Bellator 186 is set to host a unique event at the Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State University on Nov. 3, and it appears as though there will be plenty of PSU and Pennsylvania talent all over the card.
The card is headlined by a light heavyweight title bout, where champion Ryan Bader will defend his belt for the first time against Linton Vassell. The rest of the main card features a pair of former Nittany Lion wrestlers in Phil Davis and Ed Ruth in separate bouts, as well as a lightweight bout featuring Saad Awad vs. Zach Freeman.
That leaves most of the preliminary card to be filled with local talent, as well as Bellator’s up-and-coming prospects. After scouring social media and checking with our sources, we’ve learned of a few more fighters who are expected to be part of the event. It’s important to note that none of these bouts are official as of yet, and won’t be until they are confirmed by Bellator officials.
Pittsburgh native Francis Healy (7-4) recently announced on his Facebook page that he’ll take on New Jersey’s Frank Buenafuente (7-4) in a featherweight bout. Healy is coming off of a big win over Dave Roberts at Xtreme Caged Combat 29 in August, and “Mad Dog” looks to continue a hot streak as he’s won three of his last four. Buenafuente is a World Series of Fighting veteran, but he’s spent most of his career competing in the Ring of Combat organization. He’s coming off of back-to-back losses against top prospect Julio Arce under the ROC banner.
Another fighter who will be in action is Central Pennsylvania native Mike Putnam (1-1), who announced his bout via Facebook as well. Putnam, who now lives in Long Island and trains at Long Island MMA with UFC fighters Ryan LaFlare and Dennis Bermudez, as well as former Bellator champion Marcos Galvao, will fight for the first time since 2014. In that bout, he dropped a decision against R.J. Buck.
Putnam’s former Team Titan teammate Ethan Goss (3-3) also announced his inclusion via social media, and MyMMANews.com later confirmed that he’ll take on New Jersey’s Andrew Salas (3-1) in a featherweight bout. Goss is another Central PA native and he has won three of four after starting his career 0-2. Salas comes in off of a pair of wins earlier this year.
Another fighter who hinted that he could be part of the card via social media is Mike Wilkins (7-4). The Pittsburgh native has had his last four bouts under the CFFC banner, but he’s coming off of back-to-back losses and could look to get a big win in the Bellator cage in November.
The fight card is still coming together, so stay tuned to BluegrassMMA.com for more info as it becomes available.
Ryan Bader (c) vs. Linton Vassell – Light Heavyweight Title
Ed Ruth vs. TBA
Phil Davis vs. TBA
Zach Freeman vs. Saad Awad
Dominic Mazzotta vs. Matt Lozano
Francis Healy vs. Frank Buenafuente
Mike Putnam vs. TBA
Ethan Goss vs. Andrew Salas
*subject to change