|Ryan Bader||vs.||Carmelo Marrero
No. 85 light heavyweight
No. 96 light heavyweight
|Arizona Combat Sports
||Camp||American Top Team
Ryan Bader will have his first fight since winning The Ultimate Fighter when he takes on Carmelo Marrero Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 18. Full preview below.
What's at stake for Bader: The UFC always wants Ultimate Fighter winners to develop into big stars, and Bader has the kind of personality and fighting style that makes him easy for fans to like. But if he loses his first fight since he was on the show, that takes all the wind out of his sails.
What's at stake for Marrero: Keeping his job in the UFC. Marrero was dropped by the UFC in 2007 after losing two straight fights, and a weak showing against Bader could get him sent packing again.
Bader says about Marrero: "He's a great wrestler, great conditioning, but I think I'm a better wrestler. I think it'll be a good fight. I don't have one specific game plan, just have to see where it goes. Maybe look to put him on his back -- put a wrestler on his back and he's in another world."
Why Bader is favored: He's much better known, thanks to The Ultimate Fighter, and he looked extremely impressive in winning his Ultimate Fighter Finale fight.
Why Marrero could pull the upset: He's a better fighter than the +300 odds would suggest. Marrero is big enough and strong enough that he could control the Octagon against Bader and grind out a decision win.
Official site | UFC profile | Sherdog record | Wikipedia entry
UFC profile | Sherdog record | Wikipedia entry
Prediction: Bader wins, but in a close decision, and nowhere near as easily as the heavy odds in his favor would suggest.