With official confirmation, a fight which seemed inevitable with the signing of Ryan Bader has been made as Bellator have given ‘Darth’ an immediate title shot against current light heavyweight champion Phil Davis.
In a rematch from UFC on Fox 14, which Bader won via split-decision, Davis will take on the debuting fighter as the main event of Bellator 180, the TV run-in to Bellator’s New York PPV event.
Davis (17-3, 1 NC) made his Bellator debut in 2015 as part of a one-night light heavyweight tournament and successfully won the Grand Prix with two first round stoppages. With his tournament victory, Davis was then faced off against Muhammad Lawal in a number one contender fight which he won via unanimous decision before winning Bellator’s 205 lbs crown with another unanimous decision victory against Liam McGeary at Bellator 163.
Bader (22-5) meanwhile had been expected to face Muhammad Lawal in his debut bout and even squared off against ‘King Mo’ after he successfully defeated ‘Rampage’ Jackson at Bellator 175. With the change in plans, however, Bader will now fight for the title and will head into the event on back to back knockout victories over Ilir Latifi and Rogerio Nogueira.
Bellator 180 is also set to feature Irish prospect James Gallagher vs Chinzo Machida, the elder brother of Lyoto Machia, in a featherweight bout.