UFC 132 is among the most intriguing events the UFC has put on thus far this year.
Fans will get to see the return to the octagon of a legend in Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva, the finesse of a rising star in Dominick Cruz, and possibly the end of the great career of another legend, Tito Ortiz.
But to follow the event, you have to be tuned into Bleacher Report's live event coverage of all things UFC 132. From fight to fight we will be bringing you all the heart-stopping action with in-depth analysis and commentary of each fight.
George Sotiropoulos was reasonably one win away from having his coveted UFC lightweight title shot.
That was when Dennis Siver entered the picture.
The German-born Siver fought like a WWII Panzerschreck and dismantled the title bound Sotiropoulos at UFC 127.
Flash forward to UFC 132. Sotiropoulos has a chance to rebound against a tough competitor in Rafael dos Anjos. So what does Sotiropoulos need to do to climb the ladder again at lightweight? Sotiropoulos suggests in a Sherdog interview, stay the course.
"One loss doesn’t change everything I’m doing. I’m driven and motivated. I don’t need something to motivate me to train. What’s motivating me is the fight itself. I looked at what didn’t work in the last fight and made improvements to make myself better."
If Sotiropoulos is to make those improvements, he'll have to do it against dos Anjos, who is coming off a loss against Clay Guida in an entertaining three round affair.
“My focus has always been on performing well, winning and fighting my fight...but, yeah, I want to win that belt. I was pretty damn close, and I’m still determined to get there.”
Prediction: Sotiropoulos via unanimous decision
Melvin Guillard has done a true 180 since his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night 19 in 2009.
His biggest change, however, was his move to Greg Jackson's camp based in New Mexico. Guillard says in a Heavy.com interview, the move was one that took a lot of soul-searching.
"This place has changed my life, not just in the cage either. I came here kind of still broke and disoriented because a lot of camps wouldn’t accept me. I tried to go to Xtreme Couture; they turned me away. I tried to go to Miletich (Fighting Systems in Bettendorf, Iowa) a long time ago, and I decided that wasn’t going to work out; my personality isn’t going to fit with the guys up there. So it took a lot of soul-searching for me to find the right place."
And the soul-searching has paid its dividends immediately, winning all three fights his been with the camp over the last year and a half. Guillard seems primed for a top 5 fight with a win over Shane Roller at UFC 132.
“I asked for the Jim Miller fight twice, because I know in my heart that Jim Miller is my money fight. He’s undefeated and he’s on an eight- or nine-fight winning streak. You beat a guy like that, it automatically puts you in the running for the title,” said Guillard in the interview.
Will Guillard propel himself into that Miller fight with a win over Roller at UFC 132?
Prediction: Guillard via 2nd Rd. TKO
A fight fan's desires will be met when Chris Leben and Wanderlei Silva square off at UFC 132.
The two heavy-handed sluggers are matched up perfectly for an all out slugfest. Jiu-jitsu fans, leave your ground game scorecards at home for this fight, because won't see these two go to the ground unless its falling backwards.
Silva is the more intriguing competitor of the two, with his legendary status cemented, but his future uncertain. "The Axe Murderer" celebrates his 35th birthday tomorrow, and he hopes to do it on a winning note against Leben.
“What I want is to win and to fight well. I’m training everything. I had gotten away from the clinch and knees a little because I wasn’t training it. When I trained at my gym -- or event at Kings -- I could only act like I was throwing knees. The Americans don’t like taking knees without a brace, but I have returned to practicing this, and if I grab onto the neck, I’m only releasing it when the guy goes down," Silva tells Sherdog.com in an interview. Silva goes on to note he plans on taking home "Fight of the Night" honors at UFC 132.
"I think it has everything you need to be ‘Fight of the Night.’ He’s an aggressive guy...I can say one thing. If I don’t knock him out in the first round, he’ll get hurt. I’m at my best, weighing 200 pounds. I’m dry, and I’m fast. I did my homework. I’m preparing for this new phase of my career."
Will Silva continue his reinvention down at 185 lbs?
Prediction: Silva via 1st Rd. TKO
The clock is ticking, and as we inch closer to UFC 132, the question lingers as to how long Tito Ortiz can remain relevant in the quickly evolving world of the UFC. Though Ortiz' ego may not allow him to believe it, the old ways of fighting are being swallowed by the new wave of fighting.
Ryan Bader is that new breed, and at UFC 132, Bader may just give Ortiz that wakeup call. Don't expect Ortiz to take it lying down though.
Ortiz has lost his last three fights against stout veterans in the UFC. Losses to Matt Hamill, Forrest Griffin and Lyoto Machida have all gone the distance not in Ortiz' favor, with his loss to Griffin coming via split decision.
If there is a fighting style that Ortiz may fare well against, it's a fellow wrestler in Bader. Bader's striking has gotten better during his UFC career to the point of it being a strength of his. He'll want to keep the fight standing against Ortiz to have his best chance.
Prediction: Bader via unanimous decision
The main event at UFC 132 should be a good one, as Urijah Faber will try to dethrone defending champ Dominick Cruz. Faber has been without a belt for awhile now, and he's looking to take home the bantamweight championship in only his third fight in the division.
Cruz will try and forget his first bout with Faber at WEC 26 in 2007, when Faber submitted the young Cruz at the end of the first round. Eight fights later, and eight wins later Cruz will get his long awaited shot at redemption at UFC 132 in Las Vegas.
I'd like to get my loss back, and prove that I'm the best in the world, again," Cruz says in the Youtube promo.
Faber has looked good down at bantamweight, winning his two fights against Takeya Mizugaki and Eddie Wineland. With his shot on the line, Faber in all aspects will need to be at his best, and he believes he is he tells Sherdog.com.
“[Cruz] has got a pretty good style standing up. He’s real elusive and tricky...but in my mind, I have the edge in the standup. I feel like if I can catch him with a punch that I could do some damage there. I’ve been working on my hands and my kicks for seven years now. I got into this game with just a strong mentality that no one could beat me, and I’ve been improving in all aspects of the game [since then]. There’s no doubt in my mind that my hands are the best they’ve ever been right now, along with my kicks and everything else. I believe that.”
Prediction: Dominick Cruz via unanimous decision