Phil Davis wonders about future title shot – or 'King Mo' – after Bellator 186

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, Videos

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Former Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis isn’t sure just what the promotion will have for him next.

This past Friday, Davis (18-4-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) took a unanimous decision from Leo Leite (10-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) on the main card of Bellator 186. Was that enough to get back to a title fight with the man who took the belt from him, Ryan Bader?

“Absolutely (I deserve a title shot),” Davis told MMAjunkie. “It’s about going out there and really pushing the pace and pushing the action and giving the fans what they want.”

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

But if fighting for the title isn’t meant to be just yet, given he lost to Bader in June, Davis said he’s prepared to fight anyone, even if that anyone winds up being Muhammad Lawal, whom Bellator President Scott Coker says is likely to fight Bader for the belt.

“I need ‘Mo’ to show up for a fight,” Davis said. “He’s a great fighter, but he just gets injured. … I’m down for anything. … I would love to fight for the belt – any time, anywhere. But if someone walts to fight me forst, I’m open to it.”

Check out the video above for more from Davis after Bellator 186.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 186 results: Phil Davis outworks gritty Leo Leite for unanimous decision

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Leo Leite wasn’t an easy out for Phil Davis, but the former champ got the job done Friday night in front of his home fans.

Davis (18-4-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) took a unanimous decision from Leite (10-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) and handed the Brazilian his first MMA setback. Davis, a former Penn State wrestling All-American, took a trio of 30-27 scores for the sweep.

The light heavyweight bout was part of the main card 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.

Davis pawed a jab out, then threw a right kick in the first 15 seconds. Then the right hands came. About 45 seconds into the fight, Leite drove in and tried to push Davis to the cage. Davis reversed things and put Leite’s back on the fence. Leite, a judo standout, Nearly tripped Davis down. But moments later, Davis took him to the canvas. There, Leite threatened with a leglock, but Davis shucked it off and used a headlock to get to a better position.

Back on the feet in the center midway through, Leite landed a solid punch, then tried a looping right hand that Davis blocked. Davis’ left hand was just off the mark twice, but a thudding leg kick after that was the best strike of the fight. A left hook followed for Davis, and a kick hurt Leite right after that. Davis started to load up with 90 seconds left and looked for a fight-ending opening.

He stalked Leite down, but Leite landed a counter left that briefly wobbled Davis. And after another Davis leg kick, a right hand landed, as well. Davis came forward with his hands slightly down, then missed a Superman punch. But his straight right was on the money seconds later. Leite stayed in the pocket, though, and was able to land a solid punch before the round’s end.

Davis landed a right, then a left quickly into the second and continued to walk Leite down. But seconds later, Leite caught a finger in the eye and got a reprieve while the doctor looked at him. On the restart, Davis shot for a takedown, but it wasn’t there. A head kick missed after that, and Leite seemed motivated by a coupel solid punches that were on the mark. Midway through, Davis threw a pair of wild punches, then pushed Leite to the fence. He landed a kick on the break, but the two tied up again seconds later. The action faded down the stretch in the round and went to the third.

Davis put together a combination of several punches a minute into the final round, then backed away from Leite’s counter. A body kick was on the mark not long after, and 90 seconds in Davis went after a takedown. Leite was able to turn it around with his judo background, but it was back to the feet quickly for both. Davis just missed a head kick midway through, then fended off some big offensive attempts from Leite before turning in some of his own. When Leite missed a punch, Davis tried to take him down. But with two minutes left, it wasn’t there. Davis landed a big left with 90 seconds left, then pushed Leite to the fence. Davis stayed after a finish late in the frame, but it wasn’t there.

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

  • 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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Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 186 weigh-in highlights video, photos with classic apparel from Macfarlane, Davis

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The ceremonial weigh-ins for Bellator 186 are in the books, and there were some solid costumes a couple days after Halloween.

In the main event, Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) puts his light heavyweight title on the line for the first time against challenger Linton Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA). The two were cool and collected at their face-off.

But the evening’s highlights came from women’s flyweight title challenger Ilima Macfarlane (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA), who fights Emily Ducote (6-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) for the vacant belt, and former light heavyweight champion Phil Davis (17-4-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA), who takes on Leo Leite (10-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA).

Macfarlane, a Hawaiian now living in San Diego, wore traditional Hawaiian garb onto the stage for a great photo op. And Davis, a Penn State wrestling product who gets to fight on his former campus, wore a Nittany Lions wrestling singlet onto the scale.

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.

