Former UFC veteran and current Bellator Light Heavyweight champion Ryan “Darth” Bader will defend his title for the first time at Bellator 186.
Bellator MMA announced Thursday that the Bellator Light Heavyweight champion Ryan Bader will defend his title against promotional mainstay Linton Vassell. Bellator 186 will take place November 3 at the Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pennsylvania. The main card will air on Spike following prelims which will air live on SpikeTV.com or MMAjunkie.
Bader (23-5, 1-0 in Bellator) more recently made his debut at Bellator 180 in Madison Square Garden. Bader was stepping in on short notice for Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal who had pulled out due to injury. Bader would win a split decision victory in a rematch with then-champ Phil Davis to win the first major championship of his ten year career. Bader enjoyed a successful career while a member of the UFC’s roster from 2008 to 2016 defeating the likes of Ovince St-Preux, Phil Davis, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Rashad Evans. Bader has never lost a fight via judges decision.
Vassell (18-5, 7-2 in Bellator) is coming off the biggest win of his career against former Bellator Light Heavyweight champion Liam McGeary at Bellator 179. Vassell is currently riding a three-fight winning streak against impressive competition that also includes former UFC veteran Francis Carmont and former Bellator title challenger Emmanuel Newton. Vassell joined the Bellator roster in 2013 and has rounded off sevens wins overall and will look to add a Bellator championship in his 10th outing. Vassell holds an impressive finishing rate having won 14 of his 18 total wins by way of submission or TKO.
No other bouts have been added to the card however both Phil Davis and four-time All-American wrestling champion Ed Ruth have been announced to compete against opponents not yet named.