Ryan Bader is ready to take that next big step in the light heavyweight division. Again.
The former Ultimate Fighter winner defeated Ovince Saint Preux by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) in a workmanlike performance Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night on FOX Sports 1 in Bangor, Maine. Bader, who came in ranked No. 8 among 205-pound contenders, could get a top-five opponent next. His only career losses have come against the likes of champion Jon Jones, Lyoto Machida, Tito Ortiz and Glover Teixeira.
In the co-main event, Ross Pearson knocked out Gray Maynard with a short right hand. Pearson rebounded after a disheartening split decision loss to Diego Sanchez in June, a bout that just about everyone thought he should have won.
The entire main card was action packed. Tim Boetsch knocked out Brad Tavares in the second round, Alan Jouban came back from being rocked to flatten Seth Baczynski in his UFC debut and Shawn Jordan TKO’d Jack May in the third round. Thiago Tavares made his featherweight debut by choking out Robbie Peralta in the first round to raise the curtain on the main card.