The UFC delivered fireworks Saturday night at UFC 132 with exciting fights, fast knockouts, and an absolute classic five-round main-event between UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber will go down as one of the great main-event fights in UFC history. These two guys fought at a frenetic pace for 25 minutes, never slowing down for five full rounds of action. I think that at the end of the day this fight came down to a few takedowns in favor of Cruz.
These guys barely left their feet nor slowed down for five rounds. Cruz went for takedowns but Faber popped right back up. Faber regularly connected on Cruz coming out of the clinch which I thought may have been a difference maker here. Both men were rocked a few times, yet I never got the impression that either man was close to being knocked out or tapped at any point of the fight.
Cruz and Faber had a world of pressure on their shoulders and they delivered. As the first bantamweight fight to headline a UFC pay per view, anything less than a great fight would have set the entire division back. The UFC took a big risk here putting the smaller guys in the spotlight and it paid off. I think what Cruz and Faber did tonight was open the doors for both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. UFC fans will now get just as excited to see the smaller guys fight in the top spot as they do the big boys.
Chris Leben knocked out Wanderlei Silva in an exciting albeit short co-main event. The fight started as many predicted with a slug fest. Wanderlei swarmed in with reckless abandon and the two went toe-to-toe. Leben connected on a counter and held Wanderlei as he released a series of uppercuts that dropped the Axe Murderer at 0:27 of the first round. Wanderlei was so out of it that he almost attacked the referee when he woke up.
This was a huge win for Leben. Leben was on a roll with a three fight winning streak, one fight away from a probable title shot against Anderson Silva before coming up short against Brian Stann. Leben is back in the mix after releasing the “Silva bullet” as he called it and getting the win. Although I hoped this would go longer, it was fun while it lasted.
The irony here is that Wanderlei Silva was originally scheduled to fight Brian Stann. It likely would have been a much different fight if it were Silva vs. Stann. However, Silva didn’t want to fight Stann (or Vitor Belfort) and campaigned on Twitter to fight Leben instead. I still think Silva would have lost, but I don’t think Brian Stann would have put him down in 0:27. As the old saying goes, “be careful what you wish for.”
Sadly I think the UFC career of the Axe Murderer is in serious jeopardy here. Silva is now 2-6 in his last eight fights and only has two wins during his second run with the UFC. This was the shortest loss in Silva’s career, his only other in under a minute coming against Vitor Belfort in 1998. If Dana White was serious about cutting Tito Ortiz if he lost, he really has to be thinking long and hard about the future of Wanderlei. I love Wanderlei and he is probably my favorite fighter of all time, but it is time for him to go home.
Tito Ortiz fought his best fight since returning to the UFC. Ortiz tapped out Bader in round 1 of their fight. Ortiz dropped him with a big right hand, swarmed in with punches, and cinched in a guillotine choke that tapped Bader. The fight was exciting for as long as it lasted and was Ortiz’s first win since October of 2006.
The UFC president Dana White told the MMA media coming into the fight that Ortiz would be cut if he lost the fight. Ortiz was literally fighting for his career. It was an amazing performance from a guy who had his back literally up against the wall. After the fight Ortiz thanked White for “pushing him to the limit.”
On the one hand I wouldn’t get that excited about beating Ryan Bader. Bader has been somewhat exposed in his last two fights against Jon Jones and Ortiz as being a bit overrated if you ask me. Everyone made a big deal after the fight that Ortiz beat top competition. I love the story and I am a big Ortiz fan but let’s keep the win in perspective.
I also think that the stuff about Ortiz being cut was a bit overplayed. I watched Ortiz come out and at the weigh-ins and the guy was arguably the biggest star on the show. He hasn’t been knocked out and has fought decent-top competition during his string of losses. It is one thing to cut or retire a guy after being knocked out by a subpar opponent. It is another thing cutting a guy who has taken all of his opponents to the distance even in the midst of a losing streak.
After a busy six weeks the UFC will take a brief hiatus until August 6 when they return with UFC 133. The UFC is red hot right now and summer is just getting started.
Full UFC 132: Cruz Vs. Faber results…
Dominick Cruz defeated Urijah Faber via unanimous decision to retain the UFC bantamweight championship
Chris Leben defeated Wanderlei Silva via knockout in Round 1
Dennis Siver defeated Matt Wiman via unanimous decision
Tito Ortiz defeated Ryan Bader via submission in Round 1
Carlos Condit defeated Dong Hyun Kim via TKO in Round 1
Melvin Guillard defeated Shane Rolle via knockout in Round 1
Rafael dos Anjos defeated George Sotiropoulos via knockout in Round 1
Brian Bowles defeated Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision
Aaron Simpson defeated Brad Tavares via unanimous decision
Anthony Njokuani defeated Andre Winner via unanimous decision
Jeff Hougland defeated Donny Walker via unanimous decision
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