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Watch UFC 132 LIVE NOW: Dominick Cruz Vs Urijah Faber

By Siri Karri

After the spectacular showing at UFC on Versus 4, UFC 132 has a lot to live up to. For $59.99, it needs to top the jaw-dropping main event between Pat Barry and Cheick Kongo as well as the fights preceding it. Luckily, this card is filled to the brim with fighters who like to throw first, ask questions later.

Let’s take a look at this weekend’s entertainment.

Denis Siver (18-7) vs. Matt Wiman (13-5)

Denis Siver, quite simply put, is the best kickboxer in the lightweight division. He has a stunning spinning back kick, which he used to KO Nate Mohr and Paul Kelly with brutal liver shots. In his most recent fight he took on Australian George Sotiropoulos, whom I (along with many others) believed was the number #1 contender for the title and that Sotiropoulos would roll over the notoriously inconsistent Siver. As it turned out, Siver introduced Sotiropoulos to his left hook throughout the fight and scored a runaway decision on the judge’s cards. As of this writing, Denis Siver has won 6 out of his last 7 UFC fights.

Matt Wiman, while not as flashy, is a warrior in his own right. He isn’t the walking highlight reel like Siver, and he doesn’t have as many notable names under his belt, but he always shows up to fight. He’s on a 3 fight win streak of his own and from June 7, 2008 to April 18, 2009 he recorded a staggering 3 consecutive “Fight of the Night” performances. What Wiman lacks in flashiness he makes up with in dogged determination and aggression. He’s more than willing to stand and bang but is more than happy to slap his opponents’ shoulders through the canvas.

Siver’s weakness has always been on the ground BUT, as he showed in the Sotiropoulos fight, getting him to the ground is easier said than done. Wiman is game and there’s a chance he’ll ground Siver for a decision , but more likely is that Denis Siver will ride his momentum to another exciting victory.

Siver by TKO rd. 2

Carlos Condit (26-5) vs. Kim Dong-hyun (14-0-1)

This is THE fight to watch, simply because of title implications. We have Carlos Condit, easily the most EXCITING fighter in the welterweight division right now against Kim Dong-hyun who is arguably one of the top 5 welterweights in the division.

Carlos Condit was, excuse my language, “hot shit” in the WEC. He held the welterweight title longer than anyone else and his inclusion to the UFC roster was celebrated amongst the MMA community. After a rocky start in his split decision loss to Martin Kampmann, Condit has returned to form with a 3 fight win streak. His two close, highly entertaining victories of Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald were capped off by a stunning knockout over title contender Dan Hardy. It’s quite possible that one more win will put Condit into a title contender spot.

Kim Dong-hyun is an anomaly; he is easily one of the top welterweight fighters but he seems to slip underneath a lot of casual fans’ radars. He suffers from the same problem that middleweight Yushin Okami does; highly successful but barely marketable. His tactical grappling and space control just isn’t conducive in a division with walking highlight reels such as Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves. He is undefeated in 6 UFC fights, out grappling famed fighters such as Amir Sadollah and Nate Diaz. In another similarity shared with Yushin Okami, he has something the vast majority of Asian fighters lack; size. Many Korean and Japanese fighters don’t cut weight and find themselves outsized and outmuscled in their fights. Kim Dong Hyun, along with his spectacular grappling, stands at an enormous 6′ 1″ . . . and he’s actually muscular. Go on, Google image his name. Yup, he’s 170 lbs .

While Condit is flashier and undoubtedly well rounded, he’s always struggled against fighters who can physically overwhelm him (Ellenberger and MacDonald being prime examples). As much as I love Carlos, I have Kim running away with this.

Kim Dong-hyun by unanimous decision

Tito Ortiz (15-8-1) vs. Ryan Bader (12-1)

This is going to be a really short analysis. No offense, but Tito Ortiz is a has been. He hasn’t won in his last 5 fights, and all the highlights that made him one of the “faces of the UFC” are more than 5 years ago. Since then, the younger generation of light-heavyweights have literally been running circles around him. Ryan Bader on the other hand is young, large, strong, and has only one loss to the juggernaut champion Jon “Bones” Jones.

It will be fun to watch; Tito always puts up a fight. But the result will never be in question . . . this will be one of the saddest swan songs in UFC history.

