UFC 132: Why Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber Was Most Important MMA Fight Of 2011

UFC 132 was the most important mixed martial arts event of the year. Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, two longtime WEC veterans, were headlining the card in the first ever bantamweight championship fight, and their performance would go a long way to det…

UFC 132 was the most important mixed martial arts event of the year. Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, two longtime WEC veterans, were headlining the card in the first ever bantamweight championship fight, and their performance would go a long way to determining the fate of the weight class for a long time to come.

And all things considered, they did a fantastic job of selling the 135-pound division to all the casual MMA fans who were watching this show.

Cruz retained the championship in a fairly one-sided fight, but the atmosphere was absolutely electric for all five rounds. Cruz was a hated man because of his brash, cocky attitude and Faber was a star playing the perfect babyface.

If things had gone bad in this fight, UFC would have had a difficult time trying to market this weight class to fans for a long time. Dana White and Joe Silva would have to stack the undercard just to pop a decent buyrate for pay-per-views.

Now, UFC has two new stars on its hands with Cruz and Faber. Cruz is an exciting and charismatic fighter who the fans love to hate. Faber has a great personality that the people gravitate towards, and even in defeat he was still loved by the people.

It will take time to get the rest of the bantamweight fighters over with a big audience, but the first fight is always the most important, and all things considered it was a rousing success. People on Twitter were clamoring for a rematch, even though I don’t agree with that sentiment, the fact that people want more from these fighters and this division is a HUGE positive for UFC.

There is nothing more that these two men could have done to sell the bantamweight division. They put on a great fight for five rounds, and the people were into everything that they did. This division, and these two fighters, will have a good, long future in UFC.

UFC 132 Results: Will Dominick Cruz Dominate The Bantamweight Division?

Whether you love him or hate him, and most people fall into the latter category, Dominick Cruz is still the UFC bantamweight champion following a dominant victory over Urijah Faber at UFC 132. The thing that really separated these two men was that uniq…

Whether you love him or hate him, and most people fall into the latter category, Dominick Cruz is still the UFC bantamweight champion following a dominant victory over Urijah Faber at UFC 132.

The thing that really separated these two men was that unique fighting style that Cruz employs to frustrate his opponents. He is so unique in the way that he attacks that no one can get a good read on what he is going to do, though Faber did seem to be the first person to have any real success against it.

But how long will that style carry Cruz in mixed martial arts?

It’s great to be so different from everyone else, but eventually fighters learn to read the way that you fight and can attack based on some tendency that a fighter has.

Back when Chuck Liddell was in his prime, everyone thought that he was unbeatable because of that rabid punch that he threw to knockout all of his opponents. But as time passed, fighters caught wind of what to look for before he threw that punch and they were able to avoid. Suddenly Liddell was beatable for the first time ever.

Cruz’s style is more complex than Liddell’s, but the premise remains the same. There is going to come a time when his stamina will not be there and he will get caught with a punch or kick and fall in defeat.

Granted, Cruz is only 26 and has plenty of good years left in him. But it’s not as if he is dominating his opponents with a lethal punch combination; he is getting by with cardio. As a fighter gets older, the cardio and stamina is always the first thing to go.

Every fighter has a shelf life on top, but Cruz’s will be shorter than most people because he isn’t getting by just overpowering people in his division. He had to come up with a new fighting style to take control of the 135-pound division.

UFC 132 Results: Melvin Guillard Continues His Impressive Run To The Title

If you only watched the main card for UFC 132, you might think that it was one of the best events of all-time. There were great finishes, terrific fights that went the distance and a great moment for a legend who hasn’t won a fight in five years. But t…

If you only watched the main card for UFC 132, you might think that it was one of the best events of all-time. There were great finishes, terrific fights that went the distance and a great moment for a legend who hasn’t won a fight in five years. But the prelim card was really nothing to get excited about, that is until the Spike TV portion of the event started and Melvin Guillard provided some fireworks. 

Guillard has been making a lot of noise in the lightweight division for the last year and he continued that streak in impressive fashion against Shane Roller.

He knocked Roller down with a hard left to the chin, but Roller was able to work his way back up. He landed some hard knees right to Roller’s head that dazed him then dropped him with another left hand. He threw some hammer fists that made Roller’s body go completely limp and the referee stopped it three minutes into the first.

After the fight, UFC announcer Joe Rogan asked Guillard if he thought he was ready for a title shot and even though he didn’t come right out and say that he deserved the shot, he said that he hoped this put him on the map.

Later, at the press conference, he sounded like he knew what he had to do to get a title shot soon.

“I’ve been saying all week that speed kills,” Guillard said. “I came here in the best shape of my life and I was really comfortable in there tonight. I knew that I could break him. I knew that with my speed and my pace, I could make it a rough night for him.

“I really hope I get “Knockout of the Night.” I want another top contender next. I’m looking for my meal ticket to a title shot.”

He didn’t get the fight bonus, that went to Carlos Condit’s flying knee, but he set himself up for a top tier lightweight fighter in the future. I would like to see him get a shot against the winner of next month’s Jim Miller-Ben Henderson fight to determine the No. 1 contender.

The lightweight division has been so crowded at the top this year, and Melvin Guillard’s impressive performance last night and five-fight win streak have put him right in the middle of the line with all of the other guys.

