Phoenix, AZ — Ryan Bader is in familiar territory this weekend at Bellator 268, which rolls into the Footprint Center in Phoenix this Saturday.
Bader (28-6, 1NC) is an Arizona State alum, a three-time Pac-10 Champ and two-time NCAA All-American wrestler who went on to become a double champ in Bellator MMA, though he’s down to just one belt, at heavyweight, these days.
Set to face fellow UFC ex-pat Corey Anderson on Saturday in the semfinals of the promotion’s ongoing light heavyweight grand prix, Bader told Cageside Press during Thursday’s media day that he has more than one way to win the fight.
“One thing that sticks out there is, I hit hard if I connect. That’s one possibility, I could definitely put him away on the feet,” Bader told us. “Or get him in a position on the ground so I can rain down ground n’ pound, I’ve finished a lot of fights like that. I definitely have power, and I have power in both hands. What makes that dangerous is my takedown ability too. You think I’m going for a takedown and I’m putting hard punches in your face, and vice versa. It’s a tough style to figure out.”
Bader, unlike Anderson, also has extensive experience inside the Bellator cage, a larger, circular take on the UFC octagon. Anderson, to date, has just two fights with the promotion. But it’s not just the cage difference and time in the promotion that “Darth” Bader feels gives him an edge.
“I think I just have more experience in general. I think I have twice the amount of fights he has. Being a veteran like that, and not just being a veteran but being a veteran in his prime,” suggested Bader, and to where he has the advantage. “I’m a little older, but I’m in my prime right now, and that combination is dangerous, because I’ve been in there a million times. I feel comfortable in there now, there’s no doubt anymore, there’s nerves and all that stuff, but I feel off that.”
The 38-year old Bader noted that he’s been in bad spots, good sports, and a ton of five round fights. “He can’t say that.”
Watch the full Bellator 268 media day press scrum with Ryan Bader above. The event takes place this Saturday, October 16, 2021 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ.