UFC 132 Cruz vs Faber: Previews, Predictions, and Analysis of Entire Card
UFC 132 Live Saturday July 2, 2011
The UFC takes its talent from Pittsburgh at UFC Live 4 to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for UFC 132 this Saturday, July 2nd.
The feature matchup of the evening is current bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz defending his title against the previous WEC Featherweight Champion, Urijah Faber.
Additional bouts include a middleweight slug-fest between the ultra aggressive and extremely exciting Wanderlei Silva and the heavy-hitting Chris Leben.
Tito Ortiz makes his return to the famed Octagon to challenge the right hand and wrestling prowess of Ryan Bader.
An extremely talented and dynamic welterweight, Carlos Condit, will face off against Dong Hyun Kim and rounding out the night's main card action will be a lightweight duel matching the German kick-boxer Denis Siver against Matt Wiman.
Please follow along as I dissect all the night's fights including the preliminary matchups on Facebook and the exciting main card action.
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Facebook Fight No. 1: Jeff Hougland vs Donny Walker
Donny Walker will be making his Octagon debut this Saturday at UFC 132
The action at the MGM Grand Garden Arena begins with a bantamweight bout featuring UFC newcomers Jeff Hougland and Donny Walker.
Hougland, 9-4 in his professional mixed martial arts career, has finished his last five fights all by first-round submission.
Suffering a defeat to current Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez in 2003, Hougland has since won eight straight fights, seven via stoppage.
Opposing Hougland and also making his UFC debut is Donny Walker.
With an overall MMA record of 15-6, Walker possesses the experience advantage over Hougland.
With two defeats to top lightweight competitors Cub Swanson and Jeff Curran, Walker has entered the cage against top talent prior to even stepping foot inside the famed Octagon.
In 21 professional fights, Walker has been submitted only four times, and only one knockout defeat.
Couple this statistic with his experience edge, and I expect Donny Walker to secure a decision victory in his UFC debut.
Winner: Donny Walker via unanimous decision
Facebook Fight No. 2: Anthony Njokuani vs Andre Winner
Anthony Njokuani delivering a vicious high kick
The second Facebook preliminary fight features Anthony "The African Assassin" Njokuani squaring off against Andre Winner.
Njokuani is a Muay-Thai practitioner with an overall 13-5 MMA record.
An experienced WEC competitor, "The African Assassin" holds victories over accomplished fighters Bart Palaszewski and Chris Horodecki.
Talented in his stand-up striking, Njokuani has eight knockout victories of his 13 wins.
Opposing Njokuani is the British born Andre Winner.
Fighting out of Team Rough House in Leicester, England, Winner trains with UFC veterans Ross Pearson, Paul Daley and Dan Hardy.
Talented in all aspects of the fight game, yet not excellent at one discipline, Winner is a challenging opponent inside the Octagon.
In the end, however, Winner's talent will not supersede the elite level striking that Njokuani possesses.
Winner: Anthony Njokuani via Round 2 TKO
Facebook Fight No. 3: Brad Tavares vs Aaron Simpson
The wrestling prowess of Aaron Simpson will be on display at UFC 132
The night's first middleweight bout features Brad Tavares against Aaron Simpson.
A competitor in the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, Tavares continues to evolve as a mixed martial artist under the tutelage of Team Tompkins in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Undefeated in his professional MMA career with a 7-0 record, Tavares was last seen inside the Octagon brutalizing Phil Baroni at UFC 125 on New Year's Day.
Challenging the Muay-Thai talents of Tavares will be the wrestling pedigree of Aaron Simpson.
An NCAA All-American wrestler at Arizona State University, alongside Cain Velasquez, Ryan Bader and CB Dollaway, Simpson is an extremely talented grappler.
Continuing to improve in his stand-up proficiency, Simpson has six knockout victories to his credit with an overall 8-2 MMA record.
This is a very difficult matchup to determine a victor. Both competitors are extremely gifted fighters. And both mixed martial artists have worked diligently to sew up any holes in their game.
In the end, I will provide the advantage to Aaron Simpson. The former collegiate All-American will secure the necessary take-downs to control this fight while mitigating any fight-ending threat on his feet.
Winner: Aaron Simpson via split-decision victory
Facebook Fight No. 4: Brian Bowles vs Takeya Mizugaki
Brian Bowles delivering a solid left hook
The final Facebook preliminary fight features the second bantamweight bout between Brian Bowles versus Takeya Mizugaki.
Bowles, a WEC veteran with a 5-1 record prior to the merger, suffered his last defeat inside the cage to current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz in 2010 at WEC 47.
A balanced fighter, Bowles is a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, possessing six submission victories and three stoppages by (T)KO.
Bowles will need to be on top of his game when he squares off against Mizugaki this Saturday.
With an overall MMA record of 14-5-2, this Japanese star is known for pushing the tempo inside the Octagon and leaving everything inside the cage.
