Note: This is a guest post written by Mike Schmitz from the TapouT VTC.
For Ryan Bader and Tito Ortiz, UFC 132 comes with completely different circumstances. Ortiz (15-8) is fighting to save his career and turn the page on a winless streak spanning almost five years. Bader (12-1), on the other hand, is working toward his first title while fulfilling his dream to fight an MMA pioneer like Ortiz.
Although their differences are apparent, when the 28-year-old Bader and 36-year-old Ortiz come to blows tonight it will become clear that these two fighters are cut from the same MMA training cloth.
When asked about Bader’s fighting style in an interview on UFC.com Ortiz said, “Kind of an image of my fighting style. An OK boxer, good wrestler, ground and pound guy.”
Bader has heavier hands and knockout prowess, but the similarities in MMA training backgrounds regardless of age and experience blatantly shine through in their fighting styles.
Both Bader and Ortiz made their mark in the wrestling ranks. Bader was a three-time Pac-10 Champion at Arizona State University and racked up two All-American honors along the way.
Ortiz doesn’t have the same collegiate wrestling accolades as Bader – Ortiz won a California state junior college title at Golden West College and went on to wrestle at Cal State Bakersfield – but Ortiz did compete as a submission wrestler and found success in the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling tournament in 2000.
So what happens when two fighters with similar MMA training backgrounds and fighting styles come to blows? Bader’s the clear favorite and it’s his fight to lose in a way, but Ortiz says he’s in the best shape of his life and to expect a competitive fight.
In fact, Ortiz had some choice words for Bader in his last blog entry on ESPN.com.
“Bader made a mistake saying I am a stepping stone back to Jon Jones,” Ortiz wrote. “I’m not a stepping stone to anyone. No one has ever had an easy fight against me and he made a mistake in saying that I am a stepping stone,” he later wrote. “Maybe it was a figure of speech, but even if it was it was a little disrespectful to a former world champion.”
Bader denied calling Ortiz a stepping-stone as he told ESPNRadio1100, “I never said that one time. All I said was I wanted to get back to the top and that starts with Tito here.”
Although Bader may not see Ortiz as a stepping-stone, he should see him as the fighter he may very well be in eight years.
Before Bader’s career is over, the similarities between he and Ortiz might become about more than initial MMA training and fighting styles. Regardless of whether or not Bader defeats Ortiz and ends the legend’s career, Bader may very well go on to duplicate Tito’s career and become an eventual champion and UFC legend.
Train with Bader
You can train with Ryan Bader and other MMA pros at TapouT’s Virtual Training Center. Check out a sneak peak of Bader demonstrating the double-leg takedown: