For the second time in history, the sport of mixed martial arts is being contested in the historic Madison Square Garden in New York City.
On Saturday, Bellator MMA hosted one of their most stacked cards in the history of the promotion.
In the Bellator 180 main event, Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Phil Davis defended his title against Ryan Bader, in his Bellator MMA debut.
Both fighters struggled to close the distance early in the fight. Davis went for a takedown, but couldn’t get Bader down. Bader went on to begin to land combinations. Davis went for another takedown, but couldn’t get his opponent to the mat. Both fighters began having success with their kicks, but neither fighter produced much damage in the opening round.
Both fighters continued to struggle closing their distance with their punches. Bader managed to dodge all of Davis’ reaching strikes. Bader had more success finding his target compared to Davis. Later in the round, Davis once again went for a takedown but couldn’t secure it. Towards the end of the round, Bader got more aggressive but didn’t land any significant shots.
Bader and Davis exchanged kicks to start the middle round, but neither could connect with their punches. Later, Davis landed a superman punch, followed by another strike. For the remainder of the round, both fighters struggled to land significant offense. At the end of the round, Bader secured the first takedown of the fight, but Davis managed to reverse the position and end the round on top.
Both fighters continued to struggle to land on their opponents. The referee later stepped in and warned the fighters about their activity. Davis went for a takedown, but couldn’t get Bader to the ground. Bader then landed a clean uppercut. Bader continued to have more success with his striking, while Davis still had difficulties landing. However, Davis was the more active striker. The round ended with Bader landing a couple jabs.
Bader was the aggressor to start the final round, but Davis continued to be more active. Bader landed a kick to the body and Davis followed with a punch to the chin. Bader later landed a second takedown, but Davis fought his way back to his feet. Bader then pushed Davis against the cage, but he escaped. The fight ended with both guys swinging. Davis’ eye began to swell. Bader went for a takedown, but Davis stuffed it. Davis landed the final punch of the fight.
Ryan Bader def. Phil Davis by split decision (49-46, 47-49, 59-46)