Blake Bilder was fighting for more than a title at CFFC 107 on Friday night. He was fighting for his brother’s memory.
Bilder, the reigning Cage Fury FC featherweight champion, took on Regivaldo Carvalho atop Friday’s event in Atlantic City, NJ. The undefeated Bilder was the favorite, but encountered some adversity early, with Brazil’s Carvalho frequently firing his right hand. Still, Bilder pressed forward, while being admonished by his corner not to over-reach.
Then came the first-round knockdown, with the challenger sitting Bilder down. Yet while Carvalho tried to pounce, he couldn’t put the champ away. Instead, it was Bilder transitioning to the back while the pair were up against the fence. But in the final minute, Bilder was dropped a second time.
The champ, however, survived the round. Early in the second, he’d turn things around, taking the back, looking for a choke. Carlvaho spent a lot of time wearing Bilder like a backpack, and by the end of the frame, there was an argument for a 10-8 round.
The scorecards wouldn’t matter in the end. Instead, the third round saw Blake Bilder complete the comeback. Bilder was pushing forward taking some big swings, and working the body with Carvalho up against the fence. Body, head, body, head, Bilder was working Carvalho over. Carlvaho still had some fight in him, firing back, but Bilder dropped him with a right, and swarmed with ground n’ pound! That sealed the deal, giving Bilder a successful title defense. He scaled the fence, and called out “I did it for you, Brayden!”
After the fight, the champ opened up about the loss of his younger brother, Brayden Edward Bilder.
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) April 16, 2022
“A month ago, my little brother took his own life. I was thinking about retiring, I don’t know. I love this sport and I’m so appreciative for all of you,” Bilder said, talking to CM Punk post-fight and addressing the crowd. “Thank you for coming out, I f*cking love you guys. As somebody who’s gone through depression, as somebody who’s dealt with anxiety and mental health, I just want to be an advocate and let you know that I’m fighting for you! It gives me extra strength, this is what I live for.”
Bilder improved to 6-0-1 with the win on Friday, and remains one of the hot prospects in the featherweight division. Though that is no doubt the last thing on his mind following a very emotional victory — and a very inspiring one.