There have been times during Ryan Bader’s UFC career where the former All-American wrestler has fallen in love with striking and drifted away from his grappling roots. The majority of Bader’s losses in the UFC have come when he tried to out strike his opponents, but the former Ultimate Fighter winner knew going into his fight against Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante that the best way the Brazilian had to finish was to knock him out.
So instead of standing and trading with Feijao while playing Russian roulette until one of them fell over, Bader worked his wrestling game to take the former Strikeforce champion down multiple times each round while racking up nearly 10 times as much control time as Feijao.
Towards the end of the first round, Bader landed possibly his best strike of the fight as he had Feijao turtled up against the cage and he unleashed a hellish knee to the body that sounded like he readjusted a few ribs in the process.
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Bader provided much the same result in the second round, but a fired up Feijao came out swinging in the third to keep things interesting. Feijao swung heavy at Bader’s head, while connecting with at least a couple hard shots that rattled the former Arizona State wrestler.
Instead of countering with his own giant swings, Bader opted for a wrestling heavy attack again and put Feijao down until the final horn sounded. Bader ended with 8:20 in total control time while Feijao managed just 38 seconds.
The judges all saw the fight the same way with 30-27 scores across the board giving Bader his second straight win inside the Octagon.