UFC 104: Ryan Bader Beats Eric Schafer by Unanimous Decision

Former Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader stayed undefeated with perhaps the biggest win of his MMA career, beating Eric Schafer by unanimous decision at UFC 104 in a fight that started fast, ended slow and represented a small step forward for one of the UFC's rising stars.

The fight started like a boxing match, and Bader got the better of it, landing the harder, more accurate punches. When he finally landed a strong right that knocked Schafer to the ground, it looked like Bader was going to finish it: Bader landed a series of punches, and when Schafer briefly got back up, Bader slammed him right back down.

But Schafer survived the first and even managed a couple of submission attempts, showing -- as he did in his win over Houston Alexander last year -- that he's capable of keeping his head clear and even going on the offensive after he's been knocked down.

In the second Schafer accidentally poked Bader in the eye, and after Bader took some time to recover, he looked more tentative. He also looked like all those punches he threw at Schafer in the first round wore Bader down more than they wore Schafer down. Schafer landed some hard punches and won the second round on my card, though not on the cards of the cageside judges.

Early in the third Bader landed a hard right hand that floored Schafer, and when Bader jumped on the ground he landed in Schafer's guard. At that point their heads clashed, opening a cut near Schafer's right eye that was badly bleeding, and the cageside doctor had to inspect it. Schafer was permitted to keep fighting.

From there, not much more action transpired. Late in the third Bader took Schafer down and held him in side control, and the fight ended up on the ground, having slowed down considerably from the frenetic first round. I gave the fight to Bader 29-28; the judges gave it to Bader by much more one-sided scores of 30-27, 29-26 and 30-27.

Bader improved his pro MMA record to 10-0. Schafer falls to 11-4-2.

For more on the UFC 104 fight card, follow our UFC Twitter updates and UFC 104 results.

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