A previously rumoured UFC light heavyweight bout is now indeed official. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante vs. Ryan Bader is the latest addition to UFC 174 in Vancouver. Both fighters will be riding positive momentum heading into the June 14 matchup after impressive performances their last outings.
Cavalcante secured his first Octagon victory at Fight Night 32 in Brazil when he blasted Igor Pokrajac in just 78 seconds. It was a solid bounce-back effort for the former Strikeforce champion after he was stopped by Thiago Silva in his UFC debut.
Bader brutalized Anthony Perosh at Fight Night 33 en route to a lopsided unanimous decision victory. It was a badly needed win for “Darth” after being knocked out in the first round by Glover Teixeira at Fight Night 28. He sustained a broken hand during the December bout against Perosh in Australia. It wasn’t surprising given the number of times Bader punched the ultra-tough Perosh in the face during that 15-minute beatdown.
The TUF Season 8 winner has an outstanding wrestling background and knockout power. He’s enjoyed success inside the Octagon with a 9-4 record. The no. 9 ranked Bader began his UFC career with five straight wins but is just 4-4 since. His biggest career victories have come against Quinton Jackson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Cavalcante possesses tremendous finishing ability, with all 12 of his career triumphs having come inside the distance. The talented no. 12-ranked Brazilian has the skills to be a tough chore for anyone when he’s at the top of his game, and is especially dangerous early on with seven first-round knockouts to his credit. His biggest victory was back in 2010 when he stopped Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal to win the Strikeforce title. “Feijao” also owns a knockout victory over Yoel Romero.
While Cavalcante is an explosive performer, he has been prone to inconsistency. He’s been knocked out in three of his four career losses. This contest has the makings of being a being a fan-friendly affair as both fighters have recorded impressive knockouts in the past, but have also been on the receiving end of devastating finishes. The winner will definitely be in line for meaningful fights moving forward in the 205-pound division.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports