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

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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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

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

Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

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

Bellator champion Phil Davis: My respect is on the line in Ryan Bader title rematch

Filed under: News

NEW YORK – Phil Davis has different motivations from opponent Ryan Bader heading into Saturday’s Bellator light heavyweight title rematch.

Bader (22-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who is making his promotional debut at Bellator 180, which takes place at Madison Square Garden and airs on Spike prior to Bellator NYC on pay-per-view, has said the fact his fight purse is guaranteed will allow him to be more free with his fighting style and, as a result, he can be less worried about the consequences of an underwhelming or losing performance.

Davis (17-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) said he’s not fully understanding of that mentality. “Mr. Wonderful” believes that no matter the avenue, winning is always the most important final destination.

“I have the same thing to lose every fight, and it’s not money. It’s respect,” Davis told reporters at Bellator 180 media day. “It’s not even the fans’ respect. I have this thing in my head that I want to put forward to my fans, to myself. I want to perform, and that’s what I have to lose every time. Sure, you lose money. Sure, you might lose some fans. But that is not what I think about. I try to go in there and perform for myself and my coaches and my team.”

For this fight in particular, Davis, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, feels there’s a lot on the line. Not only is his title belt up for grabs, but he wants to avenge a January 2015 split-decision loss to No. 4-ranked Bader at UFC on FOX 14.

The first fight was close over the course of three rounds, but Bader was awarded the decision. Davis knows he could have won, as one judge believed he did, but he’s not willing to make excuses. He understands he made some poor judgements and said he intends on avoiding a repeat of the same mistakes.

“I never like to say, ‘Ah, it was so close it could have gone the other way,’” Davis said. “I look at that fight, and there was so much I did wrong that I just won’t allow to happen again. … I look at all my losses, and they’re all losses I really want to get back.”

Although it was a close fight, Bader’s win over Davis was also relatively underwhelming and light on action. Both men have high strikes defense statistics, which, paired with wrestling bases, can make for a stalemate affair.

Davis thinks both he and Bader have come a long way in the more than two years since their original meeting, though. And with five rounds at play, Davis doesn’t see a repeat, even if Bader is coming in with some momentum.

“I think he’s all around just better,” Davis said. “More than anything, fighting is about confidence, and he’s on a roll right now. So confidence is up for him. That’s what I see as being the biggest difference.”

For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie