach to the fight, and he said that doesn’t sit well.

“I don’t know much about the guy,” Bader said in an interview with Bellator play-by-play voice Mike Goldberg. “He tweeted me when I was potentially going to sign with Bellator. He’s one of those guys who comes off disrespectful to me. He has some insecurities that he has to let out and prove to himself. I’ve been fighting at the highest level for 15 fights now. For me, it’s one of those fights I’m going to enjoy. He’s fought some tough guys, but I’m going to show him another level.”

Bellator 186 takes place Nov. 3 at Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Penn. Bader vs. Vassell headlines the Spike-televised main card following prelims on MMAjunkie.

For Bader, the bout will mark his sophomore appearance in the Bellator cage. After a 20-fight UFC tenure, “Darth” signed with the growing organization earlier this year and made his debut in a June title fight with then-champ Phil Davis at Bellator 180. Bader edged out a split decision to claim the 205-pound belt, immediately putting him at the top of the weight class.

Although winning gold was something Bader was unable to accomplish under the UFC banner, he said he carries pride in being Bellator champ. He achieved one of his major career goals, but Bader said now is not the time to get comfortable. “The Ultimate Fighter 8” winner has intentions for a long and memorable title reign, but knows that won’t be easy.

“There’s no plateau,” Bader said. “This belt wasn’t a plateau where I’m like, ‘OK, I’m here, who cares what happens from hereon out?’ I want to defend that thing for the entirety of my contract with Bellator and then sign a new deal.”

It’s much easier for Bader, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings, to get motivated for his first title defense when No. 14-ranked Vassell continues to throw fuel on the fire. The British challenger is carrying tremendous confidence into the matchup, but Bader believes the skill and experience advantages are steeply in his favor.

“Linton has fired me up in terms of his (expletive)-talking,” Bader said. “I just look forward to this one. I look forward to putting a beating on him and just show him, ‘This is what you’re talking about, so you’re going to get it now.’ It’s going to be a fun one for me.”

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

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

Ex-Bellator champ Liam McGeary 'broke my bloody thumb,' calls out top 205ers

Dann StuppRemember that injury that knocked Liam McGeary out of next week’s Bellator 185 event? We now have an X-ray of it.

As MMAjunkie reported this past week, McGeary (12-2 MMA, 9-2 BMMA), a replacement for Muhammad Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-4 BMMA), was slated to fight Bubba McDaniel (28-10 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) at the event, which takes place Oct. 20 and airs on Spike from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. However, an injury knocked him out of the bout.

The nature of McGeary’s injury wasn’t immediately known, but the former Bellator light-heavyweight champion recently revealed a “bloody thumb” he broke.

Here’s a pic (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

In a lengthy caption that accompanied the X-ray, McGeary said he still wants to fight “King Mo” – like, really wants to fight him:

“Tell you what tho bubba, you lucky bastard! You got away from a fuckin hiding there!! I was gunna prove a point on you!! I bet I could have even done that 1 handed. But the doc wouldn’t let me!
@kingmofh , I’m gunna be out for a little while longer, heal up fast mate, let’s get this fight sorted! I want to fight you man”

McGeary, who was hoping to rebound from a submission loss to Linton Vassell in May, didn’t stop there, though. The 35-year-old English striker also called out Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA), who took the title from McGeary in 2016. He also gave out a shoutout (and callout) to Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA), who meets current champ Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) in Bellator 186’s main event next month.

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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