Two top-15 light heavyweights are very likely to do battle at UFC 174 in Vancouver. Matchmakers are targeting a clash between Ryan Bader and Rafael Cavalcante for the June 14 event. Both men are coming off impressive victories in their last Octagon appearances and both have designs on moving up the 205-pound ladder. News of the potential matchup was first reported on UFC Tonight.
The no. 9 ranked Bader is fresh off a brutal beatdown of Anthony Perosh at Fight Night 33 in Australia. “Darth” doled out a severe beating to the 41-year-old veteran, who showed tremendous courage in lasting the distance. It was a solid bounce-back effort after suffering a first-round knockout loss against hard-hitting Brazilian Glover Teixeira. Bader sustained a broken hand in the victory against Perosh but is gearing up for a return to action.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 winner has compiled a 9-4 record inside the Octagon, with his biggest career victories coming against Quinton Jackson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Bader has seven knockout victories to his credit and his power acts as a strong compliment to his outstanding wrestling abilities.
“Feijao” is a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion who has had mixed results in his relatively brief UFC tenure. After being stopped in his Octagon debut by Thiago Silva, Cavalcante responded with an impressive first-round finish of the usually durable Igor Pokrajac at Fight Night 32 in Brazil. The dangerous no. 13 ranked Brazilian has 12 career victories and all have come by way of knockout or submission.
This matchup has the potential to be an explosive one and is likely to produce an emphatic finish. The winner will be in line for another high-profile opportunity in the light heavyweight landscape.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports