In his first attempt at Bellator gold, Ryan Bader won the light heavyweight title with a split decision over Phil Davis Saturday night in the main event of Bellator 180.
The card aired live on Spike from Madison Square Garden, serving as the warm-up to Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva on pay-per-view.
Bader, who was making his Bellator debut after signing with the promotion following a lengthy run with the UFC, improved to 2-0 vs. Davis. Back in 2015, “Darth” also downed Davis via split decision. Bader is now 8-1 over his last nine fights and 23-5 for his career.
The loss was the first for Davis (17-4) since that defeat to Bader, snapping his four-fight win streak.
In the co-main event, James Gallagher scored a first round submission victory over Chinzo Machida, locking in a rear-naked choke for the finish. The only other bout that aired on Spike saw Heather Hardy finish Alice Yauger in the third round.
On the prelims that streamed live online, Ryan Couture, Bradley Desire, Anthony Giacchina, Matt Rizzo and Hugh McKenna were all victorious.
Below are complete results from Bellator 180:
Ryan Bader def. Phil Davis via split decision (49-46, 47-48, 49-46) to become Bellator light heavyweight champion
James Gallagher def. Chinzo Machida via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:22 of Round 1
Heather Hardy def. Alice Yauger via TKO (strikes) at 3:47 of Round 3
Ryan Couture def. Haim Gozali via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Bradley Desir def. Nate Grebb via KO (strike) at 2:54 of Round 1
Anthony Giacchina def. Jerome Mickle via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:40 of Round 3
Matt Rizzo def. Sergio da Silva via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 3:48 of Round 3
Huge McKenna def. John Salgardo via submission (kimura) at 4:06 of Round 1