UFC & MMA Betting

Ferreira vs Bader Prediction: Who Will Become Champion of Champions?

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Mixed martial arts entertainment will peak this weekend in a brand new way with PFL vs Bellator. In the main event, PFL's Renan Ferreira will face Bellator's Ryan Bader for the Champion of Champions Heavyweight Title. Here is our Ferreira vs Bader prediction.

Ferreira vs Bader Prediction: Which Champion Will Prevail?

Renan Ferreira Preview

While Ferreira has never fought against a fighter quite like Bader and he lacks the experience, he has the strength and skills to produce the highlight of the event. Known for his terrific knockout power, he enters this contest with 10 knockouts in 12 professional wins, fresh from his TKO win that made him the 2023 PFL Heavyweight Champion.

A professional since 2013, Renan Ferreira never made it to the UFC and has been performing in the PFL since 2021. His professional record includes 12 wins, 3 losses, and 3 no contests. Apparently, there is a real problem with illegal substances in the PFL as two of Ferreira's bouts were ruled NC after his opponents tested positive for banned chemicals.

Ferreira has a worrying size advantage. His height is 6'8 which translates to 203cm while Bader is about 6'2 or 188cm. The reach advantage is even more shocking. Bader has a reach of 188cm while Renan's span is 216cm. This will be a huge advantage for the Brazilian and will allow him to keep Bader at a distance.

Renan Ferreira's Fighting Style & Skills

The size advantage will be a key element in this particular contest as Bader is known for his aggressive style and he loves to dictate the pace of his fights. Ferreira is obviously much stronger when it comes to punching power, so as long as he finds a way to control the distance and exchanges, he will have an advantage.

Even on the ground, it feels like Ferreira could be the more threatening fighter. Bader is known for his wrestling skills and he always tries to score points through control and ground and pound. In this case, he will face Renan Ferreira, who is very proficient in BJJ, a martial art that we consider to be Bader's only weakness. We can hardly expect a submission in this particular bout, so we can cross that market out for our Ferreira vs Bader prediction.

Ferreira has a single submission win in his career out of 12 total while Bader landed a successful choke only three times in 31 winning performances. This will either end in a devastating knockout or a hard-fought decision.

While Bader is a cardio monster even at this respectable age, we can't even conclude if Ferreira is fit to fight a long bout or not. He has reached a decision only twice in 18 professional bouts and 12/18 ended in the first round, win or lose.

Ryan Bader Preview

When it comes to experience, Ryan Bader is in a different universe. He began his professional career all the way back in 2007 and spent most of his career in the UFC and Bellator. Having faced multiple former world champions during his early days, he deserves to be the headliner of this extraordinary event.

UFC Career

Bader began his career in small American promotions and tournaments before entering the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2008. After he won the Light Heavyweight tournament with a TKO win over Vinny Magalhaes, he earned a contract with the promotion. He spent more than seven years in the UFC and never reached the contender status.

Nevertheless, you can hardly find a more experienced fighter in MMA than Ryan Bader. In 19 UFC fights, he faced six former and future world champions – he lost to Jon Jones, Tito Ortiz, Glover Teixeira, and Lyoto Machida, and beat Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans.

Since he lost his most significant fights in the UFC, he was never a clear contender for the title, despite his status as a top fighter in the organization. Therefore, in 2017, after his win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in November 2016, he decided to leave the promotion to seek better opportunities.

 

The First Bellator Double Champion

That same year, he made his Bellator debut as a top contender for the light heavyweight title in a rematch against Phil Davis, who was once a Top 5-ranked fighter in the UFC. Bader won by Split Decision, winning the belt on his debut.

After Bader successfully defended his title against Linton Vassell in November 2017, he decided to participate in the heavyweight grand prix. Ryan had his first match in this tournament in May 2018. His opponent was Muhammed Lawal, whom Bader knocked out in literally 15 seconds. In October of the same year, Ryan faced Matt Mitrione in the Grand Prix semi-final and defeated him by a unanimous decision.

In 2019, still unbeaten in Bellator, Bader became the first two-division world champion in the promotion when he won the vacant Heavyweight Championship against the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. The American knocked him out in 35 seconds.

In August 2020, Bader defended his light heavyweight belt against Vadim Nemkov. The Russian knocked out Ryan in the 2nd round and won the light-heavyweight title. After this defeat, Bader tried his luck in the light heavyweight grand prix. In April 2021, he defeated the former UFC Champion Lyoto Machida by unanimous decision for the second time but failed to reach the final due to his defeat to Corey Anderson.

While he lost the Light Heavyweight title in 2019 and never got a chance to fight for it again, he has been the Heavyweight champion for five years, most recently beating Fedor in their rematch in February 2023.

Ryan Bader's Fighting Style & Skills

Ryan Bader is a magician when it comes to wrestling. He won three gold medals from the Pac-10 Championships in the past. He has knockout power, hence the 13 knockouts on his record, but he is better known for the brutal pressure he applies during his fights. You shouldn't expect submissions when you watch a Bader fight, BJJ is not one of his strengths. However, if he takes you to the ground, you are not escaping until the end of the round.

Ferreira has to keep this fight standing or he will lose on points. This is what makes the Ferreira vs Bader prediction so difficult. This is why this is the closest bout in terms of odds on the entire card.

Bader's fighting style is to dictate the action through mixing different techniques. He is a master of transitioning from striking to a takedown and the only disadvantage here is Ferreira's size. Well, his age is another disadvantage but he has proven that he can adapt and fight under pressure even against significantly younger opponents.

Despite being at an age that few fighters reach, Bader can still fight at the highest level for five rounds. Cardio has always been one of his biggest strengths and in 2022 and 2023 we saw that age doesn't hinder his stamina. However, it is entirely possible that this match won't go all the way considering what kind of fighter he is going up against.

Renan Ferreira vs Ryan Bader Prediction: Sometimes Strength Beats Experience

In terms of odds, there isn't a proper favorite here. We expected the odds to be close when the card was originally announced but we did not expect Ferreira to have a minimal advantage. As we already discussed above, both fighters have equal chances here as long as their game plans work. If Ferreira manages to control the distance and parry Bader's traditional attempts to throw continuous combinations, he will probably win this match. If Bader manages to take Ferreira down, we believe that even the Brazilian's BJJ skills would not help him win on points.

We love watching Ryan Bader perform but unfortunately, we feel like Ferreira truly is the favorite here. He is six years younger and his brute strength is unmatched. He may lack the experience at this level, having fought only one championship bout in his career but you can't neglect the knockout power. Ten knockouts in 12 wins is an impressive record and Ryan Bader was already knocked out twice in the last few years when he faced an elite opponent.

While we do not advise betting on the knockout here, the moneyline odds for Ferreira are good enough for our Ferreira vs Bader prediction. Whether the Brazilian will connect a one-punch knockout or simply wear down the 40-year-old champion with his devastating power, we are confident that Ferreira will be crowned Champion of Champions in Riyadh this Saturday.

While this literally feels like an exhibition event, the stakes are high. It has already been confirmed that the winner of this Heavyweight Champ vs Champ bout will face Francis Ngannou next. The Cameroonian will fight Anthony Joshua in a boxing match first but he will then make his long-anticipated return to MMA to face the winner from PFL vs Bellator.

Vlad is a former amateur MMA fighter. After a series of injuries, he found a different way to connect with the sport and its fanbase - through writing. He's been covering everything-UFC for over 5 years on various platforms and has been part of the team at NYFights since early 2022.