UFC

5 reasons to watch Teixeira vs Bader

Ryan Bader
Will Ryan Bader stop Glover Teixeira's rise to the top?
FOX Sports E. Spencer Kyte
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Running three events in the span of eight days is tough to pull off, but when the first fight hits the cage Wednesday night in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the UFC will be a couple hours away from completing the trilogy that began last week in Indianapolis before moving to Milwaukee for UFC 164.

One of the chief concerns with such a packed schedule is that fight cards get watered down and fail to deliver, but so far, through the first two events in this fistic triumvirate, things have been pretty darn awesome, and they should remain that way through this Wednesday’s event at the Mineirinho Arena.

Just in case you need some extra convincing, here are 5 Reasons to Watch UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader this week on Fox Sports 1.

These Events Always Deliver

Let’s run this back real quick, shall we?

The June UFC on Fuel TV event in Fortaleza featured stoppages in 10 of the 12 fights, including all six of the main card contests. One month earlier in Jaragua do Sul, seven of the 13 bouts were finishes, including Vitor Belfort’s main event spinning heel kick knockout of Luke Rockhold, while “The Phenom” also capped off January’s fight card in Sao Paulo with a knockout win.

Of the 36 fights the UFC has held in Brazil so far in 2013, 23 have ended in stoppages, and a number of the contests that went to the scorecards were action-packed, back-and-forth affairs. The event may not have been filled with household names, but it’s hard to argue with those kind of results.

Wednesday’s fight card should be no different. If entertaining scraps that play out like a real-life game of Rock’em Sock’em Robots are what you’re looking for, you’re not going to want to miss this show.

Teixeira’s First Real Test

With all due respect to James Te Huna and the three other fighters Glover Teixeira has already dispatched inside the Octagon, his main event match-up with Ryan Bader is the first real stern test of his UFC career.

The Brazilian light heavyweight has been running roughshod over the division – and everyone he’s faced over the last eight years for that matter – but now he shares the cage with a healthy, focused contender for the first time, and how he performs will go a long way to determining what comes next for the surging 33-year-old.

He’s been one of the more hyped additions to the light heavyweight ranks in recent years, and now is the time for Teixeira to validate the hype, and assert himself as a contender.

A win over Bader – especially another finish – puts Teixeira on the short list of potential title challengers in the light heavyweight division. He’s been as good as advertised against middle tier competition thus far, but it will take a stellar performance against the former TUF winner to convince people that the 205-pound finisher has more than a puncher’s chance against should he fight for the title.

Pair that potential with the fact that he’s fighting at home in Brazil for the first time in nearly two years, and there is a very good chance we’ll be talking about another standout performance from Teixeira come Thursday morning.

Middleweight Contender Showdown

Like Teixeira, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has looked really good as of late, earning stoppage wins in four straight contests, including his UFC debut back in May.

Wednesday night, the former Strikeforce middleweight challenger shares the cage with Yushin “Thunder” Okami, the one-time title challenger and perennial guardian of the upper echelon of the 185-pound ranks. If you want to prove you’re a legitimate contender in the UFC middleweight division, you’ve got to beat the well-rounded Japanese veteran, which is no easy feat.

Okami boasts a 13-4 record in the UFC. He’s lost one in a championship fight (UFC 134 vs. Anderson Silva), twice in title eliminator contests (Chael Sonnen, UFC 104 and Rich Franklin, UFC 72), and once in upset fashion against Tim Boetsch (UFC 144). That’s it.

He’s turned back challenges from the likes of Alan Belcher (twice), Hector Lombard, Nate Marquardt, and Mark Munoz, and now he’s facing off with the dangerous, but somewhat unproven, Souza in a pivotal match-up on Wednesday night.

This fight will determine which of these two starts 2014 in the thick of the title chase, and bouts like that rarely fail to deliver.

Flyweight Title Eliminator

The UFC hasn’t officially dubbed the bout between Joseph Benavidez and Jussier “Formiga” da Silva a title eliminator, but with both men entrenched in the division’s Top 5 – Benavidez at #1, da Silva at #5 – and no one currently lined up to challenge champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, it would make sense for the winner of this contest to move into a title fight next.

A middle of the week #1 contender bout – how could you possibly not be excited about that?

Benavidez has been on a roll since losing to Johnson in the inaugural UFC flyweight title fight, most recently stopping Darren Uyenoyama with a kick to the body back in April, while “Formiga” earned his first UFC win by winning a spirited fight with Chris Cariaso back in May.

Say what you will about the flyweights – they compete at a break-neck pace, and more often than naught, that produces some exciting action, and an entertaining contest.

The Brazilian Crowd

Yes, I’m advocating you watching this fight card at home because of the people that will be in attendance at Mineirinho Arena on Wednesday night.

The Brazilian crowds are awesome for a number of reasons.

For one thing, they cheer and chant like they’re at a World Cup match, which always gives the production a very different feel than simply hearing the play-by-play. Secondly, they’re hyper-knowledgeable about MMA, and it is always awesome to watch fights where the fans in attendance appreciate technical contests and slick grappling, not just “stand-and-bang” competitions.

Nothing beats being at an event live, but fight cards from Brazil give you the closest approximation you can get from your living room.
 

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