On Saturday night Ryan Bader (13-2) entered the Octagon to face Jason Brilz (18-5-1) in a battle of the light heavyweight division. Both fighters were coming off two-fight losing streaks and in desperate need for a big win.

Bader’s losses came at the hands of former light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz at UFC 132 and current title-holder Jon Jones at UFC 126 with both losses coming via submission. Brilz, on the other hand, had suffered an opening round knockout to Vladimir Matyushenko and a split decision loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

The first round got started with Bader looking confident in his striking, quickly hitting “The Hitman” with a hard right hand connecting to the side of his head and causing him to instantly drop to the floor. Brilz appeared to be out cold and the referee immediately stepped in before Bader could inflict any further damage.

In a post fight interview Bader mentioned the win felt great and that he has grown more as a fighter in the last two months than he did in the last two years, crediting his new coaching staff specifically brought in to take the light heavyweight to another level. “Darth” elaborated, expressing his belief that the specialty coaches are undoubtedly improving his game.

When asked about his future the two-time Division 1 All-American wrestler had nobody specific in mind for his fight and mentioned he just wants to keep climbing his way back up the ladder.


MMATraining Take: The victory for Bader was much needed and having won by knockout is an added confidence boost to the standout wrestler. It appears Bader took a lot of time to learn from his two previous losses and made the appropriate changes to his game by bringing in a whole new coaching staff complete with specialty coaches. I think Bader is greatly improving and look forward to him climbing right back up the light heavyweight ladder. A few more wins and he’ll be right back up there.