On Friday evening, November 4, 2016, in the Bellator 163 Main Event held in Uncasville, Connecticut, Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis (4-0 in the Bellator cage, 17-3 on his career), from the Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista, Calif. by way of the Penn State University wrestling team, defeated Liam McGeary using his trusty wrestling experience to earn him Bellator’s light heavyweight title.
Davis, who has always been dangerous on the mat, has also become a dangerous knockout artist. The 32-year-old, undefeated since joining the Bellator MMA roster in April of 2015, has seen his stock rise exponentially since joining the Bellator organization. With his wrestling pedigree, Davis was able to nullify the world-class jiu-jitsu of the much taller Renzo Gracie-trained former champion Liam McGeary. For nearly 25-minutes, “Mr. Wonderful” maintained top pressure on the New York-native, frustrating McGeary and finally putting him into desperation mode in the fifth and final round. McGeary fought valiantly to both stop and submit the longtime Alliance MMA-product, but in the end, Davis earned a unanimous decision with scorecards of 50-43, 50-45, 50-44. McGeary, who suffered the first loss of his young career, was humble in defeat, admitting that while Davis was the better man throughout their fight, he will be back to reclaim what he feels is rightfully his.
Returning home to San Diego with the new belt in tow, Davis now sets his sights on his pregnant wife, who is due to give birth to his second son on Monday, November 7th. Warning to all San Diegans! On Monday, if you see Phil Davis on the highway and he looks to be in a hurry, it is not road rage. Mr. Davis and his wife are merely on the way to the hospital for the birth of their child. Please do not get in their way. Pull your car over and let him pass.
Relevant or not, this reporter has always felt Mr. Davis’ strongest suit is his dynamic personality behind a microphone. The comments we’ve heard… “Davis is so funny, so unique, engaging, both inside and out of that cage. Plus, he a popular guy. He kind of reminds you of that funny man, the show host, Arsenio Hall. As a matter of fact, Hall could learn a few things from Davis. Check out his delivery on this Bellator promo.
The question now is, who’s left for Davis to fight? With Davis doing such a great job in the cage, he has essentially cleaned house in that Bellator light heavyweight division. Mr. Wonderful has defeated McGeary, “King Mo” Lawal, Emanuel Newton and Francis Carmont.
On the new light heavyweight champion’s undercard you had Brennan Ward (r) and Saad Awad (l) going toe-to-toe for just 86 seconds until “Irish” caught “the Assassin” with an uppercut that sent the Palestinian front first to the canvas. With the knockout, Ward moves into sixth place on the all-time list of KO Kings under the promotion’s banner, and now sets his sights on a future matchup against the elite at 170-pounds.
After finding out they would be competing live on SPIKE TV less than 24 hours before entering the Bellator MMA cage, Neiman Gracie (5-0) made quick work of Rudy Bears (16-15) by latching on to an armbar just 4:39 into the opening frame and forcing the tap from Mr. “Bad News”. Gracie was able to add to his impressive submission record, which has now reached three victories in just three Bellator MMA appearances, including a pair of first-round submissions. The 27-year-old was also able to please Royce Gracie, who was cornering his bout.
Bam! In just 16 seconds, Javy Ayala (blue trunks) was able to spoil the return of Sergei Kharitonov (black trunks). In what many people believed would be the triumphant return of Kharitonov (23-6) to the sport of MMA, Ayala (10-5) ruled that out almost immediately. Ayala sent the big Russian heavyweight to the canvas in a heap following an overhand right just 16 seconds into their match. With the victory, “Eye Candy” immediately inserted himself into consideration for a match with either Bobby Lashley or Matt Mitrione. In his last two outings, the Northern California-native has finished his foe in the opening round by way of stoppage.
Preliminary Card Results
Ed Ruth (1-0) defeated Dustin Collins-Miles (0-1) via TKO (punches) at 3:19 of round one
Tyrell Fortune (1-0) defeated Cody Miskell (0-1) via TKO (punches) at 2:22 of round one
Tim Caron (6-0) defeated Steve Skrzat (8-9) via TKO at 1:22 of round one
Hannah Regina (1-0) defeated Sarah Payant (1-4) via submission (arm bar) at 4:51 of round one
Tim Caron (6-0) defeated Steve Skrzat (8-9) via TKO at 1:22 of round two
Blair Tugman (9-6) defeated Walter Smith-Cotito (4-5, 1 NC) via unanimous decision (29-28)
Christopher Foster (10-4) defeated Thomas English (6-7) via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Tyler King (12-4) defeated Josh Diekmann (15-8, 1 NC) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:39 of round two
Carlos Corriea (2-0) defeated Ilya Kotau (1-2) via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Vinicius De Jesus (5-1) defeated James Boran (6-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:55 of round 2