UFC light heavyweight Ryan Bader came into his UFC 139 bout with Jason Brilz in desperate need of a win after two straight losses. Worse he'd entered the year 12-0 and heading into a title eliminator bout with Jon Jones and after tasting defeat there, got a second helping from Tito Ortiz at UFC 132.
MMA is largely about a fighter's ability to bounce back from adversity. Bader hadn't proven that he could do what the great ones do -- come back better after a loss. Well that was until tonight of course. Bader caught Brilz with a left-right combination of punches that dropped Brilz face first into the canvas like he was falling off a tall building.
Bader is 28 and at his athletic peak. This was a critical win and Bader has emphatically returned to contender status in the UFC. Bader is ranked #17 on the October USA TODAY/MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings Perhaps he could welcome back #16 Thiago Silva from a year's suspension for failing a drug test. Its more likely that he'll face Stephan Bonnar who also picked up a win over Kyle Kingsbury at UFC 139.