The long awaited bantamweight title fight between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber took place on Saturday, July 2, from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. After 25 minutes of non-stop action, Dominick Cruz defended his title and avenged the lone loss of his MMA career.
The bad blood between these two fighters stems from the first time they met, back in 2007. That fight, for Faber's WEC featherweight title, was Cruz's first bout with the promotion, while Faber was essentially the face of the WEC since capturing the title from Cole Escovedo in 2006.
For some reason, even though he was fighting for the WEC title, Cruz's image was nowhere to be found on the event poster. To show his dissatisfaction for this slight, Cruz signed his name directly over the face of Faber; a move that did not sit well with the champ.
That 2007 fight did not last long, with Faber submitting Cruz at the 1:38 mark of the first round.
The 2011 bout turned out quite differently.
Cruz entered the fight with UFC gold around his waist, being named the UFC bantamweight champion when the WEC, where he held the bantamweight strap, was absorbed into the UFC late in 2010. He was also on an eight-fight winning streak. Faber had lost his WEC title to Mike Brown in November 2008; his record since that loss stood at 4-2.
When the UFC 132 main event began, it was clear that Cruz, often lauded for his cardio, was going to set the pace. Cruz was in continuous motion throughout the 25-minute title bout, changing position and using his footwork to provide an elusive target for the more flat footed and straight ahead Faber.
When Faber did catch Cruz, he made it count, dropping the champion to the ground to the loud cheers of the partisan Las Vegas crowd.
Cruz was the aggressor for the majority of the fight. His style and ability to land more punches and stick more takedowns were clearly what the judges noticed when he was awarded the unanimous decision (50–45, 49–46, 48–47).
According to CompuStrike, Cruz landed more strikes (99 to 74), while Faber landed more power strikes (45 to 38). Faber was able to stick only one of his eight takedown attempts, while Cruz was able to take Faber down on six of his 11 attempts.
After the fight, Faber told Joe Rogan that he thought he had the victory. He also added that he would welcome a third fight with Cruz.
If the two can deliver another exciting, fast paced fight like the one they delivered on Saturday night, a rubber match would be welcomed by many.