Ryan Bader worked for this moment through his whole career. Whether pretty or dirty, graceful or ugly, unanimous or split, he was going to hold the title. That moment finally became a reality on Saturday night. At Bellator NYC, he was not going to be deterred by Phil Davis, a previous nemesis of his. Following a split division, Bader became the circuit's light heavyweight champion, an honor he felt was long overdue.

Bader takes home the light heavyweight title

More people were interested in Bader's entrance to the fight than the fight itself. The graphic package displayed was full of force -- "Star Wars" force that is -- with a Darth Vader-like figure in control.

Then, "Paint It Black" came screaming out of the speakers. For Bellator NYC to actually live up to the entrance, the fight would need to be memorable.

Unfortunately, it failed to be that way for the second straight time. Fans were displeased throughout the event as neither fighter showed much more than basic moves and unsubstantiated punches. Even the referee scolded the fighters for not acting like paid professionals during the evening. Bader landed several massive blows in the final round, however, which is likely what prompted a split decision victory (49-46, 49-46, 47-48) in his favor from the Bellator NYC judges. The victory continued a three-fight winning streak and earned him a title during his debut with the company.

Other Bellator NYC results

The Bader fight was the last of the preliminaries to air on Spike. James Gallagher defeated Chinzo Machida via submission in the first round of that portion of the night, while Heather Hardy defeated Alice Yauger by TKO in Round 3. During the Bellator 180 preliminaries that aired on MMAjunkie, Ryan Couture, Bradley Desir, Anthony Giacchina, Matt Rizzo, and Hugh McKenna were the victorious fighters.

The main portion of Bellator NYC took place on pay-per-view. Douglas Lima defeated Lorenz Larkin to retain his welterweight title. Zach Freeman defeated the highly-hyped Aaron Pico just 24 seconds into Pico's professional debut via submission. Brent Primus also made short work of Michael Chandler to win the lightweight title.

Matt Mitrione knocked out Fedor Emelianenko, while Neiman Gracie defeated Dave Marfone via submission. The long night finally ended with Chael Sonnen defeating Wanderlei Silva via a unanimous decision in a major grudge match between the two fighters.

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