Bader wins light heavyweight title in Bellator’s NYC debut

first_imgHeart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Ryan Bader. APNEW YORK — Ryan Bader defeated Phil Davis by split decision in his Bellator debut to win the promotion’s light heavyweight championship on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.Bader (23-5) defeated Davis in an MMA bout for the second time in his career and his win capped the undercard in Bellator’s New York debut. Bader won a lackluster bout filled with more boos than blows. Referee Dan Miragliotta stepped between the fighters in the fourth round and warned them about inactivity — one of the few times the crowd cheered in a TV bout designed in part to get fans hooked on ordering Bellator’s second pay-per-view card.ADVERTISEMENT WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage MOST READ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Bader had edged out a split decision victory over Davis when the former Division I All-American wrestlers fought for the first time on a UFC card in January 2015. The loss was Davis’ last in UFC and he had won four straight Bellator fights headed into the rematch.The first fight was widely panned as boring and this one may have topped it for dormancy.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBellator made its Madison Square Garden debut seven months after UFC christened the arena in the MMA genre with a record $17.7 million gate. Bellator was going to fall well shy of that massive box office bank, but for the No. 2 MMA promotion in the United States, just snagging a spot at MSG was a needed credibility boost.Bellator will wait to find out if the pay-per-view buys (at $49.95 a clip) hit 200,000, the total the company aimed for to count as a major success. Bellator broadcast on pay-per-view for only the second time in promotional history, signaling another step in its growth as a rival for the industry-leading UFC. Bellator staged its only previous pay-per-view event in May 2014, shortly before CEO Scott Coker took over the promotion. Bellator, founded only in 2008, has failed to build that mainstream star that UFC has in the mold of Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor. Bellator has eschewed the PPV model and built its fan base on the strength of live TV cards on Spike (broadcast home of Saturday’s undercard) and by signing past-their-primetime MMA players to main event their biggest cards. Kimbo Slice, Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie and Rampage Jackson all took their turn in main event bouts more spectacle than sport that delivered record ratings for Bellator.Bellator did sign more than just a few 40-something fighters for its New York debut. Aaron Pico, 20, was set to make his pro debut against Zach Freeman. Pico advanced to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in wrestling last year and was a junior golden gloves champion in 2009. Bellator jumped to sign him in 2014 and has perhaps the top prospect in the MMA game.Heather Hardy, a boxer signed under promoter Lou Dibella, won her professional MMA debut with a bloody TKO over Alice Yauger. Hardy, of Brooklyn, New York, had the crowd going wild when she dropped Yauger with a vicious right. Hardy suffered a deep cut over her left eye following an accidental head-butt. Even the New York crowd gasped when blood gushed down Hardy’s face. Hardy wiped it off, then wiped out Yauger while the crowd roared.“I think I just fell in love. I’m hooked,” she said. “I can’t feel it, but I have stitches in my face.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games Pacquiao vows to leave Australia as world champion 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ What ‘missteps’? Bellator loaded the card with some of the biggest names in MMA to make a splash in New York.Wanderlei Silva takes on Chael Sonnen in the main event grudge match; a fight first scheduled for a UFC pay-per-view in 2014. The 40-year-old Silva, who made his name fighting for Pride in Japan, was set for his Bellator debut following a six-year run in UFC. Sonnen, also 40, was choked out by Tito Ortiz in his Bellator debut in January. Ortiz was on hand at the Garden.Fedor Emelianenko fights Matt Mitrione in a heavyweight bout. Emelianenko (also 40, continuing the trend) may be the greatest fighter to never sign with UFC. The Russian won his last five fights, but the days when he ruled in Japan as one of MMA’s most dynamic fighters and top heavyweights are well behind him.In a sign Bellator craves star power over super bouts, neither of the two main events were for a championship.Coker wore a headset as he sat cage side and watched a bank of monitors, former NFL great Herschel Walker in the first row behind him. Coker might have listened to the revamped broadcast lineup. Bellator signed Mike Goldberg, unceremoniously dumped last year by UFC after 20 years as the voice of the company, and veteran combat sports announcer Mauro Ranallo to bolster the broadcast booth.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img

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