UFC 132: Dominick Cruz vs Urijah Faber: Early Main Card Breakdown
UFC 132 is one of the biggest cards of the summer, and it will all go down July 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The stacked card features a lot of great fights with intriguing style matchups that should make for many memorable moments and should also build ongoing storylines for some of the legends and rising stars of the sport.
The main event will feature UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz defending his title against former WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber. This will be the second fight between the two. Faber won the first match in 2007, giving Cruz the only loss on his record.
The co-main event will feature action-fighters Wanderlei Silva and Chris Leben in a middleweight contest of power, durability, heart and chins. Who will be the first to drop?
Other fights include:
Light Heavyweight bout: Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader
Welterweight bout: Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Lightweight bout: Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman
Lightweight Bout: Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman
German kick-boxer Dennis Siver returns to the UFC to take on "Handsome" Matt Wiman in what should be a fun fight while it lasts.
Wiman (13-5), who is primarily a wrestler, isn't afraid to stand and trade if he is forced to. Siver (18-7) showed very good takedown defense in his last fight versus George Sotiropoulos so he may have no other choice here. Siver avoided any danger and won a unanimous decision of the Australian contender, giving him the biggest victory of his career.
Both fighters are currently on three-fight win streaks, and both are hungry for a future title shot. Their losses inside the UFC have been to some of the very best fighters in a division where there is no shortage of talent. If a fighter makes it to a title shot in the lightweight division undefeated, it probably means they haven't fought the best.
This should be an entertaining fight, but the advantages that Siver has should be enough to keep the 27-year-old on the end of an arsenal of various strikes in a fan-friendly fight.
Prediction: Dennis Siver by unanimous decision.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader
Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz (15-8) returns again to take on the Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader (12-1).
Both fighters are coming off of losses, and Ortiz is coming off of three. The 36-year-old hasn't won a fight since 2006 when he defeated Ken Shamrock for the third time! He has gone 0-4-1 since then, but they have been against some of the very best, and it's hard to argue that.
Bader went 5-0 inside the Octagon before losing to current UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones earlier this year. His wins include victories over Keith Jardine, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Eric Schafer.
This is probably the easiest fight to call on the card, and it's not in favor of the former champion. Bader is young, fast, hungry and coming off of his only loss to one of the best fighters in the sport right now. It's hard to hold that against him, and you could argue he looked better against Jones than Mauricio "Shogun" Rua did.
The style matchup of wrestler vs. wrestler probably means it will look a lot like Ortiz' last fight versus Matt Hamill. Hamill controlled the action throughout and took down Ortiz whenever he attempted a takedown. He also got the better of the striking, which isn't going to be that hard for Bader to do either.
Prediction: Bader by unanimous decision.
Welterweight Bout: Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Look for this match between welterweight contenders Carlos Condit and Dong Hyun Kim to produce the next challenger to current UFC champion Georges St. Pierre.
Both are currently on a roll. Condit defeated Dan Hardy by knockout at UFC 120. He also have wins over current rising prospects Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald. Fans have learned since those two back-and-forth bouts that they are two of the toughest fighters in the division.
Kim is 5-0-1 inside the Octagon and has victories over Matt Brown, TJ Grant, Amir Sadollah and Nate Diaz. His "no-contest" was a fight he originally lost via split-decision to Karo Parisyan. It was turned to a NC after Parisyan tested positive for banned painkillers.
If you know anything about how Condit fights, he likes to fight his opponents at their own strengths. That's going to be a tough option here with Kim, who is a very well-rounded and has a fourth degree black-belt in judo.
Depending on where Condit takes the fight, and I believe he will be the one dictating the pace, he should be able to stall out when he needs to but also inflict enough damage to steal the rounds in a very close and competitive fight.
Both fighters have a lot of close fights under their belt, and this one should be no different. It's going to be a tough one for both.
Prediction: Condit by split-decision.
Middleweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
"The Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva (33-10) returns after a year absence since defeating Michael Bisping at UFC 112 to take on another brawler in Chis Leben.
"The Crippler" (25-7) had a great comeback year in 2010, defeating Yoshihiro Akiyama, Aaron Simpson and Jay Silva. He couldn't follow up on the momentum of that run, losing a first round TKO to Brian Stann on the first day of the 2011.
This fight doesn't need much explaining. Everyone knows what both of them like to do, and it's stand and trade till someone goes face first into the canvas.
This fight has knockout written all over it, but sometimes that means it's likely to go to a decision. Depending on how sturdy both fighters' chins are on the night of the fight, it either has the making for a knockout or a fight of the night. That's very good news for fans who love action-packed fights.
Prediction: Wanderlei Silva by TKO.
Bantamweight Championship Bout: Dominick Cruz (c) vs. Urijah Faber
Dominick Cruz will be looking to get revenge on Urijah Faber, an opponent that put the only blemish on his record of 17-1 in 2007.
Following that loss, the 25-year-old decided to move from the featherweight division to bantamweight. Since his 135 lb. debut, he has gone 7-0, including two successful title defenses.
"The California Kid" had an up-and-down career since that win over Cruz, going 7-3 in his last 10 bouts. His most recent victory came over Eddie Wineland in his UFC debut.
Both fighters have exciting styles that make for memorable fights, and this one has all the makings of one of the best bantamweight fights in the history of the sport.
Faber won the first fight by guillotine choke, a submission that him and his camp, Team Alpha Male, are known for. Cruz has learned from his mistakes and not been put in anything like it after. He even defeated Faber's teammate Joseph Benavidez twice; someone who arguably has a better guillotine choke than Faber.
It's going to all come down to who makes the first mistake, and I don't think their will be many made in this fight. Expect five rounds of solid back-and-forth action with Cruz getting the better of the standup, an area he has a very good advantage in over Faber.
If Faber can't get to this fight to the ground, and he probably will occasionally, he is going to be out-classed on the feet. The five round distance favors Cruz if he doesn't get caught in something, and he has learned from his mistake from the first fight.
Prediction: Cruz by unanimous decision.