After losing consecutive fights to Jon "Bones" Jones and Tito Ortiz, "Ultimate Fighter" season eight winner Ryan Bader bounced right back, defeating Jason Brilz and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in his next two outings.
Bader will be in for a tougher test when he faces Lyoto Machida at "UFC on Fox 4," but a win will place him back in title contention. The two will meet on Aug. 4, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
A win against Machida would be a huge accomplishment for Bader, and he seems focused on the task at hand. He's brought in multiple training partners to imitate the unorthodox Brazilian's striking style, and he's studying a lot of tape as well.
"I like to watch fights where in the past Machida's opponent's [style] kind of resembles my style," Ryan Bader said during a recent appearance on 'Inside the Cage Radio'. "So we've been doing that a lot, I've been feeling great."
Besides watching Machida's past fights, Bader has also been working with two-time Shotokan Karate world champion, Hiroshi Allen. He's dedicated a significant portion of his training camp to standup sparring, and he's confident he'll be able to deal with anything Machida throws at him inside the Octagon.
"He's [Allen] been great," Bader added. "He comes in and we drill, we spar, he has the Machida stance, blitzes, the different kicks that he does, the trips. … He's done everything that Machida does and he brings that into the Octagon when we spar, so I've seen it hundreds of times. It's not going to be the first time when I step in the Octagon that I've seen different stuff from Machida, so I feel good and I feel good about this fight and I'm ready."
Given how well Machida matches up against wrestlers, Bader will certainly have his hands full at UFC on Fox 4, and he'll need all the preparation he can get. After all, Machida proved to be a tough puzzle for even Jones to solve.
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.