Neither fighter is dominant on their feet. However, both are talented in the grappling department. The jiu-jitsu advantage lays with Bowles. Therefore, this fight will come down to cardiovascular conditioning and Bowles advantage off of his back.
Because both fighters push the tempo and have survived long arduous battles inside the cage, I feel the advantage edge goes to Brian Bowles due to his jiu-jitsu dominance.
Winner: Brian Bowles via split-decision victory
Spike TV Fight No. 1: George Sotiropolous vs Rafael Dos Anjos
George Sotiropolous executing brutal ground-and-pound
Fights on Spike TV will begin with a welterweight showdown between George Sotiropolous and Rafael dos Anjos.
Sotiropolous has been riding a tremendous wave of momentum inside the Octagon with seven victories in his last eight UFC matchups.
Defeated by Denis Siver at UFC 127, the Aussie will attempt to rebound by utilizing his tremendous jiu-jitsu talents to secure a submission victory over dos Anjos or by establishing stand-up dominance with his boxing background.
Potentially equalizing the BJJ dominance of Sotiropolous, dos Anjos is also a black belt in jiu-jitsu and has seven submission victories to his credit.
Suffering defeats at the hands of both Tyson Griffin and Jeremy Stephens, dos Anjos's stand-up skills peril in comparison to his ground game.
If Sotiropolous can establish himself in the stand-up striking exchanges, he will control the fight on their feet. Both competitors are excellent on the ground and could potentially cancel out any submission threat.
I feel that Sotiropolous will establish himself through his boxing skills and ultimately secure a decision victory.
Winner: George Sotiropolous via unanimous decision
Spike TV Fight No. 2: Melvin Guillard vs Shane Roller
Melvin Guillard landing a solid right hook
The second lightweight bout on the Spike TV preliminary lineup is the explosive Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard taking on the solid wrestler in Shane Roller.
Guillard's lifeline inside the UFC has been a roller coaster ride. Storming onto the scene in 2005 with a TKO victory over Marcus Davis, "The Young Assassin" showed tremendous potential in his opening matchup.
Fighting a series of internal demons, Guillard has recently relocated to Greg Jackson's camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has revitalized his fighting career.
With victories over top lightweights includes Denis Siver, Gleison Tibau, Jeremy Stephens and Evan Dunham, a victory over Shane Roller should catapult Guillard into the top ten of the deep lightweight division.
Opposing Guillard is the extremely talented Shane Roller.
A three-time All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University, Roller's wrestling pedigree compliments his ever-improving stand-up skill-set.
With dynamite in his punches, Roller's legacy inside the Octagon already contains a "Knockout of the Night" honors over Thiago Tavares.
Melvin Guillard presents the most difficult challenge for Shane Roller to date. Guillard's athleticism and dynamic skills may be too much for Roller to overcome. In the end, I foresee "The Young Assassin" securing a hard-fought split decision victory.
Winner: Melvin Guillard via split-decision
Main Card Fight No. 1: Dennis Siver vs Matt Wiman
Dennis Siver working the mitts
Mark Nolan/Getty Images
The kick-boxing background of Dennis Siver will challenge the well-rounded foundation of "Handsome" Matt Wiman.
Siver, grounded in sambo, kick-boxing and tae kwon do, is well-known for his spinning back kick.
A very established stand-up striker, Siver is slowly working his way up through the lightweight division with impressive victories over Andre Winner and George Sotiropolous.
Riding a three fight win streak and seven wins in his last nine bouts, Wiman needs a victory over a top-tier talent like Siver to become relevant within the lightweight division.
Amassing highly respectable victories in his career, "Handsome" will need to execute a balanced attack to combat the stand-up striking skills of Siver.
Take-downs and jiu-jitsu dominance will secure a victory for Wiman. Conversely, keeping this fight on their feet and delivering solid punching and leg kick combinations will guarantee a victory for Siver.
In the end, I provide a slight advantage to Siver. His stand-up skills will provide the advantage for the German kick-boxer. Additionally, Siver possesses excellent movement and will stay out of harms way from Wiman's take-downs.
Winner: Dennis Siver via split-decision victory
Main Card Fight No. 2: Carlos Condit vs Dong Hyun Kim
Carlos Condit delivering savage ground-and-pound
Carlos "The Natural Born Killer" Condit is an extremely aggressive mixed martial artist with 12 knockout victories to his credit.
Competing in 31 professional fights, Condit is 26-5 and is the former WEC Welterweight Champion.
A well-balanced fighter training with Jackson Submission Fighting, Condit has a wealth of experience including matchups against Dan Hardy, Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald and Jake Shields.
Waiting just outside the top five ranking, a victory over Kim should establish Condit within the title talk for the UFC welterweight championship.
The lesser-known Dong Hyun Kim will utilize his fourth degree black belt in judo to slow down the non-stop pace of Condit.
With an overall MMA record of 14-0-1, Kim has solid victories over UFC competitors Nate Diaz, Matt Brown and Amir Sadollah.
A stylistic clash between the diversity of Condit and the grappling brilliance of Kim will be on exhibition in this welterweight duel.
