Ryan Bader told anyone who would listen that he was planning to use tonight's (Sat., June 14, 2014) fight against Rafael Feijao at UFC 174 in Vancouver, Canada, as a springboard to bigger and better things in the light heavyweight division. After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
In Bader's case, it was a takedown, something he used to great effective in the opening round. He wasn't exactly causing a great deal of damage to his opponent but he was winning the bout through sheer force of volume and superior positioning.
Feijao found some success early in the second with a spinning kick but "Darth" stifled the rest of his offense by grabbing a hold of the Brazilian and not letting him move. He also threw some hard knees to the buttocks, which delighted the paying crowd at the Rogers Arena.
Here's how bad it was for Feijao: His corned screamed at him between the second and third rounds, saying things like "you aren't doing anything" and "you're losing this fight" and "show some heart".
With only five minutes remaining, he would almost surely need a finish to earn a victory.
To his credit, the Brazilian opened the final frame swinging for the fences. He connected too, landing hard shots that had Bader on his bicycle backing up and desperately jumping in for takedowns.
Unfortunately for Feijao, he both ran out of gas and was unable to avoid Bader's relentless rush for a takedown. Eventually it came,and when it did that was the end of it.
Judges: 30-27 across the board, all in favor of Ryan Bader.
He may not have established himself as a credible contender to the 205-pound title but he won. The journey continues.
For complete UFC 174 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.