The UFC is back in Brazil for ‘Fight Night 28', the company's third event airing on Fox Sports 1 in as many weeks. The first two cards were both resounding successes, as the main event for both cards helped solidify the winners as legitimate contenders in their weight classes. Don't expect that to change come fight night as two of the most powerful light heavyweights in the UFC collide to determine which man will take the next step towards title contention.
In one corner stands Brazilian phenom Glover Teixeira, a man already promised a title shot with a win on Wednesday. Teixeira enters this bout riding a 19-fight win streak and a perfect 4-0 record since joining the UFC a little more than a year ago. Currently ranked number two in the 205-pound division, Teixeira has plowed through his competition so easily that some fight fans have already labeled him the next UFC light heavyweight champion. But standing across from him in the octagon is The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 champion and co-host of The Power MMA Show Ryan "Darth" Bader. Both men are top-10 fighters in the prime of their careers, so it's hard to imagine fight fans leaving the Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil disappointed.
But there can only be one winner, so without further ado here's a complete breakdown of these two octagon warriors.
Spending the majority of his career under the tutelage of UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell and John Hackleman at the Pit, the hulking Teixeira has developed some of the best all-around striking in the light heavyweight division. With crisp combinations, powerful body shots and thunderous leg kicks, there isn't much the Brazilian can't do on his feet. With 12 career knockouts including a ‘Beatdown of the Year' performance against Fabio Maldonado, the Brazilian's fists act more like sledgehammers.
But Bader is by no means a slouch when it comes to striking, as he has the ability to put even the most durable light heavyweights away with that wrecking ball of a right hand. Bader throws his punches with lethal intentions as he tends to lean into his strikes so he can turn his opponent's lights out as opposed to throwing combinations. But that's not to say Bader can't box, as he has been working on his boxing with highly-regarded coach José Benavidez. Combine this with a 72.4 percent significant strike defense -- tops in the division -- and Bader is by no means at a disadvantage when it comes to trading punches.
Probably the most one-sided aspect of the fight game in this bout has to be the wrestling ability of both men. While Teixeira definitely doesn't hold back when it comes to shooting for a takedown or utilizing sweeps to bring his opponent to the canvas, he will have a tough time against Bader's world class wrestling skills. A former two-time All-American wrestler out of Arizona State, Bader has made the seamless transition from collegiate wrestler to MMA fighter and in the process developed some of the best wrestling abilities in the UFC. But it's not just his ability to take the fight to the mat whenever he wants; it's his defensive abilities that give Bader the edge in the cage. In fact, in 18 career bouts, only current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones has managed to take Bader down more than once.
Teixeira does have a spot on the Brazilian National Wrestling Team on his résumé, so he's not completely at a disadvantage. But with wrestling standouts like C.B. Dollaway, Aaron Simpson and Chris Weidman giving Bader all he can handle in the gym, the edge in the grappling department has to go to Bader.
This is another difficult one to pick, as both fighters have shown some impressive submission abilities in their UFC careers. Bader is of course coming off his ‘Submission of the Night' performance against Vladmir Matsushenko that saw the Power MMA product pull off the submission victory a mere 50 seconds into the bout, a UFC record at light heavyweight. However, he may want to think twice before testing the ground skills of Teixeira, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who holds six career submission victories in his MMA career, including two first-round submissions in the UFC. Combine this with two submission losses in Bader's career, and the Chandler resident may want to tread carefully if he takes it to the ground.
Bader could easily take this to the ground to utilize powerful striking from the top to set up an arm triangle but chances are Teixeira's skills on the ground will prove more than capable of fending off a submission loss.
Teixeira is hottest thing in the 205-pound division right now, so not many fight fans are giving Bader much a chance in this bout. With dynamite in his hands and world class submission skills, it's hard to argue against the Brazilian phenom's abilities in the cage. With a title shot awaiting him if he pulls off the victory, Teixeira will undoubtedly bring his A-game to the arena on Wednesday. But in the end, I think all the hype surrounding him will be his downfall and Bader's superior wrestling abilities and cardio will prove to be too much for Teixeira.
Bader via Unanimous Decision