Ryan Bader by unanimous decision

Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1) vs. Chris Leben (25-7)

If Condit vs. Kim is exciting because of how it affects the title picture, Silva vs. Leben is exciting simply because these two men are some of the greatest finishers in the sport.

Wanderlei Silva is arguably the most popular MMA fighter in the world. Georges St. Pierre’s fans are heavily concentrated in Canada, Anderson Silva has his fair share of haters for his bipolar performances, and almost every other champion has faced some sort of backlash. Wanderlei, no matter what city in what country, is universally loved. Let me explain it this way; in 8 UFC fights, Wanderlei Silva has gone 3-5. In this economy and with the UFC roster as crowded as it is . . . going 3-5 with multiple knockout losses is a surefire way to lose your job.

Wanderlei stays because he fights. He is a physical specimen, with his training regimen probably only rivaled by the Spetsnaz in the 1980’s and is the best Muay Thai practitioner in the UFC aside from Anderson Silva. But what really puts fans in the seats, what REALLY makes Wanderlei so dangerous is that he never backs down. Against fighters such as Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin, talented champions who should have BLOWN Wanderlei away, the undersized and underpowered Brazilian charged forward much to the ire of his competition. In his most recent fight, he upset probable title contender Michael Bisping in a fight many gave him no chance in.

Chris Leben, while not universally heralded, is cut from the same cloth as Wanderlei Silva. He is by no means the most refined, but he has a cast iron chin and dynamite in his left hand. Most of Chris Leben’s fights end in predictable fashion: faster opponent hurts Chris Leben multiple times before a solid left handed punch puts them to sleep. Leben has had a setback recently, getting knocked out by middleweight standout and certified American hero Brian Stann. Before that however, Leben was riding a 3 fight win streak that included his first submission victory against Yoshihiro Akiyama.
The outcome of this fight is in Wanderlei Silva’s hands. While he is the faster, more technical fighter he also has a chin weakened by several knockout losses. If he charges in against Leben, there’s a good chance that one counter-left will end his night early. On the other hand, if he’s smart, Wanderlei will circle around and pick Leben apart with superior footwork and hand speed to take a decision.
Wanderlei may be ugly, but he sure ain’t stupid.

Silva by unanimous decision

Dominick Cruz (14-1) vs. Urijah Faber (25-4)

The main event is a title fight in one of the most unappreciated divisions in MMA: Bantamweight. Luckily, the first UFC bantamweight title fight is going to be between pound for pound listed Dominick Cruz and the world’s most famous WEC fighter Urijah Faber.

Dominick Cruz is an enormous bantamweight. Yeah I know he’s only 5′ 8″, but 5′ 8″ and 135 lbs in MMA pretty much makes you Treebeard (Lord of the Rings anyone? Anyone?). Unlike many fighters who are tall and lanky for their division such as Kendall Grove (6′ 6″ 185) or Stefan Struve (6′ 11″ 255), Cruz doesn’t suffer from a lack of agility or athleticism; his strategy for winning primarily relies on it.

Cruz fights like a bumper car: he runs into you with a punch or a kick and then quickly speeds away. His list of victims include bantamweight standouts such as Joseph Benavidez, Brian Bowles, and Scott Jorgenson, none of whom could touch Cruz. His sole loss came in 2007, to a diminutive fighter named Urijah Faber.

If Chuck Liddell could be considered the “face of the UFC” then Urijah Faber was the face, brain, left lung and scrotum of the WEC. Even when more successful, flashier fighters such as Anthony Pettis and Jose Aldo came on the scene the loveable Californian continued to be the most popular man under the WEC banner and responsible for its explosive growth. Similar to Wanderlei Silva, he owes his universal success to his never back down mentality. Against Mike Brown, he broke both his hands yet continued to fight on valiantly against the larger, stronger title holder. Against Jose Aldo (arguably the pound for pound #1), he continued to plod forward even as his legs and body were ripped apart by the phenom’s punches and kicks. His high school wrestling, solid cardio, and unorthodox striking means that besides the aforementioned fighters, most opponents have a hard time pinning down Faber.

Faber is 3-2 in his last 5 fights and Cruz is 5-0, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a one sided fight. Faber is more experienced and if ANYONE can catch up to Cruz and hold him down, it’s Faber. That being said, the fighters FABER has had the most trouble with are the physically gifted; men who are larger but also faster than him . . . men like Dominick Cruz.

With the match up fairly even, the edge goes to Cruz for having more momentum going into this fight.

Cruz by split decision









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