Check out the highlights from the five fights on the main card above.

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

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You may not know Leo Leite, but Phil Davis knows the danger at Bellator 186

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The name standing across from Phil Davis on Friday at Bellator 186 may not jump out to casual fans.

And it may not be one that many would presume would get the former champ back into quick title contention at light heavyweight. But Davis (17-4-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) appears to be acutely aware of the kind of threat Leo Leite (10-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) presents to him.

Brazil’s Leite, making his Bellator debut, is a black belt in both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo. And while the 39-year old only has a few fights that are quickly recognizable Stateside – he won Legacy FC’s light heavyweight title in 2014 and defended it twice the next year – he’s been competing around the world outside MMA for years.

“He’s a high-level athlete and he has a lot of tricks,” Davis told MMAjunkie on Wednesday. “Judo is very tricky and it’s very uncommon. When Ronda Rousey was on top of her game and she was doing things to people, people thought, ‘Oh wow! I didn’t know you could just throw people like that. We haven’t seen that.’ So there’s a skill set there that you don’t see very often. We did a little special preparation just for those judo throws and a lot of things that he brings to the game.”

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

Davis came to Bellator in 2015 after a long UFC run. He won the promotion’s one-night light heavyweight tournament with a submission of Emanuel Newton and konckout of Francis Carmont, then took a unanimous decision from Muhammad Lawal in May 2016 to get a shot at the title then held by Liam McGeary.

A year ago, Davis won that belt by outpointing McGeary and moved to 4-0 in his new promotional home. But in June, at Bellator 180 in New York, he dropped a split decision to Ryan Bader – again. Bader beat him in his final UFC fight, also by split call. But in June, he had to surrender a belt.

Now he wants to start the climb back to title contention so he can get another crack at Bader, or whoever holds the title. Bader headlines Bellator 186 against Linton Vassell on Friday a few fights after Davis vs. Leite.

“This fight Friday is big and I just want to get back in the win column and just continue to gain momentum and keep pushing forward,” Davis said Wednesday. “This fight, win this in impressive fashion, and we’ll get the belt back.”

For more from Davis, 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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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.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Ryan Bader defends title vs. Linton Vassell at Bellator 186; Penn State alums Phil Davis, Ed Ruth also on card

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For the first time, Bellator will touch down at Penn State University this fall, and the light heavyweight title will be on the line.

Newly crowned champ Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) will put his 205-pound belt up against Linton Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) in the Bellator 186 main event, promotion officials confirmed to PennLive.com‘s Brian Linder. Also on the card will be a pair of Penn State wrestling alums, former champ Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) and Ed Ruth (3-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), though their opponents will be announced later.

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

Bryce Jordan Center, which opened in 1996, can seat upwards of 16,000 people, depending on its configuration. It is the home of Penn State’s basketball teams and regularly hosts top-shelf musical acts, as well, including Pearl Jam, Aerosmith and Garth Brooks.

Bader made his promotional debut in June in the main event of the Bellator 180 portion of Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden in New York. In a split decision, he took the light heavyweight title from Davis in a rematch from when they previously met under the UFC banner in 2015 – when he also won a split call.

The win was Bader’s third straight and eighth in nine outings. Seven of those eight came for the UFC, the promotion he spent the bulk of his career fighting for, and where he won Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” But earlier this year, he left the promotion as a free agent, signed with Bellator, promptly got a title shot, and took home the belt.

Linton Vassell

England’s Vassell now gets the title shot he has been asking for. He brings three straight wins into the fight, including a third-round submission of ex-champ Liam McGeary at Bellator 179 in May in London. Prior to that, he avanged a loss to Emanuel Newton with a unanimous decision at Bellator 149 and outpointed Francis Carmont at Bellator 165, both in 2016.

Phil Davis

Davis, a Pennsylvania native, won a national wrestling title at 197 pounds for the Nittany Lions in 2008. He finished his college career with a 116-15 mark on the mats and was a four-time D-I All-American. He’ll attempt to get back in the win column after losing his light heavyweight title to Bader, which snapped a perfect 4-0 start to his Bellator tenure after coming to the promotion after years with the UFC.

Ed Ruth

Ruth was a three-time national champion for Penn State in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and a four-time D-I All-American. In May 2015, he signed with Bellator – though he also announced his intention to focus on the 2016 Summer Olympics before wading into the MMA waters. When he failed to make the U.S. team, he turned his attention to MMA and made his promotional and pro debut at Bellator 163, where he picked up a first-round TKO of Dustin Collins-Miles. At Bellator 168, he stopped Emanuele Palombi in the first round. And at Bellator 178 in April, he stopped David Mundell in the second after a knee to the body.

