Ryan Bader signs with Bellator MMA

TUF winner Ryan Bader

Multiple media outlets have reported that Ryan Bader has expectedly signed a multiple-year offer to join Bellator. The light heavyweight fighter recently finished his UFC contract and entered free agency.

Bader finished his UFC run last November with a third-round stoppage over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the main event of UFC Fight Night 100. During his nearly eight-year run with the company, he went 15-5. Bader scored signature victories over former UFC champions Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson as well as former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante.

In 2015, Bader scored a split-decision victory over current Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis. Davis recently defeated Liam McGeary to claim the Bellator title. He left the UFC in 2015 and won three fights over Emanuel Newton, Francis Carmont and Muhammed Lawal before receiving a title shot.

Bader earned a shot in the UFC by winning the eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” On the reality show, he defeated Kyle Kingsbury, Tom Lawlor and Eliot Marshall. In the finale, he made his UFC debut and bested ADCC gold medalist Vinny Magalhaes via first-round knockout.