On Aug. 4, 2012, Ryan Bader fought Lyoto Machida for the first time. Lyoto’s second-round knockout of Bader at UFC on Fox 4 is a fixture in the 42-year-old’s career highlight reel. The veteran brawlers went down different paths after that, and Bader hopes to show how he’s grown since the KO.
Now at Bellator 256, Machida’s karate clashes with Bader’s wrestling-based style once again, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Prelims start at 6 p,m. EST and the main card begins at 9 p,m. on Showtime. Bader and Machida have each lost their previous two fights, but Bader is the reigning Bellator heavyweight champion.
If Machida (24-8) suffers a third consecutive loss at the hands of Bader (27-6) on April 9 in Connecticut, it may mark the end of his career. Darth Bader appears to have evolved considerably since his last bout vs “The Dragon,” and MMA betting odds favor him heavily. Many experts, including this one, believe that Bader stops Machida cold in the middle rounds, ground-and-pounding his way to victory.
Empire Strikes Back, Darth Bader Style
Machida is quite proficient with his karate strikes, but once Bader gets a good grip on him it’s over. Bader was a two-time state champion in wrestling and was ranked as high as fourth in the country with ASU. Darth Bader can’t necessarily steal Machida’s breath from a distance like his namesake, but his grappling skills are lethal nonetheless.
Look for the younger, more established fighter to grind this fight to a halt in the early to middle rounds. It’s not likely that Bader will run full speed into a hard Machida right like he did in 2012. Bader will slowly grind Machida down into a fine powder until he taps out or the referee stops the fight. A $300 wager on Bader wins you a cool $100 in profit, once the Reno-born bull proves the bookies right.