(Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly.)
According to Ryan Bader’s Twitter page, the TUF 8 light-heavyweight winner will return to action at UFC 104 (October 24th, Los Angeles) against "Eric Shaufer." (We’re assuming that means Eric Schafer, the UFC vet who’s coming off back-to-back first-round stoppages of Houston Alexander and Antonio Mendes.) If the announcement is accurate, it would be a surprisingly quick comeback for Bader, who wrecked his knee during his three-round domination of Carmelo Marrero in April; early predictions said he’d be out of action for up to a year. UFC 104 will be headlined by the light-heavyweight title fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua, and may also feature the heavyweight contenders match between Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez.
In a related story, UFC 104 will reportedly host another fight that could result in at least one wrecked knee — leg kick specialists Pat Barry and Antoni Hardonk have agreed to face each other at the Los Angeles event, and bout agreements are expected to be signed shortly. It’s a must-win situation for both fighters, who took tough losses in their last outings; Barry was choked out by newcomer Tim Hague at UFC 98, and Hardonk got pasted by Cheick Kongo at UFC 97. Fun facts: Barry is a training partner of Eric Schafer (see above) at Roufusport, and Barry and Hardonk used to train together in Holland under kickboxing legend Ernesto Hoost. Get ready for the nastiest leg-kick battle since last year’s Lauzon Family Pig Roast.