Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He had gone as far as he was going to go in the UFC, so Ryan Bader made the jump to Bellator and promptly won their light-heavyweight belt. And at last night’s Bellator 186, Bader pounded out top contender Linton Vassell – proving that, with the change in scenery and different pool of competitive talent, the TUF winner is right where he belongs.

The Octagon isn’t for everyone. If you’re a fading legend, its rigors are a cruel mistress who will leave you broken more often than victorious (see: Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida). And if you’ve still got some miles left in you, but not enough ability to break through to the top, it can be just as harsh. But that’s why there’s a Bellator, right?

For Bader, Bellator 186 showed that he can still get in trouble against someone skilled in kicking out his lead leg but ultimately his wrestling will prevail… at least against the best Bellator has to offer.

Hooray for second chances!