Ryan Bader has received an upgrade in jiu-jitsu credentials going into his Bellator 268 light heavyweight grand prix semifinal with Corey Anderson.

Bader (28-6 MMA, 6-1 BMMA), who already owns a solid collection of belts stemming from his MMA career, has added a jiu-jitsu black belt to his decorated resume.

Master Jair Lourenço Gurgel, who is a pupil of the great Andre Pederneiras, awarded Bader with his black belt on Friday after 15 years on the mat.

Bader shared the news on social media and was rightfully proud of the achievement (via Instagram):

After 15 years I have received my black belt from @jairlourencokimura ! What an honor to receive it from a highly decorated black belt and most importantly a great person and team. also a ton of help from my man @triboletbeau

Bader is the current Bellator heavyweight champion. He previously held the 205-pound strap, as well, but lost it to Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 244 in August 2020.

The UFC veteran and Season 8 winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series is on a quest to regain two-division champion status, however. He meets Anderson (15-4 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) for a place in the finals of the eight-man tournament on Oct. 16 at Footprint Center in Phoenix. The card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.

When grappling, Bader has historically been a top pressure and ground-and-pound fighter. He’s got three submission wins on his record, but hasn’t tapped an opponent out in an MMA fight since January 2013.

Perhaps his new black belt status will give him more confidence in going for fight-ending techniques on the ground, but he’ll be in for a stern task against Anderson, who has never been submitted in his 20-fight career.


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