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Bellator 180 live blog: Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader

Phil Davis and Ryan Bader headline Bellator 180 on Saturday night.
Esther Lin/MMAFighting.com

NEW YORK – This is the Bellator 180 live blog for Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader, a light heavyweight bout at Saturday night's Bellator event at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Davis, who has won four of his past five fights, will square off against Bader, who is making his Bellator debut, in a light heavyweight title fight.

Check out the Bellator 180 live blog below.

Round 1: The referee from this light heavyweight title bout is Dan Miragliotta. They touched gloves. Bader to center, and Davis waves his arms wide in survey. A lot of movement early, recon. Bader tries to swing big with the left, and Davis shoots on him. Bader keeps his balance but ends up with his back to links. Now they break. Davis said he wanted to be a more aggressive as a Bellator fighter, now that show money/purse money wasn’t an issue. Davis slams a leg kick into him, and that was audible all the way upstairs. Davis waving his leg out there, threatening the oblique kick — Bader rolling around him. Crowd already a little antsy. Davis loops a right kick into Bader’s thigh. Now they swing and each miss. Nice right cross there from Davis. Davis stalking, and he pushes Bader to fence. So far a lot of isolated shots. Davis with a snap jab that lands, and he has a right to follow. Crowd a chorus of boos. MMA Fighting scores R1 for Davis, 10-9

Round 2: Bader swings a wild left straight by Davis’ chin, misses narrowly. Davis corkscrewing his right hand, and he wings it — errant. Davis rolls to his right, and Davis tracks him down there on fence, but nothing doing. The roll. Davis keeping taht right hand cocked, not letting loose with frequency though. Bader trying to establish something by initiating, but he’s still very cautious on his entries. Crowd again assails the fighters with boos. MSG not loving it. Bader comes forward with a one-two, got pretty good connection on the latter. Now it’s Bader who briefly gets Davis to the mat, but Davis — ever buoyant — right back up. Davis trying to counter, and it’s like Bader knows that too well — that makes for some pretty serious lulls. Wow, Bader whizzers out of takedown attempt. Davis slides there while coming in, awkwardly. Now Bader throws some wicked leather on the fence, and one of those shots might have snuck through. A little blood on Davis’ lips. MMA Fighting scores R2 for Davis, 10-9 (20-18 overall)

Round 3: Davis changing levels, tries a low kick, a low punch, and now a high kick. Left jab from Bader lands and there’s a huge right hand superman punch to hook from Davis, lands clean! Sweat came flying off Bader’s face, but he seems okay. As he reels back, Davis with a nasty whipping leg kick. Another right hand from Davis, and Bader tries to reprimand him with a body kick. Misses. Some blood over Bader’s eye. Davis with a wild combo, shades of the old Davis with the awkward stand-up. Still, he pursues. Crowd lets up some boos again. The action is picking up though. Bader is the one backing up on the exchanges, as Davis is making the action. Bader trying to time out a big shot...might be running a little low on gas. We’ll see. Now Bader shoots in and takes Davis down, and the crowd likes that. They are scrambling, and Davis ends up in side control. Nice end sequence. MMA Fighting scores R3 for Davis, 10-9, (30-27 for Davis overall)

Round 4: Championship rounds, and they touch gloves. Bader to center, and he’s got his hands up. That left jab is snapping, but Davis is staying long here, out of range. A lot of improvement in that stand-up realm for Mr. Wonderful. Ref warns them about something, didn’t catch what. Left jab from Bader as action resumes, and now Davis throws a right to set up a takedown attempt, but Bader is resistant. He doesn’t budge, and back to center. Now there’s a hard right uppercut from Bader, and that hurt. Landed clean to Davis’s chin, and he lands another. Davis moves in an throws a high kick, looping, that zooms to the top of Bader’s head. Just grazed him. Davis huffing some air, but doesn’t seem to be losing too much steam. Both fighters glistening with sweat and nursing small cuts. Bader’s left eye starting to swell. They dance, and Bader throws nice body kick to chorus of boos. Crowd spoiled perhaps from the earlier action. Bader dashes off a right hand and that’s the bell. This fight will have some wild score cards. MMA Fighting scores R4 for Bader, 10-9 (39-37 for Davis so far)

Round 5: More of the same. Davis is stalking forward and Bader rolling out. Bader with a high kick and he eats a left jab. Nice right hand there from Davis snapped Bader’s head straight back. A lot of feints and dekes. The jabs came out simultaneously on that exchange, and each caught the knuckle. Slow moving stuff, but just as I say that Bader changes levels and takes Davis down — canvas makes a big boom. Davis coolly scoots himself to fence, and stands back up. They reset. A lot of movement, few flying things. Crowd lets up that boo. There’s a nice trade as Davis whiffs on a heavy shot. I think Bader ducks low for another takedown, but this time Davis remains upright. Clacks. It’s over. MMA FIghting scores R5 for Bader, 10-9 (48-47 overall for Davis).

Bellator 180 official results: Ryan Bader def. Phil Davis via split decision (49-46, 47-48, 49-46)

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