Bader had been on the skids lately, dropping the first two losses of his professional career back-to-back, losing to Jon Jones at UFC 126 and Tito Ortiz at UFC 132.
Plain and simple, The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 light heavyweight winner needed a victory, and in a bad way. Bader got it Saturday night as the featured fight on the UFC 139 Prelims telecast on Spike TV.
He and Jason Brilz did a little dancing around for the first minute of the fight, but when Bader struck, he was a lightening bolt. He glanced Brilz with a left jab before catching him with a heavy right hand on the temple, putting the Nebraskan down and out.
“Losing sucks and I’m glad to get this win here,” Bader said after the fight, thanking his training partners and new head coach, Tom Vaughn, at Power MMA & Fitness.
Michael McDonald, the youngest fighter in the UFC, and one of the top prospects, kept his roll under the Zuffa banner going. He blasted through Alex Soto to open the UFC 139 Prelims on Spike TV in less than a minute.
Having gone to a decision in his last two fights, the most recent being a surprising split decision call, McDonald said he found decisions “scary” heading into Saturday night’s fight. If there is any fear in McDonald, he didn’t have time to express it, dropping Soto in the opening moments of the round.
The Mexican fighter somehow regained his feet, valiantly attempting to survive, but McDonald continued to blast him. Landing numerous punches, he drove Soto backwards, sending him back to the canvas in a heap for the knockout finish.
“I was trying to finish him, but he grabbed a hold of me pretty good and kept his composure pretty well,” McDonald said after the fight, adding that he’s down for whatever the UFC wants to throw at him next.
“I’m in no rush.”