This Friday night (Dec. 6, 2013) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight veterans Ryan Bader and Anthony Perosh will square off the main card of UFC Fight Night 33 from Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 winner, Bader, has gone through a rough patch in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career as of late, losing two of his past three fights via knockout. The losses were against top competitors Glover Teixeira and Lyoto Machida; however, the fact remains that Bader has only notched one win over UFC castoff Vladimir Matyushenko since Feb. 2012.
He’ll receive a noted step down in competition when he faces Perosh in Australia.
Perosh recently got back on the winning track with a first round knockout of Vinny Magalhaes at UFC 163 in August. Before that he was on the wrong end of a seven-second knockout from Ryan Jimmo at UFC 149.
But, he just got caught that bout. All told, Perosh has quietly won four out of his last five UFC bouts.
Bader may just be his toughest test, however. This fight is going to show if "Hippo" is ready to face the next level of Light Heavyweight talent. Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for Ryan Bader vs. Anthony Perosh:
Record: 15-4 overall, 8-4 UFC
Keys to Victory: "Darth" is an extremely powerful fighter who has knockout power coupled with an NCAA Division I All-American wrestling pedigree. Seven of his 15 wins have come by way of knockout and he’ll be looking to make it eight in Brisbane.
Perosh proved he could be knocked out against Jimmo, "Cro Cop," and James Te Huna. There’s no reason to believe that Bader can’t end Perosh’s night with a well-placed overhand right.
However, he’s going to have to be cautious in doing so.
Bader’s downfall in his recent losses to Machida and Teixeira was his tendency to get over-aggressive. He rushed in on arguably the best counter striker in MMA against Machida and was promptly knocked out for the mistake. You’d think he would have learned from that fatal error, but he again threw caution to the wind and engaged in an all-out slugfest with Teixeira.
While he nearly finished Teixeira, ultimately his fate was sealed with a vicious three-punch combo. Perosh may be known for his grappling prowess but he does have some sneaky striking ability. Bader’s insistence on bull rushing his opponents might not get him into trouble as much against Perosh but it’s still a huge hole in his game.
It may not be the best idea for Bader to use his high level wrestling skills here because Perosh is a decorated grappler with many accomplishments to his name. Even if Bader can score some strong takedowns, they may create a false sense of security. "Darth" has tapped out twice in four losses so his submission defense will have to be on point to avoid being upset by Perosh.
Bader’s best way to win is with his striking power. He just needs to stay calm and focus on adding a bit of technicality to the raw power he already has.
Record: 14-7 overall, 4-2 UFC
Key Wins: Vinny Magalhaes (UFC 163), Cyrille Diabate (UFC 138)
Key Losses: Mirko Filipovic (UFC 110), Ryan Jimmo (UFC 149), James Te Huna (Cage Fighting Championships 10)
Keys to Victory: Perosh is an Australian-born grappler who has twice taken bronze in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships. He holds the title of ADCC 2009 South Pacific Champion and is also a ten-time Australian National Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion.
That’s a long list of grappling accomplishments that prove Perosh is a force on the ground.
Bader has had trouble with submissions in the past against Jones and Ortiz, submitting to both due to guillotine chokes. Perosh will be looking to capitalize on that early and often in Brisbane. It’s going to be very hard to get Bader to the ground initially, but if "Darth: decides to go for a takedown of his own Perosh might be able to lull him into a false sense of security.
Once the fight hits the ground Perosh will implement an extremely active guard to look for a variety of dangerous submissions. He’s got to stay one step ahead of Bader’s ground and pound in order to do so.
Perosh’s most difficult test in this fight will be in the striking department. Bader has shown extreme fondness for unleashing wild haymakers to knock out his foes. Sometimes they work, sometimes they do not. Perosh is unfortunately the kind of fighter that Bader has been able to destroy with his wild, looping power shots.
Since top-level strikers like Filipovic and Te Huna have knocked him out, Perosh needs to have his striking defense at an all-time high in order to win. He’ll need to utilize good head movement while looking to get this fight to the ground as fast as possible.
He may have knocked out Magalhaes in impressive fashion but Bader will undoubtedly be a much tougher opponent.
The cards will be stacked against Perosh heading into this bout. However, if he can weather Bader’s initial storm and find an opening for his top-flight jiu-jitsu, an upset could be in the making.
Bottom Line From Brisbane: The bottom line here is that we have a classic matchup of a power puncher versus a submission specialist. Perosh is decently proficient on his feet and Bader has a solid wrestling skillset from his time spent at Arizona State, but ultimately Perosh will most likely look for a submission while Bader goes for the big knockout.
Bader won’t be looking for a submission because Perosh has never tapped out. "Darth" needs to be careful both standing and when he switches levels to go for a takedown. While slamming Perosh to the mat will gain him much needed points in the eyes of the judges, it will also put him into Perosh’s comfort zone.
Perosh needs to keep his hands up and movement level high to frustrate Bader. "Darth" has been impatient in recent fights when he can’t knock out his opponent right away; Perosh needs to take advantage of this.
He’ll have the full backing of his home Australian fans behind him so that could definitely play into Perosh’s hands. But, Bader is a seasoned Octagon vet by now and probably won’t be influenced by the crowd. Truth be told, it’s looked like Bader has been his own worst enemy in recent fights.
This is a bout that has seemingly been booked to get a confidence–building win on Bader’s record but he can’t sleep on Perosh.
If he does he could end up getting submitted and experience a steep fall down the Light Heavyweight pecking order. Perosh, on the other hand, has the opportunity to win five out of six by securing his biggest name victory. He’s got his hands full with Bader but the pressure is mainly on “Darth” because he’s supposed to win this fight.
This could turn out to be a war, or it could end quickly depending on which fighter can implement their top skillset.
Ryan Bader will attempt to make short work out of Anthony Perosh in Brisbane. Does “Hippo” have what it takes to relegate “Darth” to gatekeeper status?