Bellator 186 has been given a date and location, along with a few announcements.
The main event features light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader as he looks to make his first title defense when he takes on the rightful #1 contender Linton Vassell. Also on the card; Harrisburg-alumni “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis and undefeated prospect Ed Ruth.
The new was announced early Thursday morning on PennLive.
“We only do eight of these shows per year, so our production is going to be big,” Bellator President Scott Coker told PennLive. “The lighting is going to be big, the sound is going to be big, and we are going to have a great mixed martial arts event.
Ryan “Darth” Bader vs. Linton “The Swarm” Vassell
Bader (23-5) was released from the UFC early this year despite having won two-straight in the promotion to close out 2016. It didn’t take long post-release for the announcement to be made that he had signed with Bellator MMA.
Bader was initially supposed to debut with the promotion against “King Mo” at Bellator NYC. After “King Mo” Lawal pulled out of the fight, he was promptly replaced by the light heavyweight champion Phil Davis. In the lead-in fight to the Bellator NYC pay-per-view, Bader defeated Davis by split decision to become the new light heavyweight champion.
Vassell (19-5, 1NC) enters his second Bellator MMA title opportunity having won three-straight. In his most recent outing, Vassell submitted former champion Liam McGeary in the third round. Prior to this, he won two in-a-row against UFC-veteran Francis Carmont and another former champion in the form of Emanuel Newton.
In his first Bellator MMA title shot in 2014, the former UCMMA Champion took on Emanuel Newton in what would be their first of two fights. Vassell was doing excellently, seemingly being just a few minutes away from becoming the new light heavyweight champion. Unfortunately for him, he was submitted by Newton nearly 21 minutes into the 25-minute fight.
As previously stated; PennLive also reports that Phil Davis and Ed Ruth will both be competing on the card, though neither have an opponent as of writing this.
Davis (17-4, 1NC) returns to Penn State having won four of his last six fights. In his most recent outing, he lost the Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Championship following a split decision loss to Ryan Bader. Prior to this, he won four-straight in the Bellator cage. Before this stellar four-fight stretch, he was released from the UFC following a loss to Ryan Bader.
Ruth (3-0) made his highly-anticipated MMA debut in November of 2016 and has since won three-straight, all by knockout. He is one of the best middleweight prospects in the game today, and he hopes to keep his undefeated streak alive when he returns to Penn State at Bellator 186.
‘Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell’ will take place at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania. A venue that could hold about 16,000 people if set up correctly.
The event will be headlined by the title fight between Bader and Vassell. Opponents for Phil Davis, Ed Ruth should be announced in the near future.