Glover Teixeira and Ryan “Darth” Bader are set and prepped to battle it out Wednesday night, in what looks to be a promising fight and an important one within the light-heavyweight division.
Teixeira comes across as the assured fighter, favored by the betting-line and hometown crowd, to take the win. Although it’s always been his dream to be the main event on a UFC card, he always assumed that it would be in a place like Las Vegas and not in his home country of Brazil.
To that end and even though there are benefits to fighting in his native state of Minas Gerais and its capital of Belo, Glover will also be feeling the pressure to win. By all accounts this is Teixeira’s fight to lose and if he wins, the prospect of a title-shot has already been dangled before him. Combine the two, fighting at home and the possibility of a title-shot, one has to wonder if it might all go to his head.
On that note, it’s possible that Glover might be looking past the un-ranked Ryan Bader and as such, not taking the Darth as seriously as he should. For what prognosticators may wish to make of them, Teixeira pre-fight statements have been a mixed-bag of blessings.
On the one hand, Glover feels that “the belt is the next step.” However, he also believes that it’s not taking his focus off of Bader. To some and particularly Bader fans, that could come across as putting the cart before the horse and evidence of Teixeira looking past Wednesday night’s fight.
The Brazilian also feels that Darth is a “test” for his wrestling skills. However, Bader is not just a test for a fighter’s wrestling skills he’s a full-on exam. He’s not the type of an opponent that a fighter should be trying out their wrestling skills on. He’s the type of guy that most fighters, even high-level ground fighters and fellow wrestlers, usually try and avoid a ground fight with.
That said, Glover seems to be looking to put himself to the test and given that he’s a well-rounded and tough fighter, perhaps he can lock-up with Bader and demonstrate his dominance of Darth, both on the ground and up against the cage.
For his part, Bader has nothing to lose in this fight. As he’s un-ranked, coming off of a win, fighting in Glover’s home country and considered to be the under-dog, he has absolutely no pressure on him to either win or to perform. Happily enough for Bader, that’s the way he likes it.
Ryan believes that because no one is expecting him to win that it leaves him “free to do whatever he feels like in the Octagon” and presents to him, a great opportunity to “spoil everybody’s plans” and a win would most certainly accomplish that task.
Bader also says that he’s going to use the energy from the home-town crowd, positive or negative, to his advantage and “feed off of it.” If this proves to be the case and he can do damage to Glover, particularly if he can repeatedly take him down to do it, could well remove the fans from the fight and in their silence, Bader might feed even more off their lack of energy.
Regardless of its outcome, this promises to be a great fight. As both fighters look to be in shape and supremely confident of their respective wins, the promise should come to fruition.