This fight will be closely contested. The difference will be Condit's overall experience and internal drive to compete for the championship. In the end, Carlos "The Natural Born Killer" will provide Dong Hyun Kim with his first loss inside the Octagon.
Winner: Carlos Condit via Round 3 TKO
Main Card Fight No. 3: Tito Ortiz vs Ryan Bader
Ryan Bader celebrating a victory
Because of the popularity of Tito Ortiz, this light heavyweight matchup between the aforementioned "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" and Ryan "Darth" Bader will have millions of UFC fans tuned in to witness the outcome.
Ortiz has not competed inside the famed Octagon since October of 2010 and has not had his hand raised in victory since a defeat over the aging Ken Shamrock at UFC 66 in 2006.
Possibly more well-known for his marriage to former porn star Jenna Jameson, or the fact that he is the CEO of Punishment Athletics Clothing Line, or is a regular on Twitter with his abundance of commentary; Ortiz will need to focus his energy on defeating Bader and once again becoming relevant within the division.
A solid wrestler with established stand-up skills, a focused and driven Ortiz has the potential to defeat Bader.
Suffering his first defeat inside the cage to Jon Jones at UFC 126, Bader fully realizes the importance and necessity of defeating Ortiz for his career.
An established collegiate wrestler, Bader also possesses tremendous strength, power and explosion. Additionally, the dynamite in his right hand is a fight changer at any given point.
Even though Tito Ortiz is a gifted grappler, Bader is that much better in the wrestling department. Capable of controlling the clinch and securing takedowns, "Darth" should be able to manhandle Ortiz inside the Octagon.
Additionally, because Bader trains with the likes of current UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez and other excellent strikers, his stand-up game continues to evolve.
This evolution in his striking will be on display against Ortiz who is more of a wrestler first, striking second style of fighter.
In the end, Bader will defeat Ortiz, spoiling "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy's" return to the Octagon, and potentially will end the career of a one-time UFC light heavyweight champion.
Winner: Ryan Bader via Round 2 TKO
Main Card Fight No. 4: Wanderlei Silva vs Chris Leben
Chris Leben landing a solid left hook
Besides the main event of the evening, this middleweight matchup between "The Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva and "The Crippler" Chris Leben is my most anticipated fight of UFC 132.
Silva needs no introduction to MMA fans worldwide. A longtime mixed martial artist, "The Axe Murderer's" aggressive style inside the Octagon more than supports his nickname.
A relentless striker who attacks with punches, elbows, and a vicious clinch game delivering savage knees, Silva's brutalizing style has awarded him millions of followers around the world.
Looking to derail Wanderlei and prove that he is now the toughest fighter in the UFC, "The Crippler's" fight strategy is similar to that of "The Axe Murderer."
Leben possesses an iron jaw and a willingness to stand and trade in the center of the cage with any and all who dare to challenge him.
Suffering a TKO loss on New Year's Day to Brian Stann, Leben will have extra motivational fuel to defeat Silva this Saturday.
This contest will be a slug-fest. Neither fighter backs down and both look to knock their opponent's head into the first row of seats.
Conditioning will play a major role in this bruising battle. Additionally, counter-striking and the ability to change levels and planes with strikes will be imperative.
In the end, I am providing Chris Leben with a slight advantage over Wanderlei Silva. As much as I am an "Axe Murderer" fan, Leben's age, tenacity and desire to be the toughest S.O.B. in the UFC will award him a victory.
Winner: Chris Leben via Round 3 TKO
Main Card Fight No. 5: Dominick Cruz vs Urijah Faber
Urijah Faber will be crowned the new UFC bantamweight champion
The main event of the evening is a bantamweight showdown between current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick "The Dominator" Cruz and the No. 1 contender for the title, Urijah "The California Kid" Faber.
This matchup epitomizes the sport of mixed martial arts. A quintessential definition of what it takes to become successful in this sport, both Cruz and Faber are well-rounded fighters.
Cruz, the No. 6 ranked pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, has amassed an extremely impressive 17-1 MMA record. His one defeat is at the hands of Faber back in March of 2007 at WEC 26.
An extremely talented mixed martial artist, Cruz is known for his amazing tempo inside the Octagon, non-stop movement, attacking from various angles with a multitude of weapons, and the ability to secure victories via submission, (T)KO and decision.
With his goals set on once again defeating Cruz and becoming the world champion, Faber is focused and driven to wear UFC gold around his waist.
Possessing the heart of a champion and the will needed to defeat "The Dominator," "The California Kid" will attack with a multitude of punches, kicks, knees, elbows, takedowns, submission attempts, grappling dominance; all at an electric pace.
Hands down one of the year's most anticipated fights, I foresee a "Fight of the Night" award provided to these two top competitors.
When the sweat is wiped and the blood is clotted, I believe that Urijah Faber will once again defeat Dominick Cruz and become the new UFC bantamweight champion.
Winner: Urijah Faber via split-decision in this five-round battle