UFC 174 Breakdown: Ryan Bader vs. Rafael Cavalcante

By the Numbers

Bader's win loss ratio is a little over 4:1 and Cavalcante's is 3:1, but what's really special is that Cavalcante has won all of his fights by knockout. That doesn't bode well for Ryan Bader's jaw unless Bader can get it to the ground. This is an interesting match on paper because you have a guy who defends fairly well against takedowns and uses his striking to murder everyone versus a guy who is incredibly skilled at avoiding strikes by putting guys on their backs.

What's at Stake

Ryan Bader used to be the man to beat to get involved in a title shot conversation. Current champ Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira, the last man to face Jon Jones, both got title shots after solidly defeating the three-time NCAA Division I champ. There was a time when Ryan Bader could stub his toe on a refrigerator door and that fridge would be next in line for a shot at the belt, but those days seem to be over. He faces Rafael Cavalcante, and it looks like he's now fighting to stay in the top ten in the light heavyweight division.

Bader will be Cavalcante's biggest test to date. Cavalcante has had mixed results after a fleeting run as the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion. Since returning from his one year suspension following positively testing for stanozolol, he was solidly knocked out by an increasingly unstable Thiago Silva and returned the to the win column with his TKO over Igor Pokrajac. Cavalcante could easily find himself on the chopping block with a non-competitive fight, as he would find great difficulty breaking into the top ten.

Road to Victory

This one is pretty simple. Cavalcante wins the fight if he can KO Bader before Bader can get him on his back. If that happens he is in for a 15 minute lesson on the term "technical wrestling."


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