COMMENTARY | Ryan Bader holds a record of 8-3 inside the "Octagon."
He's beaten quality opposition like Keith Jardine, Quinton Jackson, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. He's entering the prime of his career at 30 years old, and coming off a dominant submission win over Vladimir Matyushenko.
"Darth" Bader is also more than a 3-to-1 underdog against one of the UFC light heavyweight division's rising stars, Glover Teixiera. The odds have only gotten worse since they've opened. Their fight takes place Sept. 4 at UFC Fight Night 28 on Fox Sports 1.
The reason why Bader is such a big underdog has more to do with Teixiera's dominance inside the cage than it does Bader's recent performances. Teixiera is 4-0 inside the UFC and 21-2 overall since beginning his mixed martial arts career in 2002. He has finished three of his four fights since coming to the UFC in 2012, and his sole decision came in a dominate performance over "Rampage" Jackson.
Bader was once a top UFC prospect, winning the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter and running off five straight wins inside the "Octagon." In early 2011, he lost his first fight, a stoppage to current light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. That loss was a minor setback, but his next one has really tarnished his reputation.
Tito Ortiz, despite putting on some quality performances, had not won a fight since 2006 before submitting Bader at UFC 132 in 2011. With the loss to Ortiz, Bader's standing amongst MMA fans dropped substantially. His other two losses have come against arguably the two best light heavyweights in the world in Jones and Lyoto Machida.
Presently, Bader is ranked the No. 9 light-heavyweight in the world, only one place behind Teixiera. Oddsmakers, however, look at more than just how fighters have performed on paper. A main factor in assessing the line of a fight is the way the fighters match up.
Teixiera is the more well-rounded fighter, but Bader has the edge in wrestling. Bader's stand-up has never been spectacular, but average stand-up can look elite when an opponent is worried about being taken down. Teixiera has all the tools to win this fight, but great wrestling has been known to stifle quality tools.
If Bader can control where the fight takes place and keep Teixiera from getting on the offensive, he can win this fight. Are the odds in his favor? No. Does he have a better chance than people are giving him? We'll see at UFC Fight Night 28.
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- Ryan Bader
- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
- Quinton Jackson