It has been a wild week in Zuffaland: Nate Marquardt was cut from the UFC one day before UFC on Versus 4 due to a failed medical, Cheick Kongo showed what a great chin and your opponents’ lowered hands can do by knocking out Pat Barry in spectacular fashion, and the production unit must be running on fumes between last Friday’s Strikeforce: Challengers show, UFC on Versus, and, the subject at hand, UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber, live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV this Saturday night.
The main event, while not being billed as such, is a rematch between current Bantamweight champ, Dominick Cruz, and former Featherweight champ, Urijah Faber, who handed Cruz his first and only loss back at WEC 26 in March 2007. That being said, “let’s take a look at the Board” to quote Will Ferrell ala Alex Trebek on SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy (What? That’s a dated reference, you say? Really? It’s not 2001?).
UFC 132 PRELIMINARY CARD (Aired on Facebook & Spike TV)
Donny Walker over Jeff Hougland (FB)
Anthony Njokuani over Andre Winner (FB)
Brad Tavares over Aaron Simpson (FB)
Brian Bowles over Takeya Mizugaki (FB)
George Sotiropoulos over Rafael dos Anjos (Spike TV)
Melvin Guillard over Shane Roller (Spike TV)
Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman (Lightweight)
Siver is riding high after securing his most significant UFC win over prospect (and he of the recently demoted to the undercard) George Sotiropoulos at UFC 127 this past February by unanimous decision. Utilizing some great takedown defense and fantastic standup, he was able to remove the Aussie’s superior ground game from the equation and pick him apart.
This doesn’t bode well for Wiman, who himself is riding a three fight winning streak with wins over Shane Nelwson, Mac Danzig (however dubious and quick the submission stoppage was), and Cole Miller. If Siver implements the same game plan he did against Sotiropoulos, which given Wiman’s wrestling strengths I think he will, he’ll outpoint towards another win.
Jay’s Pick: Dennis Siver by decision
Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim (Welterweight)
At 27 years old, Carlos Condit has had over 30 fights and has already fought some of the better young fighters in the division with his only UFC loss coming to Martin Kampmann. Most recently, he did the USA proud by earning KO of the Night over Dan Hardy in Hardy’s English backyard at UFC 120 with a devastating counter left hook. Unfortunately, “The Stun Gun” (Ed. Note: one of my favorite nicknames in MMA) is 14-0-1 (1 NC), most recently beating Nate Diaz via UD at UFC 125.
Kim mixes in wrestling with his 4th degree blackbelt in judo to dictate his fights. His last three wins have all been decisions which is starting to make him not the most popular fighter, but hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t start throwing haymakers just to make us fans happy if it’ll get you knocked the heck out. Unless Condit has been working on his sprawl in hopes of finishing Kim on the feet or securing top position for ground and pound, I think this one goes to the cards.
Jay’s Pick: Kim via decision
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader (Light Heavyweight)
Poor Tito. The UFC brass wanted him to hang it up after his most recent loss to Matt Hamill at UFC 121 last October, his public feud with baby Mama Jenna Jameson is so sad it’s not even amusing, he hasn’t won a fight since beating Ken Shamrock back in October 2006 and, to top it all off, when his original opponent Antonio Roguerio Nogueria pulled out of this fight due to an injury, his replacement was a guy who not only beat Lil Nog himself, but has only one loss to his record to current LHW champ Jon Jones.
To his credit, unlike recent retiree and nemesis Chuck Liddell, Tito has been getting the wrong end of multiple decisions, is still competitive and can take at least one good shot to the face without crumpling on the mat. However, between his youth, superior wrestling credentials and increasingly powerful stand up, Bader will put Tito into retirement…but no one should be surprised to hear a litany of excuses during Ortiz’s post-fight interview.
Jay’s Pick: Ryan Bader via TKO, R3
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben (Middleweight)
Anyone expecting technically sound striking, varying takedowns, and multiple submission attempts out of this fight is smoking something amazing (please call me. Sharing is caring). Fans (and by fans I mean at the very least, me) have been looking forward to this fight since Leben began calling out Silva after replacing him and winning via triangle against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116 last July.
Silva, the perennial fan favorite from his days in Pride, won a tight decision over Michael Bisping last February but has been sidelined with injury. “The Axe Murderer” always comes looking to throw leather, as does Leben, who was riding a nice three fight winning streak before Brian Stann became just the 2nd man to finish Leben with strikes since Anderson Silva. At 2-3 since entering the UFC in ’07, Silva is worn in, but I think his superior striking will outweigh Leben’s left arm billy club attack and he’ll score enough points to win a decision.
Jay’s Pick: Silva via decision
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber – Bantamweight Title Fight
After reigning supreme over the featherweight division in the WEC, Urijah Faber’s record since losing the belt to Mike Brown at WEC 36 in November ’08 has been checkered between impressive submission wins and title fight losses. After Jose Aldo turned his leg into an eggplant, Faber dropped down to 135 in hopes of another shot at gold. Looking to not only continue Faber’s 3 title fight losing streak but avenge his only loss on a stellar 17-1 record is Cruz, who is creeping up on a lot of people’s scorecards as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world.
A dominant win over The California Kid in the UFC’s first Bantamweight title fight and PPV main event could put him in the top 5. Both fighters have been very verbal about their dislike towards the other and the animosity should make for a good fight. While many have watched Cruz evolve over the years using his quick boxing and effective takedowns, the opposite could be said as of late about Faber, who’s flashy, unorthodox striking mixed with a strong wrestling base has become a bit more predictable.
While I’d give Faber the edge in terms of power, I think Cruz has a better chance of slipping in and out and retaining the belt. Sorry for all the decision bets, folks. I hope I am right about the outcomes but wrong about a few of the endings.
Jay’s Pick: Cruz by decision
Full UFC 132: Cruz Vs. Faber Fight Card…
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber for the UFC bantamweight championship
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader
Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman
Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Rolle
George Sotiropoulos vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Brian Bowles vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Brad Tavares vs. Aaron Simpson
Anthony Njokuani vs. Andre Winner
Jeff Hougland vs. Donny Walker
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