by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
“Ultimate Fighter” season 8 light heavyweight winner Ryan “Darth” Bader will return to action in April against American Top Team fighter Carmelo Marrero, as confirmed by multiple sources close to the fight on Monday.
The fight was originally reported by fiveouncesofpain.com, and confirmed by MMAWeekly.com with sources stating the bout agreements have been issued at this time and should be signed shortly.
Bader made an instant impact on the last season of The Ultimate Fighter with his tremendous wrestling pedigree and power on the mat and feet. Undefeated in his career, Bader actually came in as the underdog to Vinicius Magalhaes in The Ultimate Fighter Finale, but showed why he deserved to be champion as he knocked out the Brazilian grappler early in the first round.
Carmelo Marrero comes into this fight returning to the UFC for the first time since losing to eventual teammate Wilson Gouveia back in May of 2007. Marrero joined Gouveia’s training squad at American Top Team shortly thereafter and is 4-0-1 in his last five bouts.
Marrero actually defeated one of Bader’s teammates, Steve Steinbeiss, in his last fight. The bout took place in the WEC before the organization did away with its light heavyweight division, which forced Marrero back to the UFC.
Bader will appear on the card alongside fellow TUF 9 winner Efrain Escudero, who will take on Jeremy Stephens as a part of the UFC Fight Night 18 card on April.