by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
He was an All-American wrestler while competing at Arizona State University, but now Ryan “Darth” Bader can add “Ultimate Fighter” season 8 champion to his list of accolades after putting away Vinicius Magalhaes in the first round of their match-up on Saturday night.
Coming into the fight as an underdog for probably the first time ever in his professional career, Bader took it upon himself to impress in his finale match-up and did exactly that.
With his wrestling background and Magalhaes’ extensive jiu-jitsu pedigree, the light heavyweight finals saw no ground action, but plenty of stand-up.
The fighters traded kicks early, and both showed good footwork to stay in punching range, but each respected the other’s power.
It was a big overhand right from Bader that glanced off of Magalhaes’ head that sent the Brazilian crashing to the canvas, rocked and in obvious trouble.
“My right hand’s pretty powerful,” Bader stated. “I’m not just a wrestler, and I hope people see that. I look forward to being back in the Octagon soon.”
He followed up with a few more hammer fists before the referee stepped in to stop the fight and declare the Arizona Combat Sports member the new Ultimate Fighter winner.
“I was comfortable wherever the fight went, but I had kind of a lackluster fight last fight and I wanted to keep it on my feet. Vinny’s a stud on the ground, you guys saw that,” Bader said following the win. “Just keep it on my feet, worked on my boxing at Arizona Combat Sports with the Lally brothers and it paid off a lot.”
It was the stand-up and boxing work he had done that gave Bader the confidence in his hands to finish the fight with strikes, earning him his ninth professional win, and first official win in the UFC.
With an ever developing striking prowess, Bader’s wrestling could be considered some of the best in the UFC, even at this point in his young career. The Reno, Nev. native will definitely be a force against any opponent at 205 pounds.