Former Sun Devil Wrestler Ryan `Darth' Bader is the Ultimate Fighter

Dec. 16, 2008

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TEMPE, Ariz. - Ryan Bader, a former student-athlete on the Arizona State University wrestling team (2003-06), fought in the finale of season eight of the UFC’s (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Ultimate Fighter series on Saturday inside the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., and won the light heavyweight division and a contract with the UFC. The second former Sun Devil in as many series to reach the final, Bader needed less than three minutes to win his fight and be crowned the Ultimate Fighter.

‘Darth’ Bader, as he is known in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), met up with Vinny Magalhaes in the finale and put his 8-0-0 professional record on the line against a multiple-time world champion in jiu-jitsu. With both fighters at home on the ground, Bader kept the fight on its feet to start and that strategy paid off for the Reno-native as Bader landed a strong right hand to the side of Magalhaes’ head, dropping his foe to the mat. Once there, Bader moved in for several more punches before the referee stepped in at the 2:18 mark and giving Bader the TKO victory.

Bader, who was a two-time All-American and three-time Pac-10 Champion for the Sun Devil wrestling program between 2002 and 2006, followed former teammate C.B. Dollaway (known as the Doberman) as fighters on the Ultimate Fighter series while becoming the first to win the show. Dollaway lost in the final of season seven.

The victory for Bader was not the only win for the State of Arizona at the Ultimate Finale. In the lightweight finale, Yuma, Ariz., native and former Pima College All-American wrestler Efrain Escudero won a contract of his own with the UFC as he scored a unanimous decision victory over Phillipe Nover. One other fighter with Arizona ties also fought Saturday as former Sun Devil football player Kyle Kingsbury lost a unanimous decision to Tom Lawlor.

The Ultimate Finale on Saturday also started a string of three shows in a row with former Sun Devils fighting on the card. Next up for former ASU student-athletes will be Dollaway’s (8-2-0) return to the octagon on December 27 where he will fight Mike Massenzio (11-2-0) at UFC 92 - The Ultimate 2008 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Then, on January 17, UFC 93 - Franklin vs. Henderson will take place inside the O2-Dublin Arena in Dublin, Ireland, with former Sun Devil ‘Dangerous’ Dan Henderson (22-7-0) taking on Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin (25-3-0) in the headline fight of the card.

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