Ryan Bader and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira headline UFC Fight Night 100 in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Saturday. The two faced off once before at UFC 119, a relatively unmemorable bout that saw Bader pick up the victory.
The rest of the card is stacked with plenty of interesting prospects who could very well be among the elite in their respective weight class one day.
Ryan Bader vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
In the beginning of his MMA career, Bader was strictly a wrestler, but he has come a long way in rounding out his skill set. His offensive striking game is fairly basic but gets the job done. Though his jab is surprisingly solid, Bader is still hittable on the feet and can be knocked out if his opponent has power.
But there is no doubt Bader’s game is built around wrestling. The former D1 wrestler explodes into takedowns and is difficult to stop once he gets his hands on to you. Bader isn’t necessarily dangerous once a fight hits the mat, but he is incredibly heavy from top control and suffocates his opponent.
It is also important to note that this is Bader’s last fight on his current UFC contract. He is expected to test the free-agent waters and if he wants a big contract offer – here’s looking at you, Bellator – then a big performance will be important.
‘Minotouro’ has always been a crisp boxer, as he has spent his career working behind a steady jab and a powerful left from the southpaw stance. As his skills and speed have naturally declined with his age, Nogueira has developed his clinch fighting game to make it difficult for opponents to have a chance to breathe.
Nogueira’s wrestling isn’t especially great, but he is plenty capable of posing a threat from his back. It’s been many years since the Brazilian has picked up a submission win, but he is still a third-degree black belt in BJJ. If Bader leaves his neck exposed during the grappling aspects, he could easily find himself getting choked out.
Bader holds the advantage in most aspects of this fight, as age has started to affect Minotouro. That’s not to say that Nogueira can’t win, as he still has power in his hands and a guard game that is threatening to Bader.
Rest Of The Main Card
Elite bantamweight prospect Thomas Almeida looks to get back on track following his first career loss against Albert Morales. Almeida has some of the most technically beautiful striking in MMA today and he pairs that with an aggressive approach to overwhelm opponents in the standup game. Cody Garbrandt exploited this aggressive approach with powerful counterpunches, so we will see if Almeida remains as aggressive moving forward. Morales is still relatively raw in MMA but possesses size and great athleticism. Much like Almeida, he likes to move forward behind volume in the striking game.
Claudia Gadelha looks to continue her dominance over anyone not named “Joanna” when she takes on Courtney Casey. Gadelha finds herself in the “Benavidez paradox,” as she is clearly the second-best fighter in her division but has two losses against the champion, which makes her career stalled. She does everything well, as she has crisp, technical striking and unmatched power in the grappling game. The Brazilian has had some issues with cardio, but that does not pose an issue in a three-round fight. Casey has learned to leverage her length and size into a compelling package. She is at her best when she can tie up her opponent and work in the clinch. Though her skills are good in most areas, Casey’s wrestling isn’t that great.
Proven middleweight Thales Leites takes on surging Krzystof Jotko in a solid matchup. Leites made his name based on his dominant mat work and submission skills, as the Brazilian has 15 career wins via submission. He has clearly spent time working on his striking, and it’s not bad, but it is still the biggest hole in his game. Jotko is a striker who uses his punches and rangy kicks to outpoint opponents. The Pole also has good takedown defense, which allows him to keep the fight standing.
Extremely talented welterweight prospects Warlley Alves and Kamaru Usman clash with a big step up in competition coming for the Sportsbook. Alves is an explosive athlete who likes to put the pressure on quickly into the fight. Though he has solid defenses, Alves is usually a pure offensive, pressure fighter. This style lends itself to impressive stoppage wins, but it can also gas him out. Usman has crisp striking but is at his best when he wears down his opponent over time. He likes to get into the clinch and beat up on his opponent and he seems to love fighting along the cage.
Zak Ottow and Sergio Moraes meet in a welterweight between two interesting fighters. Ottow made his UFC debut on short notice and picked up the decision over veteran Josh Burkman. “The Barbarian” moves forward behind a solid striking game and has a good eye for submissions in the ground game. Moraes has an understated striking game, but his path to victory is on the ground. The BJJ black belt has picked up seven of his career victories via submission.