UFC 132: Why Ryan Bader Must Win His Next Fight

Last night, the ultimate stunner in UFC history occurred.  It was in the light heavyweight bout between Ryan “Darth” Bader and Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz.  In a column I published yesterday, I predicted that Bader would win via…

Last night, the ultimate stunner in UFC history occurred.  It was in the light heavyweight bout between Ryan “Darth” Bader and Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz.  In a column I published yesterday, I predicted that Bader would win via TKO in Round 2.

Instead, the unthinkable happened.  Ortiz came out with some good sparring and basically punched Bader into a guillotine choke.  The former Pac-10 wrestling champion tapped out 1:56 into Round 1 and Ortiz’s job was saved.

To put it bluntly, I can’t believe this happened. As happy as I am for Tito Ortiz, I’m kind of hoping that he tests positive for an illegal substance just so that Bader can slowly work his way up to a title shot.

Still, I’ve got to hand it to the legend.  He clearly came out ready to fight and Bader just looked cocky.  While in the beginning one fighter’s future looked cloudy and another’s was bright, the roles have been reversed.

Either way, it’s a pretty safe bet that Ryan Bader absolutely needs to win his next fight.  This was his second consecutive loss after winning his first 12 matches.  Considering how he lost those two, he needs to work on his submission defense.

On top of that, Bader needs to start from scratch and have a tuneup fight.  Maybe fight an up-and-comer or someone on the decline just so he can get his confidence back.

Otherwise, “Darth” will be slain and if I may use a bad metaphor, the Bader Empire will fall.

Josh Benjamin

UFC 132: How Many Wins Does Brian Bowles Needs to Earn a Title Shot?

The bantamweight division had a very good night at UFC 132. Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber put on a really strong five-round fight in the first ever bantamweight championship fight in UFC history, and Brian Bowles got back into championship contention …

The bantamweight division had a very good night at UFC 132. Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber put on a really strong five-round fight in the first ever bantamweight championship fight in UFC history, and Brian Bowles got back into championship contention with a solid, albeit unspectactular performance Takeya Mizugaki.

Bowles, a former WEC champion, has been on a quest for revenge ever since losing the championship to Cruz at WEC 47 last year. He has won his last two fights, first with a submission win over Damacio Page at UFC on Versus in March and then last night over Mizugaki.

With Cruz picking apart Faber, the bantamweight contender totem pole is wide open and Bowles appears to be the next one in line.

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani tweeted this just before Bowles fight last night, “Word is a good win here for Bowles will make him the #1 contender at 135.” I am not sure what a “good” win is. If UFC was looking for a flashy win or some kind of finish, Bowles failed. If UFC was looking for a solid performance and a victory, he provided exactly what was expected. 

One thing that works in Bowles’ favor is that Joseph Benavidez, the other top contender in the division, has already lost twice to Cruz.

Of course if Benavidez has a great performance and finishes his fight against Eddie Wineland at UFC Live on August 14, he will be thrown right back into the mix.

For all intents and purposes Bowles looks to be the top contender right now, but we will know more after the August show.

I think that Bowles has done enough to be the next contender, but I am not Dana White and Joe Silva. They have a business to run and are going to make the best decision for business. If Bowles does not get the next shot, he will have to win one more fight and he will surely be the top contender then.

UFC 132 Results: Wanderlei Silva Needs to Hang Up the Gloves Following KO Loss

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is one of the most influential fighters in the history of mixed martial arts. He was a knockout artist in his heyday with PRIDE back in the middle of the last decade, but he isn’t anything close to what he used to be….

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva is one of the most influential fighters in the history of mixed martial arts. He was a knockout artist in his heyday with PRIDE back in the middle of the last decade, but he isn’t anything close to what he used to be. And at UFC 132 against Chris Leben, we may have seen the last fight in the career of one of the most exciting fighters ever.

Going into the event, this was billed as a potential fight of the year because of the carefree style with which both these guys fight. Silva and Leben have won 59 fights between them with 37 of them coming via (T)KO.

But the fight was over in 27 seconds after Silva tried to overwhelm Leben but got caught and ate four vicious uppercuts that dropped him to the mat. Leben threw a few punches when Silva was on the ground and the referee stopped it.

UFC President Dana White, who has been an avid supporter of Silva’s throughout the years even as he has struggled in recent years, said that it’s probably time for Silva to walk away.

“People knew that he and Leben were going to come out and they were going to throw until somebody fell down, and it was Wanderlei tonight,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “People love him so much because of the way he fights and his style and the kind of person he is, but [it’s] probably the end of the road for Wanderlei.”

Great athletes are always the last to know when the time comes to walk away because they have the drive and desire to keep plugging along, but eventually the body won’t let you do the things that you used to do. Silva is in that predicament right now having lost six of his last eight fights.

He tried to move down to middleweight hoping that would reignite his career, but despite a victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 110, the writing is clearly on the wall.

“The Axe Murderer” is gone and all that is left is this hollow shell of Wanderlei Silva. He doesn’t have the skills necessary to compete at a high level or even a mediocre level for that matter, and for the sake of his long-term health and to preserve the legacy that he established in PRIDE, it is time for Silva to step away from the sport that he has been competing in professionally since he was 20 years old.