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Ex-All-American wrestlers at UFC 174: Bader wins, Woodley loses

Former Arizona State NCAA All-American wrestler Ryan Bader
Former Arizona State NCAA All-American wrestler Ryan BaderPhoto courtesy of RyanBader.com, used with permission

It was a mixed night for former NCAA All-American wrestlers at UFC 174 Saturday night, as ex-Arizona State matman Ryan Bader came out victorious, while Tyron Woodley, a University of Missouri alum, left Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia on the losing end of his Ultimate Fighting Championships match.

Former Sun Devil Bader shines

Bader, a two-time All-American in 2004 and 2006 for the Sun Devils, earned a unanimous decision in a light-heavyweight match vs. Rafael Cavalcante.

“’The Ultimate Fighter’ Season 8 winner Ryan Bader systematically dismantled former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante with improved standup, a series of takedowns and damaging ground-and-pound,” according to mixed martial arts website Sherdog.com.

“Bader secured takedowns in all three rounds and ripped into the Brazilian with ground-and-pound, from short punches and elbows to the head to crackling knees to the thighs, buttocks and body,” continued Sherdog.com. “By the time the third round arrived, ‘Feijao’ was a spent force and in no position to produce the stoppage he needed.”

In talking about how in recent matches Bader might have lost sight of his wrestling roots, FoxSports.com wrote, “Instead of standing and trading with ‘Feijao’ while playing Russian roulette until one of them fell over, Bader worked his wrestling game to take the former Strikeforce champion down multiple times each round while racking up nearly 10 times as much control time as Feijao.”

For the 31-year-old Bader, a three-time Pac-10 conference champ at Arizona State, it was his 17th overall win (tenth in UFC competition) against four losses since embarking on his MMA career in March 2007. With the loss, Cavalcante falls to 12-5 overall, and 1-2 in UFC.

Ex-Mizzou Tiger Woodley is tamed

Woodley, 32, a two-time NCAA All-American for the Mizzou Tigers, lost his co-main event bout to Rory MacDonald in what Sherdog.com described as a “lopsided” unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the three-round, 170-pound bout 30-27 for the Canadian.

“Outside of a few leg kicks, Woodley did nothing of note offensively,” according to Sherdog.com. “MacDonald frustrated the American Top Team standout with his length and skill, landing kicks and punches to the head and body throughout the 15-minute match.”

ESPN.com concurred, saying, “Woodley looked nothing like the explosive power puncher who had finished Josh Koscheck and Carlos Condit in his past two fights. MacDonald expertly backed him into the cage throughout the fight, negating his speed advantage. “

After the match, MacDonald said, “It went really, really well. Everything we worked on came out in the fight.”

With the loss, Woodley falls to 13-3 overall, and 3-2 in UFC bouts. The former Tiger wrestler had won his first ten bouts (with no losses) since launching his pro MMA career in February 2009; however, in the past two years, he has lost as many matches as he’s won, going 3-3 since July 2012. MacDonald now has an overall record of 17-2, and a UFC mark of 8-2.