Keeping UFC Fight Night 33 rolling are two light heavyweights in two very different places right now. Ryan Bader is still in his prime, but is coming off of a huge KO loss to Glover Teixeira, a fight in which he briefly had the upper hand. He meets Anthony Perosh, who at 41, most recently put down Vinny Magalhaes in stunning fashion in just under a quarter of a minute.
Anthony Perosh (14-7 overall, 4-2 UFC)
Strengths: Submissions, deceptive KO power
Weaknesses: Susceptible to KO’s
Ryan Bader (15-4 overall, 8-4 UFC)
Strengths: Wrestling, grappling, submissions
Weaknesses: Chin, cannot hang with the elite
Fight Breakdown – Even though Bader got pummeled by Glover Teixeira in his last fight, he had Glover wobbly beforehand and got caught by a huge counterpunch. So Bader is clearly a capable striker and definitely has the goods to beat Perosh on the feet. But he is a grappler/wrestler at heart and would do well to tangle with Perosh and wear him down. There are guys fighting in the UFC that are literally half his age. So Bader should use his strength and grappling to take a lot of the wind out of Perosh’s sails by keeping him pinned back and down against the cage and ground.
Bader could use a big win here and showing out impressively against Perosh would keep him around that top ten fringe. But he needs a win more than anything and better to play it safe and get the W playing his game than overreaching himself, literally, and taking chances that could spell his doom. He could go for a knockout and he’s more than capable of finding Perosh’s chin, but if you look at what Perosh did to Magalhaes, it would be foolish to underestimate his abilities on the feet. So while Bader may play the feeling out process early on, look for him to establish control in the clinch and takedown department and wear Perosh down over the course of the fight.
Once Perosh is a bit more fatigued and loses some of his explosiveness, Bader has more options and could find a stoppage more easily.
While “The Hippo” Perosh stunned Magalhaes with a punch, he’s also very susceptible to getting KO’d himself. His finish of Magalhaes wasn’t exactly lucky, but it’s not likely to happen two fights in a row, especially after a quality fighter like Bader has been studying him and game planning. So Perosh has to mix things up and would do well to use his size and reach to keep Bader at bay. He’s got to be the definition of active when he’s in that cage because Bader is going to come out hungry and on fire, looking to push Perosh and test him everywhere.
This fight could easily turn into a mauling of Perosh if he isn’t able to earn Bader’s respect and keep him at bay. If Bader shoots for well-timed takedowns, he’s most likely going to get them at some point and then Perosh is going to be in trouble, especially if he can’t find his feet quickly. Perosh has great submission skills, but it will be much harded with Bader in top position, especially as the fight goes on and both guys tire and get sweaty.
So Perosh really has to dance away when Bader gets too close, and throw a high volume of counter punches and kicks. Everything he can do to keep Bader away and at length will only help his cause. Getting lazy or overly fatigued is going to work in Bader’s favor.
Key to Victory: Can Bader avoid eating the big shot/submission?
Bader is the clear favorite here and he really should win this fight. The way he loses is by beating himself. He’s got a lot of people thinking he will beat Perosh easily, and that’s exactly the wrong kind of thinking. He has to respect Perosh and avoid rushing in or sleeping on his strikes. If he can manage to avoid Perosh’s best shots and stay the hell away from possible submission openings, he’s going to find a way to win.
Why It Matters – This is a bit of an odd match-up considering what these guys did in their last fights. Bader was the last stepping stone for Glover Teixeira to meet Jon Jones (whenever he eventually returns). He actually had Teixeira in trouble before he ate some timely counter punches that floored him. So Bader isn’t a slouch by any means, but he did lose big in his last fight. Perosh on the other hand opened some eyes and put down Vinny Magalhaes hard in less than 20 seconds. So we get a very good fighter who can still make some big moves in the LHW division, against an older veteran who is coming off of an impressive win.
Bader doesn’t want a two fight losing streak here. Losing to Teixeira is understandable as many think he will be the guy to finally figure out the Jon Jones puzzle. Putting Teixeira in brief trouble probably scared the hell out of a lot of MMA bettors, and it speaks to his ability. With that said, Perosh is absolutely someone he should beat, and beat handily. Bader has already had a stunning upset loss to Tito Ortiz, so he can’t really afford another one to Perosh. Losing to Perosh, especially in a big way, would bring up a lot of questions as to where Bader really is. So there is some extra pressure there to win.
Perosh is 41 and coming off of a shocking 14 second KO win over Vinny Magalhaes, a fight many picked Vinny to win easily. He could do the unthinkable and string together a series of impressive KO/submission finishes, adding Bader to his list of victims, but it’s very unlikely. A lot of people are already writing him off, and that always helps an underdog, but at this point in his career, Perosh has to keep winning if he wants to keep fighting. Bader is a huge matchup for him and the potential if he wins will get him someone just as high up or even higher. But losing to Bader will get him someone lower on the ladder and once he goes back down, he’s probably not going to bounce back as high. Perosh surprised everyone in his last fight, but that element of surprise is gone now and Bader must have watched that highlight more than a few times. He’ll be ready.
Prediction – Bader
Tags: anthony perosh, ryan bader, UFC Fight Night 33