Glover Teixeira (21-2, 4-0 UFC) vs. Ryan Bader (15-3, 8-3 UFC)
The night’s main event should bring plenty of action and potentially set up the next challenger for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Teixeira is on quite a hot streak as he has won 19 straight fights following his submission win over James Te Huna at UFC 160 in May. Bader hasn’t fought since January when he scored a 50-second submission win over Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC On FOX 6. After starting his career 12-0, Bader has struggled to just a 3-3 record over his last six fights.
Fight Breakdown- Teixeira has been around the sport a long time, and is a long-time training partner of UFC Hall Of Fame legend Chuck Liddell. Teixeira was always highly regarded as an excellent fighter, but visa issues kept him from being able to fight in the UFC for a long time. He finally made it to the Octagon last year, and he made an immediate impact when he submitted Kyle Kingsbury at UFC 146 in May 2012. Teixeira followed that with a stoppage of Fabio Maldonado at UFC 153 in October, which lead to a showdown with Quinton Jackson at UFC On FOX 6 in January. Teixeira dominated that fight and handed Jackson a decision loss in Jackson’s final fight in the UFC. Following another dominant performance over Te Huna in May, Teixeira is looking to make another statement against Bader and is looking to earn a title shot, and a 20-fight win streak would certainly help that.
Bader was the light heavyweight winner of season eight of “The Ultimate Fighter” and reeled off five wins in his first five fights in the UFC to push his record to 12-0. Bader looked like he was set to compete for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and was put in a fight against fellow rising contender Jon Jones to see which fighter was ready to take the next step. Jones submitted Bader at UFC 126 in February 2011, and it was followed by another submission loss as Bader was choked out by Tito Ortiz in July 2011. Bader was out of title contention for the time being, but got back into it by winning his next two fights, including a win over Quinton Jackson at UFC 144 in February 2012. A knockout loss to Lyoto Machida knocked him back down the ladder, but following his win over Matyushenko, Bader gets another high profile fight as he looks to start a new winning streak.
Teixeira and Bader were originally scheduled to meet in a main card bout at UFC 160 in May, but Bader was forced out of the fight due to an injury. It may have been for the best as it allowed Teixeira to put on a dominant performance, and it allowed this fight to become a five-round main event, and both will benefit from the exposure. Teixeira is explosive on his feet and has knockout power, and he is super aggressive in pushing the pace of the fight. His footwork is top-notch, and Bader is going to have a lot of trouble on the feet against him. While Bader has power in his hands as well, his striking is not as crisp as Teixeira’s, and he doesn’t have the same type of footwork that Teixeira does. Bader had a lot of trouble in his loss to Machida in being able to attack Machida on the feet, and Teixeira and Machida have trained together quite a bit in the recent past. Teixeira should be able to close the distance on Bader where he will look to land vicious hooks and uppercuts. Bader has a tendency to rush in if he can’t get his striking attack to go his way, and he has paid in the past for it.
Bader may have a slight edge in the wrestling department as he has a strong collegiate background and hasn’t been taken down much in his career, but Teixeira has a solid takedown game as well, and his takedown defense is strong. Bader’s best chance to win is likely to take the fight to the mat and establish a solid top game. This is much easier said than done against Teixeira, and Bader could find himself in trouble on the ground. Teixeira is a strong black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is one of the best grapplers in the division. Teixeira has showed his strong ground game in his UFC fights, and Bader has been choked out by both Jones and Ortiz. Bader needs to work the ground-and-pound from the top if he is going to avoid the submission attack from Teixeira. Teixeira is also strong in the clinch, and it is hard to imagine Bader being able to control Teixeira wherever the fight goes.
With this fight being five rounds, conditioning will be a key, but as Teixeira and Bader have shown in the past, they rarely get tired. Teixeira may have a slight edge in the cardio department and he will use his striking and ground game to wear Bader down. Bader’s best opportunity to win is to keep top position and score takedowns, but that will be hard to do against Teixeira. Barring a flash knockout, it is hard to envision Bader winning this fight. Bader has a slight chance, but Teixeira has shown he has all the tools to be a potential champion, and fighting in his native Brazil will give him a load of confidence. It is Teixeira’s fight to lose, and he will not be on the losing end of this one.
Why It Matters- Teixeira is looking to secure the next title shot, and a win over Bader would be 20 wins in a row, including five in a row in the UFC. It should make him next in line to fight the winner of Jon Jones against Alexander Gustafsson later this month, but there is still Daniel Cormier lying in the wings, and he really wants that fight against Jones. Teixeira needs to show that no matter what Cormier does, he is the next challenger, and a huge stoppage win over Bader would do that.
Bader started his career strong but has fallen into a rut lately. While his three losses have come to UFC champions, it’s those type of fights that he needs to win to prove that he can fight for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. He would love to avenge the loss to Jones and get a title shot, and a win over Teixeira would end his hype train and get Bader closer to a title shot. A loss could end Bader’s hopes for a title shot for good.
Tags: Glover Teixeira, Mixed Martial Arts, ryan bader, UFC, ufc fight night 28, UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader