Bellator is set to make its debut at Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State University in University Park, Pa. on Friday, November 3 for Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell.
In the main event of Bellator 186, newly crowned light heavyweight champion Ryan “Darth” Bader (23-5) will make his first title defense against British sensation Linton “The Swarm” Vassell (18-5, 1 NC).
In addition, two Bellator competitors who spent their college years as members of the Penn State Nittany Lions wrestling team, Phil Davis (17-4, 1 NC) and Ed Ruth (3-0), will return to their alma mater to compete in MMA for the first time in their careers. Their opponents are yet to be determined.
Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell will be broadcast live and free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App. Tickets start at just $25 and will be available at the Bryce Jordan Center Box Office and Ticketmaster. A Bellator Nation presale takes place Wednesday, August 30 – Thursday, August 31, while public on-sale begins Friday, September 1 at 10 a.m. ET. Additional bouts will be announcing in the coming weeks.
Bader returns to the cage for the first time since dethroning former Penn State wrestling standout Phil Davis as light heavyweight champion in June at Bellator 180. Fighting out of Tempe, Ariz., Bader began his professional career on an impressive run, steamrolling the competition en route to a 12-fight winning streak and winning one of the most competitive seasons of The Ultimate Fighter in franchise history on Spike in 2008. “Darth” continued his path of dominance by collecting wins over some of the 205-pound division’s top talent, including victories over former world champions Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans, as well as a previous win over Phil Davis. Currently riding a three-fight winning streak with victories in eight of his past nine bouts, the former two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler from Arizona State University will look to protect his belt on November 3.
Currently training at Combat Club in South Florida alongside Matt Mitrione, Michael Chandler and Robbie Lawler, Vassell has once again put himself in position to fight for Bellator’s 205-pound title. After making his professional debut in 2008, the Milton Keynes, England native has tallied 18 victories, including 14 finishes and 10 coming inside the first round, as well as seven wins over nine bouts in just four years with Bellator. Following three consecutive victories over two former champs in Liam McGeary and Emanuel Newton, as well as Francis Carmont, the 34-year-old Vassell will attempt to become the second-ever Bellator light heavyweight champion who hails from the United Kingdom.
A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Phil “Mr. Wonderful” attended Harrisburg High School and would go on to an extremely successful wrestling career at Penn State University. After transitioning to the sport MMA, Davis made his pro debut in 2008 and went on to win his first nine bouts. He’s established himself as one of the best light heavyweights in all of MMA, winning the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix and Bellator 205-pound title. The San Diego-based fighter now boasts career wins over Liam McGeary,Alexander Gustafsson, Lyoto Machida, “King Mo” Lawal, Glover Teixeira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Francis Carmont.
One of the most celebrated wrestlers in Penn State University history, Ed Ruth has followed in the footsteps of Phil Davis by pursuing a career in MMA. The 3x NCAA D1 champion, who now trains out of Fresno, Calif., makes his fourth appearance inside the Bellator cage looking to keep his undefeated streak intact. With three consecutive KO finishes, Ruth has established himself as a new threat in the middleweight division. Born in Harrisburg, Pa., Ruth returns to familiar territory for this upcoming bout with plans to put on another exciting bout for his hometown fans.
Updated Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell Fight Card:
Light Heavyweight Championship Main Event: Ryan Bader (23-5) vs. Linton Vassell (18-5, 1 NC)
Light Heavyweight Feature Bout: Phil Davis (17-4, 1 NC) vs. TBA
Middleweight Feature Bout: Ed Ruth (3-0) vs. TBA