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

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Scott Coker likes Primus vs. Chandler 2, Bader vs. 'King Mo' title fights after Bellator NYC

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Filed under: Bellator, News

Perhaps the greatest benefit to Bellator’s recent pay-per-view event was the fact it set up some notable matchups for the future.

Bellator NYC took place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following the Bellator 180 prelims on Spike and MMAjunkie.

Chael Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) won the main event while Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) scored a big knockout victory in the co-headliner. Douglas Lima (29-6 MMA, 11-2 BMMA) defended his welterweight strap while Brent Primus (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) and Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) claimed gold.

Although the plans aren’t concrete, Bellator President Scott Coker has some ideas for future fights, and he discussed with MMAjunkie following the event.

One of the big questions after Bellator NYC was whether Michael Chandler (16-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA), who dropped the Bellator lightweight title with a first-round injury TKO loss to Primus, will get an immediate rematch for the gold.

The extent of the Chandler’s ankle injury is unknown, but as long as Chandler isn’t out for an extended period, Coker said the two-time titleholder will get a rematch.

“We’ll do (the rematch) as long as Chandler can do it,” Coker said. “If he has to get surgery and he’s out for a year or six months or eight months, we’ll have to wait, I guess.”

As for new light heavyweight champion Bader, Coker said he has options. A third fight between “Darth” and Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) after their first two fights ended in split decisions is not the most appealing, especially with other notable fighters available.

Bader was originally supposed to fight Muhammed Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-4 BMMA) at Bellator 180, but “King Mo” suffered an injury and was replaced by Davis. Coker said he likes the original booking with Lawal, especially with Bader now the champ.

“Bader won, and we’ll see what happens,” Coker said. “‘King Mo’ comes to my mind right away (as his first challenger). For Phil, maybe he can fight Linton Vassell. We’ll find some fights for him.”

Another future title fight Coker expects is between 170-pound king Lima, who shut down promotional newcomer Lorenz Larkin (18-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) over five rounds. “Phenom” has been the most successful welterweight in Bellator history, but his biggest test could come next with Rory MacDonald (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA)

As far as Sonnen, who earned his first victory in nearly four years with a unanimous-decision win over Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in their long-awaited main-event grudge match, Coker said he doesn’t know exactly what’s next.

Sonnen mentioned potential fights with Fedor Emelianenko, Tito Ortiz and even Bader after Bellator NYC. Coker said it’s hard to go wrong when booking Sonnen, and regardless of the opponent, he expects one of his most sellable athletes to headline again.

“Chael’s got four of five great fights ahead of him,” Coker said. “We’ll find an opponent that will be another big blockbuster event like this. I think he could main event for us again.”

For complete coverage of “Bellator: NYC” and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Bellator champ Ryan Bader eyes Tito Ortiz rematch, but plans to 'clean out this division'

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NEW YORK – After winning the light heavyweight title at Bellator 180, Ryan Bader is aiming for a long and dominant run in Bellator. He’s open to defending the belt against anyone, but there’s one name in particular that stands out.

Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who claimed the title with a split-decision win over Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) on Saturday’s Spike-televised preliminary card at Madison Square Garden in New York, is still seeking revenge for his surprising first-round submission loss to Tito Ortiz at UFC 132 in July 2011.

“Darth” said he’s still asked about being the one who ended Ortiz’s (19-12-1 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) nearly five-year winless drought. And while Ortiz claims to have retired following his win over Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170 in January, Bader hopes a potential title fight could lure him back.

“I would love it,” Bader said. “I’m not a (expletive)-talking guy. I respect everyone in this sport. If I have to hear that name, and, ‘You’re pretty good – but you lost to Tito Ortiz back in 1994.’ That one I would like to get. If there’s one fight I would like to get back, it would be that one, for sure. I would love to fight him for sure. I’d put the belt on the line and everything if he wants to come in. That fight intrigues me.”

Instagram Photo

After a 20-fight run under the UFC banner, Bader became a free agent earlier this year and signed with Bellator. He was originally booked against Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 180, but when “King Mo” suffered an injury, Davis stepped in and made it a title bout.

Bader’s desire all along was to fight for Bellator gold right off the bat, which is how it played out. He took advantage of the situation and edged Davis, and though he downplayed the pressure prior to the event, he opened up more afterward.

