Phil Davis was a champion long before entering into the world of MMA.
Friday night at Bellator 163, he finally added gold in the sport to his resume, defeating Liam McGeary to become light heavyweight champion. “Mr. Wonderful” swept the judges score cards, including a 50-43 on one of them decision in his favor.
Using his effective wrestling and jiu-jitsu defense, Davis was able to hand McGeary his first pro loss. He was on the cusp of title contention before in the UFC, but never competed for the belt.
Davis won a one-night tournament in his Bellator debut to become No. 1 contender, and defended that status with a win over Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal earlier this year.
In the co-main event, Brennan Ward knocked out Saad Awad in the first round, following a 16-second knockout by Javy Ayala of the debuting Sergei Kharitonov.
Neiman Gracie picked up a first round submission vs. Rudy Bears in the other main card bout on Spike.
Top prospects Ed Ruth and Tyrell Fortune each got their MMA starts off on successful notes, earning first round finishes. Like Davis, the two are former NCAA wrestling standouts.
Complete results can be found below:
Phil Davis def. Liam McGeary via unanimous decision (50-43, 50-45, 50-44) to become Bellator light heavyweight champion
Brennan Ward def. Saad Awad via KO (strike) at 1:26 of Round 1
Neiman Gracie def. Rudy Bears via submission (armbar) at 4:39 of Round 1
Javy Ayala def. Sergei Kharitonov via KO (strike) at :16 of Round 1
Ed Ruth def. Dustin Collins-Miles via TKO (strikes) at 3:19 of Round 1
Tyrell Fortune def. Cody Miskell via TKO (strikes) at 2:22 of Round 1
Tim Caron def. Steve Skrzat via TKO (strikes) at 1:22 of Round 1
Hannah Regina def. Sarah Payant via submission (armbar) at 4:51 of Round 1
Tim Caron def. Steve Skrzat via TKO (strikes) at 1:22 of Round 2
Blair Tugman def. Walter Smith-Cotito via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Christopher Foster def. Thomas English via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Tyler King def. Josh Diekmann via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:39 of Round 2
Carlos Corriea def. Ilya Kotau via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Vinicius De Jesus def. James Boran via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:55 of Round 2