Bader wrestles his way past OSP for 3rd straight win

Published on Monday, 8/18/14, at 3:22 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Ryan Bader won his third consecutive fight in Saturday’s main event at UFC Fight Night 47 in Bangor, Maine. Using his superior wrestling, Bader captured a unanimous-decision win (49-46 twice, 48-47) over Ovince St. Preux as a -185 favorite.

Gamblers backing ‘over’ 3.5 rounds cashed a +105 ticket. Bader is now 6-2 in his last eight fights with his only defeats coming against Lyoto Machida (the former champ) and Glover Teixeira (recent No. 1 contender).

Bader improved to 11-4 in the Octagon and 18-4 overall. His two other career setbacks came against a former champ (Tito Ortiz) and the current 205-pound kingpin (Jon Jones).

‘Darth’ has clearly established himself as a true gatekeeper to the Top 10 of the light-heavyweight loop. I don’t see him ever cracking the division’s top five, but this three-fight run might get him a shot at a top-five contender.

Alexander Gustafsson wants to hold out for the winner of Jones vs. Daniel Cormier, but Dana White sounded as if ‘The Mauler’ was going to stay active with his comments in Maine. If so, Bader could get a shot at Gustafsson, who would be an enormous favorite to stay in the win column and would set him up well for a looming shot at the champ.

Another option for Bader could be Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson. Gustafsson’s camp is going to try and dodge that fight (I can’t blame them) and if they do so successfully, Bader-Johnson could be a main event at a future Fight Night or a co-main for a UFC on Fox show.

As for OSP, he falls to 4-1 in the UFC. Nevertheless, his future is bright and we’ll be hearing from him again soon.

In the co-main event, we might have seen the last of Gray ‘The Bully’ Maynard. Never before in the history of the UFC has a fighter come as close as Maynard (twice) did to capturing UFC gold, only to come up short. In his epic battle with Frankie Edgar, Maynard knocked ‘The Answer’ down seven times in the first round. He should’ve won a decision but the judges ruled it a majority draw.

In the rematch, Maynard was crushing Edgar again in the first two rounds, hurting him badly with strikes galore. However, Edgar rallied again and retained his lightweight belt with a fourth-round KO.

From there, Maynard knew he wasn’t going to get a title shot for at least a year, and it had to mess with his motivation and overall morale. The results have indicated just that. Following a split-decision win over Clay Guida in a lackluster matchup (it was a snoozer because Guida ran and refused to engage all night), Maynard has been knocked out in three straight fights.

The third came Saturday at the hands of Ross Pearson, who finished ‘The Bully’ by flooring him with a short right and polishing him off with a series of strikes while Maynard covered up. Many will probably try to push the 35-year-old Maynard into retirement, but Dana White isn’t going to force his hand.

At the post-fight media scrum, White said, “I’m not trying to push Gray out of the game. We’ll talk. We know it’s not good to get knocked out, but he was medically cleared coming into tonight. We’ll see.”

Pearson, who won as a -160 ‘chalk,’ improved to 8-4 (1 no-contest) in the UFC and we all know that record should read 9-3 after he got robbed of a victory over Diego Sanchez. I’d like to see him paired up with another hot lightweight next, Michael Johnson.

The only Maniac on the card was Tim Boetsch, who faced Brad Tavares in a middleweight scrap. With the crowd in his corner, Boetsch couldn’t take advantage in the opening stanza. Tavares was all over him, bloodying him up with strikes and elbows.

Tim Boetsch KO'd Brad Tavares in comeback fashion to save his job in his home state.

Tim Boetsch KO’d Brad Tavares in comeback fashion to save his job in his home state.

It was more of the same to start the second round. Boetsch was being dominated and possibly looking at a pink slip with another loss. But just like in Japan against Yushin Okami at UFC 144, Boetsch was ready to pull an improbable comeback. After the referee broke the fighters up after a clinch situation against the cage, Boetsch staggered Tavares with a big left hook.

As Tavares tried to get away, Boetsch rushed him and caught him perfectly with a right that floored Tavares. Boetsch finished him with ground strikes and hooked up his betting backers with a sweet payout in the +225 range (risk $100 to win $225).

Alan Jouban made his UFC debut in a welterweight clash against Seth Baczynski, who was getting the better of most of the stand-up exchanges in the early going. But Jouban prevailed by scoring the KO at the 4:23 mark of Round 1. Both fighters pocketed 50 large by earning Fight of the Night honors.

Shawn ‘The Savage’ Jordan shook off back-to-back defeats by first-round KO to earn a third-round KO win over Jack May. Jordan had to eat a lot of shots from May during the first two rounds and he’ll be wearing several cuts on his face for the next two weeks. Nevertheless, the former LSU football player got the job done in a back-and-forth battle.

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