Early Fireworks: Cruz and Faber Highlight UFC 132 from Vegas

Ultimate Fighting Championship presents UFC 132: Cruz Vs Faber
Saturday, July 2, 2011,  9:00 pm Eastern, TV: Pay-Per-View
MGM Grand Garden, Las Vegas, Nevada

Dominick Cruz takes on Urijah Faber for the UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 132 from Las Vegas.

Though The Fourth of July isn’t until Monday, the fireworks will start a couple of days early in Las Vegas as UFC 132 happens that night. The card is stacked with 2 main events, including Dominick Cruz defending his UFC bantamweight title against Urijah Faber in a rematch of their 2007 fight at 145 pounds. Also, Wanderlei Silva takes on Chris Leben in a highly anticipated middleweight bout. Also MMA legend Tito Ortiz takes on The Ultimate Fighter season 8 winner Ryan Bader in a light heavyweight bout.  

Here is a look at each bout on the main card with odds courtesy of bodog.

Dennis Siver (-125) vs Matt “Handsome” Wiman (-105), 3 rounds lightweight bout

Wiman is 27 and from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is 13-5 in his MMA career including a 7-3 record in UFC. He takes on Dennis Siver, who is 32 from Germany. Siver is 18-7 in his career including 7-4 in UFC.

Both these fighters are red hot right now. Wiman is coming off a decision victory over Cole Miller in January, part of a 3 match winning streak . Siver has also won 3 straight including an upset over George Sotiropoulos at UFC 127.The winner of this fight could be in line for a title shot against UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

This is a rather bad matchup for Wiman because of Siver’s style which relies on dynamic standup and kicking. Wiman needs to keep the match on the ground to improve his chances greatly. Both of these fighters are sturdy and a knockout isn’t likely. if Wiman can control the action on the ground, then he will win. However I don’t see it happening. Siver wins by decision as his striking ability is too much to overcome.

Carlos “Natural  Born Killer” Condit (-120) vs Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim (-110), 3 round welterweight bout

Carlos Condit is 27 and from Albuquerque. He is 26-5 in his career but only 3-1 in UFC. He takes on the 29 year old Kim from South Korea. Kim is undefeated in his MMA career with a 14-0-1 record and 1 no contest, including 5-0 in UFC.

Kim has no standup in his fighting style and lives and dies on the mat. He is content to grind out decisions with takedowns and tieups. It makes for some boring fights, despite his “stun gun” nickname. In his last fight, Kim beat Nate Diaz at UFC 125 New Year’s Day by a decision which many people found boring. Condit is just the opposite in that he lives by his striking ability. His biggest weakness is an inability to perform take-downs due to a lack of upper body strength. However once he gets down on the mat, he can be explosive just as he is standing due to his quickness.

This is a bad match-up for Condit. He needs to stay up and use his striking ability to keep Kim from taking him down. Kim will be content to grapple the whole match and eke out a decision. Condit might try to knock him out or submit him, easier said than done against an undefeated opponent. If Condit doesn’t, then he will have to suffer through three agonizing rounds of takedowns and pressure.  Having said that I think Condit does just enough to win a split decision.

Ryan “Darth” Bader (-600) vs Tito “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz (+400), 3 rounds light heavyweight bout

Ortiz has lost 3 fights in a row and many say it is time for him to hang it up after a brilliant career. He has publicly feuded with UFC President Dana White and people say Ortiz is being punished by White with this fight against the younger talented Bader.  The 36 year old Ortiz is 15-8-1 in his career, with all but but one win coming in UFC. Bader is 28 and from Tempe, Arizona. He is 12-1 in his career, including 5-1 in UFC.

It is depressing to watch the once great Ortiz deteriorating like this. He can’t even execute the beautiful double leg take downs that were his calling card early in his career.  Bader has overpowering upper body strength and a deadly right hand. He has the advantage in every fighting style over the aging Ortiz, except for perhaps the clinch. It is sad to say, Ortiz’s best shot might be to hold on to Bader against the cage to negate his strength and quickness. If Ortiz can hold on for the decision, that would almost be a miracle itself. Ortiz would love to ruin White’s going away party by pulling the upset. Sadly, I don’t see it happening. Bader wins by ref stoppage in the third.

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (-175) vs Chris “The Crippler” Leben (+145), 3 rounds middleweight bout

This could be one of the best UFC fights of the year as both Silva and Leben are very aggressive to the point of being reckless. Silva is 33-10-1 with 1 no contest, including 3-5 in UFC. Twenty six of those wins came by knockout or submission. The Brazilian will turn 35 Sunday, as he takes on the 30 year old Leben from  Portland, Oregon. Leben is 25-7 in his career, including 11-6 in UFC. Nineteen of his wins have come by KO or submission.

Don’t expect a lot of grappling in this bout. It will be all about striking and trying to land the big bomb first. This will be an absolute slug fest from start to finish. That finish might come quickly as each tries to land  haymakers letting their defenses down. Silva hasn’t fought since February of 2010 as he beat Michael Bisping with a late flurry of punches. He is coming off knee surgery and needs an impressive performance here against Leben. Silva isn’t quite as washed up as Ortiz but he still has a lot of miles and fights on his body.

This basically a coin flip as it comes down to who lands the big punch first. I will pick Silva by second round TKO, but it could just as easily be Leben.

Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz (-165) vs Urijah “The California Kid” Faber (+135) 5 rounds, UFC Bantamweight Championship bout

These two fighters fought against each other in 2007 with Faber handing Cruz the only loss of his career. Both fighters have improved by light years since then. Cruz is 17-1 in his career, and is making his UFC debut. The UFC added the bantamweight division after buying out another promotion and Cruz was named the champion as he held it in the other promotion. Cruz is 25 and from San Diego. Faber is 25-4 in his career and 1-0 in UFC. The 32 year old is from Davis originally.

Faber is a submission specialist with 13 submission victories on his resume. Cruz wins most of his fights by decision or by knockout with only one submission victory. I don’t know if Faber can match-up with Cruz over the full five rounds but he might not have to if he can trap him against the cage. It will probably take multiple take downs for Faber to win again. Cruz is a great wrestler and has proven to have wonderful escapability. This fight could be fast paced and difficult to score with the action occurring  fast and furious.

This will be a be a great fight. I think Cruz retains his title but it won’t be easy. Cruz wins by split decision.

It will be a great card and I hope everyone enjoys their holiday weekend.

 


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