UFC 157 Preview: Keys to Victory for Urijah Faber
Urijah Faber is a fan favorite for his aggressive style of fighting. It's made him a superstar in MMA.
However, if "The California Kid" wants to leave UFC 157 with a victory against Ivan Menjivar, he needs to fight intelligently.
Though it's gained him a great fan-base, Faber's somewhat wreckless, throw-caution-to-the-wind type of style has gotten him in trouble before. In fact, it stripped him of his featherweight championship in the WEC, as Mike Brown countered a wild elbow with a knockout shot.
A wild strike of that sort against a dangerous fighter like Menjivar could lead to Faber's second straight defeat and third loss in his last four fights.
This is how Faber avoids that scenario.
Don't Get Overzealous
It has to be difficult for Faber to be patient.
It has to make his skin crawl to fight a safe fight and not entertain the thousands in attendance, but he must. This is no ordinary opponent, as Menjivar is a veteran fighter with high-caliber striking.
Should Faber get carried away and rush in, Menjivar could make him pay with one of his deadly elbows or devastating kicks.
However, that doesn't mean Faber should be complacent. While he needs to fight smart and be cautious of blindly running into any strikes from Menjivar, Faber still needs to push the pace.
Controlled aggression is the beginning of Faber's game plan at UFC 157.
Muscle Him Around
Faber needs to pressure Menjivar.
Smothering Menjivar will open the pathway toward victory for Faber. He has to move forward and instigate the clinch, where he should have an advantage.
Menjivar has great Muay Thai skills, but Faber's overall strength should negate Menjivar's offense in the clinch.
From there, Faber needs to try and move him against the fence, where he should try to win this fight "Randy Couture style."
It's not the most exciting thing to watch, but wearing down your opponent against the cage is a proven winning recipe. Faber is the bigger man. He needs to fight like it.
Finish the Takedown
Once Faber has Menjivar against the cage, he needs to go to work.
Dropping down for a double leg takedown is certainly justifiable.
Menjivar has a slight edge in the striking game, so Faber will likely look to shoot for the takedown at some point in this fight.
However, Faber has to make sure he finishes the takedown. Grabbing ahold of Menjivar's leg and allowing him to slip away won't do a thing in terms of points for Faber.
With Menjivar serving as a tough, durable opponent, this fight could easily go to the scorecards. Therefore, takedowns could prove to be a necessity.
Faber's wrestling credentials suggest that he has the capabilities of getting this fight to the ground.
So when he does take Menjivar down, he has to avoid the dangerous submission skills that Menjivar possesses.
From calf-slicers to armbars to triangle chokes, Menjivar has a well-rounded submission game, and he's capable of submitting opponents from the bottom.
Escaping submissions normally isn't a problem for Faber. Faber is one of the best in the business at remaining active in fighters' guards and avoiding submission attempts.
UFC fans have seen very little of this aspect in Faber's game because he's been willing to stand and trade with most of his opponents inside the Octagon.
So who's down for a little old school? Faber should get back to his ground-and-pound days this Saturday night.
Use Cardio as a Weapon
Finally, Faber's cardio should be the ultimate tool to success.
Should Faber choose to use Couture's patented grinding against the cage tactic against Menjivar, this will diminish Menjivar's energy.
Wrestling for position against the cage is a "taxing" (as Joe Rogan would put it) style of fighting, and if Faber has Menjivar cornered for the first two rounds, Menjivar's endurance will lessen quickly.
That's when Faber needs to pick up the pace, score takedowns and land big shots.
If Faber uses this plan and fights with his head, rather than his heart, he will undoubtedly beat Menjivar.