Light heavyweight and rising star Glover Teixeira (21-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC) looks to solidify his status as the next challenger to Jon Jones’ belt as he takes on NCAA Div 1 wrestler and five year UFC veteran Ryan “Darth” Bader (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 28 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Teixeira made his burst into the UFC at UFC 146 against Kyle Kingsbury where he quickly dispatched of him via first round submission, extending his win streak to 16 in a row including wins over Ricco Rodriguez, Marvin Eastman, and Remeau Thierry Sokoudjou. He has since remained undefeated in the UFC after a war with Fabio Maldonado, a dominating performance over former champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and a quick submission over James Te Huna who was a replacement for Ryan Bader after he was forced to pull out of this fight originally back at UFC 160.

Bader made his way into the UFC after becoming The Ultimate Fighter season 8 winner by knocking out Vinny Magalhaes in the finals. Bader holds wins over light heavyweights Antônio Rogério Nogueira, Quinton Rampage Jackson, Vladimir Matyushenko but has lost to top ranked fighters like Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida. Bader is very dominant against fighters floating around the top 10 but has fallen short against high ranked opponents making this match up a very good test to see where Teixeira is at in the division.

Teixeira is a very well rounded Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt who compliments his grappling with good wrestling as we saw in his fight with “Rampage” and devastating striking which he put on display in his beat down of Maldonado. Currently riding a 19 fight win streak with 17 finishes, his name reached headlines when one of the toughest fighters in the league, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, declined a fight with him. To go along with his well rounded arsenal of offensive abilities, Teixeira has a chin that hasn’t failed him since his very first mixed martial arts fight in 2002.

One thing that has yet to be tested of Teixeira is his defensive wrestling. While he dominated that aspect against “Rampage,” Teixeira was fighting a shadow of Jackson’s former self who had abandoned the use of his offensive wrestling. Bader will certainly be looking to test how well Teixeira can stay off his back as he did when he was at a striking disadvantage against “Rampage.” While Bader has earned himself some devastating knockouts over Keith Jardine and Jason Brilz, Teixeira is a much better striker and rushing in with looping punches will not have the same effect as it did against those two, something “Darth” found out in his fight with Machida. However, if he is able to mix it up and instill the fear of a take down in Teixeira, he may be able to unload those same powerful punches and find his opponents chin.

My Prediction: Glover Teixeira def. Ryan Bader via submission in round 2.

Since joining the UFC, Teixeira hasn’t showed the same one punch KO power that we saw earlier in his career and I don’t think Bader will be the fighter that allows him to showcase it. Bader certainly has the tools to pull off an upset if his wrestling can appropriately compliment his powerful striking, but the complexity and well rounded approach of Teixeira will more than likely prove to be too much. Teixeira has decent wrestling himself, better striking, and a substantial advantage in grappling having won four of his last six by submission. It wouldn’t be surprising if Teixeira looked for some take downs as well, but ultimately it will be his superior striking that will shine in this fight earning him a knock him down in the second round after he finds his range and picks up on the rhythm of Bader, and he will follow up the knock down with a submission finish after some ground and pound.