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Ryan Bader vs. Carmelo Marrero expected for UFN 18 on April 1

Season eight light heavyweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter Ryan Bader is scheduled to make his formal UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 18 on April 1 against the returning Carmelo Marrero. was informed of the matchup from a source close to one of the fighters.

Bader won his TUF 8 crown following a first round TKO over Vinicius Magalhaes during the show’s live finale last month. A former All-American wrestler at Arizona State University, Bader is 8-0 in his career with seven of his eight victories having ended inside the distance.

He’ll be facing another former amateur wrestler in Marrero, who is returning to the UFC after being released from the organization in May of 2007. Marrero, 10-2, last competed in November at WEC 36, where he recorded a split decision victory over Steve Steinbeiss. He was transferred over to the UFC after the WEC closed both its middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.

Marrero might be best known for his upset victory over Cheick Kongo at UFC 64. However, he was released from his contract after experiencing back-to-back losses to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 66 and Wilson Gouveia at UFC 71.

UFN 18 will take place in Nashville, Tenn. and the two-hour live telecast on Spike TV will precede the season premiere for the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter.