UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader
Glover Teixeira (21-2, 12 KO's, 6 Subs)
In my article titled UFC Picks: Current Champs & Their Biggest Threats, I unequivocally stated that Glover Teixeira would be my top choice to stun the reigning champ Jon Bones Jones and claim the UFC Light Heavyweight crown. Now I don't believe that Teixeira nor anyone at 205 pounds is going to take the title anytime soon from the best fighter on the planet but Teixeira might be the only one in the division to have a shot.
The big Brazilian has not lost in over eight years and was slated to tangle with Bader in his last trip into the Octagon but Bader withdrew citing an undisclosed injury. That just set up a different victim for Teixeira to vanquish and it came in the form of James Te Huna. It was a short night as Teixeira submitted the veteran Te Huna in the first-round via a guillotine choke. Just another notch in a holster that is getting riddled with holes.
Ryan Bader (15-3, 7 KO's 3 Subs)
I recall when Ryan Bader was, along with Jon Jones, one of the preeminent rising stars in the light heavyweight division. He was on a collision course with Jones and I screamed from the mountaintops that while Bader was good, he was not in Jones's class. My words proved prophetic as Jon Jones submitted the previously unbeaten Bader in the second-round.
Bader was then given an opportunity to redeem himself by pitting fading legend Tito Ortiz against the young upstart. But alas fate had a different outcome than the one most of us, including me, had anticipated. Ortiz stunned Bader and submitted him with the identical guillotine choke that Bones had used in the previous fight.
Bader has gotten reasonably back on track with three victories in his last four fights since the devastating loss to Ortiz. His only defeat during that time was a big KO loss to former champ Lyoto Machida. Bader can be a bit too predictable in his standup game, looking for the big bomb to drop as opposed to softening up opponents with body strikes and crisp jabs. His chin is suddenly being questioned after a few point blank shots that dropped the 30-year-old Reno, Nevada native. Bader is a wrestler by trade and had tremendous success at the collegiate level and while he is more than capable of controlling the fight on the ground he is susceptible to top level submission artists like Teixeira.
The only way I can see Ryan Bader winning this fight is by taking Teixeira to the mat and keeping him there for the duration. But if you've ever seen Teixeira's takedown defense you know that keeping a second degree BJJ black belt on his back for several rounds is not an easy task.
Teixeira has been installed as a healthy favorite on the UFC odds boards. It's not surprising as he has the greater skill set in terms of strikes and kicks while having the chops to exploit Bader's weakness against submission holds. I cannot envision Bader being able to dictate control for the length of the fight and walking away with a decision. The only way Bader wins this fight is if he is able to strike cleanly and then swarm for a TKO. That outcome is highly unlikely for our UFC picks in this fight. Look for an early KO from Teixeira.
UFC Pick: Play Teixeira -380 at WilliamHill.com