Faber vs. Caceres: Winner, Recap and Analysis

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Faber vs. Caceres: Winner, Recap and Analysis
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Urijah Faber bounced back from his crushing UFC 169 loss to Renan Barao in a big way Saturday as he defeated Alex Caceres in a UFC 175 bantamweight bout via submission in the third round.

MMA Junkie tweeted the result:

Faber went right to work in the first round. The Team Alpha Male fighter wasted no time in dragging Caceres to the ground and holding him there for the duration of the round, setting the tone for a one-sided affair. 

The second round saw Caceres experience a little more success but nothing to write home about. He worked his way up to the feet after a pair of takedowns, but the moments in which he tagged his veteran opponent were few and far between. 

By the third round, the young Caceres had played with fire too long. As many opponents have found out, you can't grapple too long with Faber without being caught. A careless scramble from Bruce Leeroy led to his demise. 

The California Kid improved his record to 31-7 with the victory, while Caceres suffered his first loss since UFC 143 in 2012. Caceres entered the fight as a massive underdog against the more seasoned and successful Faber, and things held true to form.

Although this certainly wasn't one of Faber's highest-profile fights, many were shocked by its placement on the card. Faber and Caceres headlined the preliminary slate on Fox Sports 1, which is almost unheard of for someone with Faber's popularity.

He is such a high-caliber fighter that the decision to put him on the prelims took Sportsnet's Joe Ferraro by surprise:

As much as Faber seemed out of place that early on the card, Dann Stupp of USA Today was able to see the logic behind it:

One might think that Faber was put in that position against his will, but that wasn't the case. According to Submission Radio via BloodyElbow.com, Faber actually preferred the guaranteed exposure of being on free television:

You know, for me it actually makes a little more sense. It's the main event on the free card, the Fox Sports 1 card, so you know I think as far as exposure goes, I'll probably get a wider view for more viewers that don't have to pay. I think the PPV numbers haven't necessarily been as high as they used to be, so for me it makes more sense.

I'm the featured fight on the free card right before the PPV, and I don't get piece of that PPV anyway, so I'd rather more people watched the fights.

The fans who tuned in early got to see Faber put on a clinic against a hungry opponent. Most probably figured that Caceres was overmatched heading in, since his resume didn't quite measure up to Faber's.

In fact, Caceres even getting a shot at Faber was somewhat unexpected. It speaks to Caceres' persistence, though, as he petitioned UFC President Dana White to put him up against one of the better all-around fighters in UFC.

According to Ryan Yamamoto of KXTV, however, White offered Caceres fair warning.

"Alex wanted that fight, he begged for the fight, he begged to fight Urijah Faber," White said. "I'm weird like that if somebody wants something that bad, I'll give it to them, but be careful what you ask for."

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Caceres' ambition is impressive, but he may have bitten off more than he could chew. Caceres never faced someone at Faber's level before, so it didn't come as a particularly big surprise when Faber took control.

Perhaps the attention that Caceres received by earning this fight will help him get more high-profile opponents in the future, but it is clear that he isn't quite ready for prime time.

Faber, on the other hand, did well to get back on a winning track. He has now won five of his past six fights and is working his way back toward title contention. He likely would have had to wait awhile for another title shot had Barao kept the strap, but the Brazilian dropped it to TJ Dillashaw.

Faber has yet to face Dillashaw, and there is no question that UFC fans would love to see that fight. White is all about drawing money and attention, so there is little doubt that he will do everything possible to set up Faber vs. Dillashaw at some point in the near future.

 

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