The Bellator brand of MMA is returning to the familiar Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut for tonight’s Bellator 163. The main event will see the light heavyweight king Liam McGeary look to defend his crown against a title-hungry Phil Davis. The night will also see the Bellator debut for longtime MMA and kickboxing veteran Sergei Kharitonov as he takes on Javy Ayala in a clash of heavyweights. Bellator 163 can be seen tonight, live on Spike TV at 9:00 P.M. EDT with the prelims streaming online.
Main Card: Spike TV at 9:00 P.M. EDT
Liam McGeary (11-0 MMA; 8-0 Bellator) vs. Phil Davis (16-2 MMA; 3-0 Bellator): Light Heavyweight Tittle
Powerful punches and slick submissions have been the M.O. for Bellator’s first British champion Liam McGeary. After winning the Bellator light heavyweight title from Emanuel Newton at Bellator 134, Liam McGeary successfully defended his strap by submitting Tito Ortiz at Bellator 142 by way of inverted triangle. McGeary underwent knee surgery following his first title defense, which may or may not be a factor in this fight with Phil Davis. Will Liam McGeary come into this fight 100% healthy, and will the 205 champion be able to use his lengthy stature to keep “Mr. Wonderful” at range, where the Brit’s bolos will be most effective?
Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis has painted himself right into the Bellator light heavyweight title picture by taking out three of Bellator’s biggest names in less than one years time. After stopping both Emanuel Newton and Francis Carmont in the first round at Bellator 142’s 4-man tournament, “Mr. Wonderful” went to war with King Mo Lawal at Bellator 154, nearly finishing the Bellator veteran in the closing moments of the fight. Will Davis be able to keep the momentum rolling and finally capture a world title in MMA?
Saad Awad (19-8 MMA; 7-4 Bellator) vs. Brennan Ward (13-4 MMA; 8-4 Bellator): Welterweight
Saad Awad will be returning to the Bellator welterweight division, where he recently stopped Cyborg Santos with strikes in the first round at Bellator 154 back in May of this year. With seven submissions to his credit, look for Awad to work behind his long punches in search of a takedown opportunity to get Brennan Ward to the ground, where he has been stopped before.
Brennan Ward was on a 4-fight winning streak, all by way of finish no less, before succumbing to a Cyborg Santos heel hook, in just 30 seconds, at Bellator 153 in April of this year. With the Connecticut crowd behind him, look for Ward to want to work his explosive boxing in hopes of adding to the already eight KO’s on his résumé. Having only gone the distance once in his 17-fight MMA career, you can expect Brennan Ward to either come home with his shield, or on it.
Marloes Coenen (23-7 MMA; 2-1 Bellator) vs. Talita Nogueira (6-0 MMA; Bellator Debut): Featherweight
NOTE - This fight is now off the card due to Nogueira’s inability to make weight.
MMA pioneer Marloes Coenen is looking to rebound after dropping her first Bellator bout to Alexis Dufresne back in May of this year. It should be noted that Dufresne was unable make the 145 lb. weight requirement, so the match was held at a catchweight of 150. Will Marloes Coenen return to her winning ways and add to her astounding 20 professional MMA finishes in hopes of solidifying her spot atop the Bellator featherweight division?
Grappling sensation Talita Nogueira is set to make her promotional debut under the Bellator banner by taking on a highly experienced veteran of the sport. Nogueira is 6-0 in her MMA career as she has submitted 4 of her victims while knocking out the other 2. Will Talita Nogueira be able to get the fight to the ground and become the second consecutive person to upset MMA pioneer Marloes Coenen? The answer is NO, as Nogueira was unable make weight.
Paul Daley (38-14-2 MMA; 3-1 Bellator) vs. Derek Anderson (14-2 MMA; 5-2 Bellator): Welterweight
Note - This fight is now off the card due to a rough weight cut by Daley
Powerful striker Paul “Semtex” Daley has earned 30 out of his 38 wins by way of finish over the course of his 16-year professional MMA career. Looking to avoid back-to-back losses after coming up short against Douglas Lima at Bellator 158 back in July of this year, “Semtex” is looking for a huge win over a less experienced opponent in Derek Anderson. With over 50 MMA fights on his résumé, will “Semtex” be able to overcome youthful exuberance and dispatch his up and coming opposition?
Derek Anderson will be moving up to the welterweight weight class from a lightweight division in which the 26 year-old went 5-2. For better or worse, it is unforeseeable the extent that the weight shift will play in the game of Derek Anderson. With solid cardio, high volume striking, and a come right at you mentality, will Derek Anderson be able to set a pace that a veteran in Paul Daley can no longer match?
Sergei Kharitonov (23-5 MMA; Bellator Debut) vs. Javy Ayala (9-5 MMA; 4-2 Bellator): Heavyweight
Although he will be making his Bellator debut, Sergei Kharitonov has utilized his oxing and combat sambo background to fight, and best, a who’s who of top-flight competition in not just MMA, but the kickboxing world as well. For example; Semmy Schilt, Jerome Le Banner, Pedro Rizzo, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, and Andrei Arlovski have all fallen short against the Russian heavyweight. Kharitonov brings a wealth of experience with him into the Bellator cage, but that also comes at a cost of high mileage. Having fought some of the best heavyweights that combat sports had/has to offer, it is only natural for wear and tear to accumulate. Does Sergei Kharitonov still have what it takes to thrive atop a a major MMA promotion?
With a Bellator record of 4-2, Javy Ayala, and his fearless approach, have yet to see a judges decision. Ayala is willing to stand in the pocket and trade, but has also been known to throw heavy kicks and flying knees. Look for Javy Ayala to lean on his explosiveness and lack of predictability to try and overcome the experience and boxing combinations of Sergei Kharitonov.
Prelims: Streaming Online on BloodyElbow.com at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT
Ed Ruth vs. Dustin Collins-Miles: Middleweight
Tyrell Fortune vs. Cody Miskell: Heavyweight
Neiman Gracie vs. Rudy Bears: Catchweight
Josh Diekmann vs. Tyler King: Heavyweight
Blair Tugman vs. Walter Smith-Cotito: Featherweight
Michael Zichelle vs. Tim Caron: Middleweight
Ilya Kotau vs. Carlos Corriea: Welterweight
Sarah Payant vs. Hannah Regina: Flyweight
Keenan Raymond vs. Kastroit Xhema:Welterweight
James Boran vs. Vinicius De Jesus: Welterweight
Thomas English vs. Christopher Foster: Featherweight