The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 champion Ryan Bader managed to close out his 2011 fight campaign with a (stand and) bang, pasting Jason Brilz on the Spike TV portion of the UFC 139: "Henderson vs. Shogun" preliminary card on Nov. 19 in San Jose, California.
The former collegiate wrestling stud was perhaps one fight away from a light heavyweight title shot -- until he was strangled by Jon Jones at UFC 128 back in April. His rebound fight, against struggling 205-pound legend Tito Ortiz, took his divisional standing from bad to worse after "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" bagged him and tagged him at UFC 133 via first round guillotine.
Heading into last weekend's fight against Brilz, he was faced with the possibility of going from one fight removed from the belt, to one fight removed from the unemployment line. Then a big right hand found it's mark.
Bader's post-fight jubilation (via UFC.com):
"I feel a lot of pressure off my shoulders, I feel good. I trained hard and I trained with the best coaches and it showed [at UFC 139]. I felt comfortable, I really felt everything came together in this fight. I really couldn't ask for more. I haven't won in a year, the last two losses, getting a win just feels awesome. I believe in myself and I believe in what I'm doing and my confidence is building ... it's just gonna get better and better."
Anyone think another big win puts him back "in the mix?" Or is he at least two wins away from even being in the conversation?
Here more from "Darth" after the jump.
For complete UFC 139 results and a detailed recap of all the action click here. To check out a recap of the UFC 139 prelim fights that were seen Spike TV, click here and here. Want to know what happened with the UFC 139 Facebook Prelims portion of the card? To read a full recap click here.
And just in case you want to get up to speed on the entire UFC 139 fight card from top to bottom click here.