35-Year-Old Bellator Light Heavyweight 12-3-0
February 16, 2018 Liam McGeary News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
McGeary lost to Vadim Nemkov via TKO (leg kicks) at 4:02 of Round 3 at Bellator 194 on Friday in Uncasville, Conn.
This was a tough fight for McGeary. He had the reach advantage, but he did not have the striking acumen to compete with Nemkov in a striking battle. Nemkov used his feints to set up leg kicks, and he did it throughout the fight. Those strikes turned out to be the story in this fight. After absorbing the strike throughout the fight, McGeary could not take anymore in the last round, and the referee stopped the fight. McGeary began his career with 11-straight victories. However, he has now lost three of his last four bouts. His only victory during the stretch came out of his weight class at heavyweight.
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Fantasy AnalysisSince losing his title to Phil Davis in November 2016, McGeary has been able to bounce back with a win over Brett McDermott, but was then submitted by Linton Vassell during his last trip to the cage in May. Nemkov may be a slight step down from title-caliber opponents, but his stoppage power should not be underestimated. He defeated Philipe Lins via first-round TKO in his Bellator debut, and has picked up several additional first-round KOs under the Rizin banner. Should McGeary be able to outlast an early onslaught, however, one would think McGeary's experience edge would be enough to propel him to victory.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGeary gained a last notice replacement in Bubba Daniel when Mohammad "King Mo" Lawal went down with an undisclosed injury last week. However, he has since suffered the same fate himself. The bout has been scratched from Bellator 185 and the promotion is instead promoting a women's flyweight matchup between Ana Julaton and Lisa Blaine for the main card.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGeary had originally been scheduled to take on Muhammad "King Mo" Lawal at the event, but the matchup was cancelled after Lawal was forced to withdraw with a knee injury. Instead, the former champion will take on a former UFC middleweight in the 34-year-old McDaniel, a fighter that has been away from Bellator since November 2015. McGeary may be 1-1 since losing his belt to Phil Davis, but a short-notice matchup where he'll be a heavy favorite could be just what he needs to start building momentum once again.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGeary was slated to take on "King Mo" as a co-headliner for Bellator 185 on Oct. 20, but is currently without an opponent for the matchup. Bellator officials are hoping to keep the McGeary on the card and are actively searching for a new opponent for the light heavyweight. No replacement has been found as of Tuesday.
Fantasy AnalysisThis was supposed to be a comeback fight for McGeary after he lost the promotion's light heavyweight title to Phil Davis in his last fight. However, the same issues that plagued him against Davis doomed him here. Vassell was able to take McGeary down and pass his guard at will. McGeary is known as a dangerous submission threat on the ground, but if he gives up the mount, he is virtually neutralized. Once Vassell knew he could have the mount whenever he wanted, it was only a matter of time until he stopped the fight via submission. McGeary will need to go back to the drawing board, because the Bellator light heavyweight division is suddenly loaded with quality wrestlers.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGeary didn't seem too interested in playing defense Friday, which resulted in the former light heavyweight champ being dropped with a straight punch in Round 1. He was able to rebound quickly, however, busting McDermott up with jabs and kicks prior to the stoppage. McGeary was clearly looking to make a statement after losing his strap and his undefeated record to Phil Davis in November, and was able to do so against his third scheduled opponent, following pullouts by Chris Fields and Vladimir Filipovic. It was announced after the fight that McGeary, who is now 12-1 with 11 stoppages in his MMA career, will fight Linton Vassell on May 19th in London.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGeary is looking to bounce back from a unanimous-decision loss to Phil Davis that was not only his first career defeat, but also forced him to relinquish the light heavyweight belt. Prior to that fateful November showdown, the 34-year-old McGeary had won 10 fights in a row (seven with Bellator) -- all of which were earned via stoppage. Given his resume in the cage, a decisive win here could propel the former champion to an immediate opportunity to regain his belt.
Fantasy AnalysisFor the majority of his MMA career, McGeary has not been afraid to give up takedowns. His submissions off of his back are so dangerous that he considered the position advantageous. However, that strategy did not do him any favors against Davis. The former Penn State wrestler easily avoided any potential submissions and dominated via position. On the feet, McGeary had a few moments. Some of his best strikes were counter kicks that he would throw following lazy kicks from Davis. However, he was never able to land the big strike. McGeary is 34 years old, but this was only his 12th professional fight. Considering the light heavyweight landscape, he will almost certainly fight his way back to the title before his run in Bellator is over.
Fantasy AnalysisMcGeary's active guard was on full display Saturday, threatening Ortiz with an armbar before transitioning into an inverted triangle for the stoppage. The victory over Ortiz was McGeary's third submission win in Bellator, including an inverted triangle choke against Kelly Anundson at Bellator 124. The 6'6'' McGeary is a force to be reckoned with at light heavyweight, but number one contender Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis will arguably be his biggest test to date; the former Penn State standout has won six of his last eight fights.
Fantasy AnalysisIt must have been an encouraging sign for McGeary's camp that he was able to win a unanimous decision over Emanuel Newton despite being on his back for much of the fight. Keeping Newton in his guard to repeatedly throw up submission attempts, the 6'6'' McGeary won the light heavyweight belt at Bellator 134. Now defending the title against Tito Ortiz, McGeary's strategy will likely remain the same; keep the fight standing, and stave off potential ground-and-pound with constant armbar and triangle attempts. With an inflated -1000 line, a victory over Ortiz will cement McGeary's role as a dominant force in Bellator.
Fantasy AnalysisIt will be the main event of a hybrid Bellator-Glory kickboxing show. McGeary defeated Emmanuel Newton by unanimous decision back in February to win the title. The defeated McGeary should be a heavy favorite against the 40-year-old Ortiz.