Phil Davis will be making his first Bellator light heavyweight title defense later this summer, and now he has a new opponent.
The champion will now face Ryan Bader at Bellator 180 on June 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The news was first announced by Davis on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. Bader was originally scheduled to headline the Spike TV event against Muhammed Lawal, but “King Mo” was forced to withdraw from the card after sustaining an undisclosed injury.
This title fight is a rematch, as both fighters had previously fought at UFC on FOX 14 back in 2015 where Bader outpointed Davis to win a split decision. Since their bout at at UFC on FOX 14, Davis signed with Bellator where he picked up four straight wins, including most recently a decision win over then champ Liam McGeary to captured Bellator light heavyweight gold. Meanwhile, Bader put together a record of 3-1 with his lone loss comping to Anthony Johnson and then left the UFC to sign with Bellator last month after becoming a free agent in November.
Bellator 180 is scheduled to take place on June 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Bellator 180 is the Spike TV card underneath Bellator NYC, the pay-per-view card headlined by Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva.