TUF 8 finalists come away from finale with humility, eagerness
Humility could be the most common theme among the three fighters who made their way to
For Bader's part, it was probably the first time in his young career that he has been placed as an underdog, which he was going into his matchup against
"I definitely thought I had the better stand-up," Bader said at the post-fight press conference. "I haven't showed my stand-up game at all in any of my fights. I came from wrestling. I was thrown in there pretty quickly and I relied heavily on my wrestling. It takes some time and some ring experience to get in there and feel comfortable while your throwing punches.
"We've been working at Arizona Combat Sports and the Lally brothers have helped me a lot and just really improved my game for the six months."
Where stand-up was the dominant factor in the finish between Bader and Magalhaes, it was the ground and pound attack unleashed by Escudero that got him to the lightweight title in The Ultimate Fighter Finale. The pre-fight hype had already pegged his opponent, Phillipe Nover, as the next big thing, but it's a good thing Escudero had full confidence in his strategy heading into the bout.
"There was a lot of saying about him being the next
"When he threw that overhand right, you know, took him down and after a while, I knew he was going to catch on to it. So I allowed him to throw that knee and I would just catch that leg."
Facing the first loss of his career, Nover already recognized the problems he had in the fight against Escudero and understands the shortcomings that cost him the fight. Regardless of the loss, it's an attitude that understands misgivings that will make him a great fighter in the future.
"We both had our gameplan. He knows that I had strong hands and he didn't want to trade punches, he wanted to shoot in. I did hook up with the wrestling team and I've been working how to defend it, but I guess I kind of over-committed my shots and strikes and he timed it," Nover stated.
Now Bader and Escudero