“It’s a bunch of relief,” Bader said. “I never got the chance to fight for any belt in any organization. I’ve got all these accolades in wrestling and even in football, collegiate wrestler. Then I go into mixed martial arts and fight in all these local shows where I only fight one time and move onto the next one. I win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ then go to the UFC and never got an opportunity there. To fight in a different promotion, your first fight, I wouldn’t say there’s any jitters, but you’re new to the whole thing, and you don’t know what to expect.

“I’ve never stepped foot in a Bellator cage before. I didn’t know what the canvas felt like. I didn’t know a lot of things. So to come out here and beat a top two, top three guy in the world – he’s an awkward guy, he’s hard to fight, and that’s why he wins way more than he loses here and (why) he was a champion. To take this away it’s just a lifetime of work.”

Bader got his hand raised, but he admitted the fight didn’t play out precisely how he wanted. He knew what it was like to compete against Davis; he owns a 2015 split-decision win over “Mr. Wonderful,” and he also competed against him during their amateur wrestling days.

Both fights were relatively underwhelming in terms of action, and despite pegging his fellow American as one of the more challenging opponents he’s faced, Bader said he expects to see Davis in the future.

“I wanted to come in and make a huge statement, but how many guys beat Phil Davis?” Bader said. “I beat him twice. … He beat me in wrestling; I was able to come out and beat him in two MMA fights. We’re going to be competing our whole lives. We’ll probably see each other in the senior league in jiu-jitsu or something. He’s a great dude. I respect the hell out of him. It’s an honor to get in there and fight him.”

Regardless of how he got it done, Bader winning the 205-pound belt in his first Bellator fight is about as good as a debut experience can get. Ortiz would be his ideal next opponent, but options such as Lawal, Linton Vassell and possibly even another fight with Davis exist, as well.

Ultimately Bader said that Bellator can line then all up because he’s confident he will knock them down one at a time.

“I went out there and beat the best guy in this division,” Bader said. “Besides me, obviously, and now we get to go and clean out this division, and I’m going to have this belt for a long time.”

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

Bellator NYC results: Ryan Bader takes light heavyweight title from Phil Davis by split decision

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Phil Davis and Ryan Bader’s rematch looked a lot like the first time they fought two years ago under a different promotional banner. And once again, Bader got the scorecard nod.

After five rounds of workmanlike action, Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) to take the Bellator light heavyweight title from Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) via split decision in his promotional debut.

The light heavyweight title bout closed out the Bellator 180 portion of today’s Bellator NYC event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It aired on Spike following additional prelims on MMAjunkie and ahead of the main card on pay-per-view.

The final scorecards were 49-46 twice for Bader and 48-47 for Davis, reflecting a bout that was tough to score. Both fighters had their moments throughout the fight, and it appeared Davis had the early edge in volume. But Bader’s late fight surge may have swayed the scores, as he came on strong in the fifth and final round, landing several big punches.

Davis worked the legs early with kicks and tried bait Bader into a takedown, a strategy that didn’t put him in top position. Bader kept a steady jab and tried to set up for his big right hand, only to miss most of them.

As with the first bout, which took place at UFC on FOX 14 in 2015, the light heavyweight veterans never really got out of second gear, and the audience let them know.

Davis had his best round in the third, landing a superman punch and left hook that stunned Bader. But by the fourth round, referee Dan Miragliotta issued a stern warning, telling both, “You’ve got to give the judges something to judge. You’re getting paid to fight.”

Bader seemed to sense he wasn’t making a big enough impression and closed into punching distance with Davis in the final frame, landing several big punches. But neither he or Davis was able to land that one decisive shot, and eventually the two settled in to the rhythm they’d set early in the night.

Despite the lackluster outing, Bader, who defected earlier this year to Bellator from the UFC, picks up a huge career accolade and extends his current win streak to three, while Davis gives up the best just seven months after taking it from Liam McGeary.

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

  • Ryan Bader def. Phil Davis via split decision (49-46, 47-48, 49-46) – to win light heavyweight title
  • James Gallagher def. Chinzo Machida via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:22
  • Heather Hardy def. Alice Yauger via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 4:47
  • Ryan Couture def. Haim Gozali via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Bradley Desir def. Nate Grebb via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:54
  • Anthony Giacchina def. Jerome Mickle via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 3:40
  • Matt Rizzo def. Sergio da Silva via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 3:48
  • Hugh McKenna def. John Salgado via submission (kimura) – Round 1, 4:06

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson and Mike Bohn contributed to this report on site in New York.)

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