Liam McGeary was no match for Phil Davis.
“Mr. Wonderful” outclassed McGeary across five uncompetitive rounds to capture the Bellator MMA light heavyweight championship in the Bellator 163 (online betting) headliner on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Davis swept the scorecards with 50-43, 50-45 and 50-44 marks from the cageside judges, as he was awarded multiple 10-8 rounds.
Davis (17-3) painted a masterpiece. The Alliance MMA standout struck for takedowns and advanced to full mount in all five rounds, as he methodically dismantled the previously unbeaten McGeary (11-1). Davis avoided danger on the feet and kept the Englishman off-balance with a steady diet of leg kicks and basic one-twos. However, he did his best work on the ground. There, Davis shredded the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt’s guard with sublime positional control, smooth guard passes and damaging, elbow-laden ground-and-pound.
The 32-year-old Davis has posted four straight wins since arriving in Bellator a little more than a year ago.
Ward Hook Stops AwadBrennan Ward wiped out former Gladiator Challenge champion Saad Awad with a clean left hook and follow-up punches in the first round of their welterweight co-main event. Awad (19-9) succumbed to blows 1:26 into Round 1.
Ward (14-4) cut off the cage, knocked the Californian off-balance and drew him into a firefight. Awad obliged, to his detriment. Ward cut loose with power punches along the fence, ate a few shots in return and blasted the Millennia MMA rep with a left hook that sent him crashing to the canvas. Soon after, referee Kevin MacDonald was on the scene to call for the stoppage.
The 28-year-old Ward has rattled off five wins across his past six outings.
Ayala Overhand KOs KharitonovJavy Ayala authored a shocking upset, as he knocked out Pride Fighting Championships veteran Sergei Kharitonov in the first round of their heavyweight showcase. Kharitonov (23-6) hit the deck unconscious and twitching 16 seconds into Round 1.
Ayala (10-5) saw his initial takedown attempt stymied by the 36-year-old Russian’s sprawl, retreated back to his feet and uncorked a thunderous overhand right to the side of the head. The blow zapped Kharitonov instantly, as he fell backward and bounced violently off the canvas. He had not been knocked out since Aleksander Emelianenko did the honors more than a decade ago.
Ayala, 28, has won five of his last seven fights.
Gracie Armbar Submits BearsNeiman Gracie kept his perfect professional record intact, as he submitted journeyman Rudy Bears with a first-round armbar in a featured catchweight confrontation at 175 pounds. Bears (16-15) conceded defeat 4:39 into Round 1, losing for the eighth time in 11 appearances.
Gracie (5-0) was calculated and patient. The 27-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt executed a trip takedown midway through the round, climbed briefly to mount and advanced to the back. He secured his position with a body triangle, cut off Bears’ escape routes and went to work on a rear-naked choke. Gracie then transitioned to the armbar with time ticking down, forcing the tapout.
Gracie has won all five of his fights since turning pro in 2013, four of them by submission.