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Cruz outmaneuvered Faber on the feet throughout the fight, connecting with sharp straights and hooks in combination with kicks to the legs and body. Faber scored with several big punches in the fight. He stunned Cruz several times with trick right hands but he failed to follow up. Cruz always recovered and answered any significant shots by Faber.
Cruz has now cemented his status as the pre-eminent bantamweight of our era. After Faber there are no big fights on the horizon for Cruz in the division. Since Faber won their first fight, he could justify a second title shot with a couple of wins against impressive opposition, especially since he hurt Cruz several times during the fight.
Chris Leben blasted Wanderlei Silva with a brutal series of left hands to leave him face flat, out cold on the mat at the end of their UFC 132 belt. Silva opened the middleweight contest by hurting Leben with a stiff 1-2 but Leben quickly recovered and countered Silva with a hard left hand.
Leben followed up with six or seven straight lefts to the face. The first was a looping left hand that caught Silva on the back of the head and staggered him. Silva advanced and tried to land more hooks but Leben dirty boxed him with a collar tie + sequence of uppercuts. Those shots hurt Silva worse and worse until the third uppercut visibly snapped his head back and sent him crashing face first into the floor.
Silva is one of the sport's legends, a long-time Pride champion, but he's had mixed results in the UFC. He moves to 1-1 in the middleweight division but may want to consider retirement.
Matt Wiman was sure he earned a decision win against Dennis Siver at UFC 132 but the judges let him down, scoring it unanimously for Siver. Wiman bloodied and battered a helpless Siver throughout the second round. But it wasn't enough to overcome Siver's advantage in the much closer first and third rounds.
Wiman let Siver take him down at the end of the first down and that came back to haunt him.
In the second round, Wiman was on his game and got Siver on his back where he rained down brutal elbows and punches. One glancing elbow to Siver's forehead opened up a bloody vertical cut that poured blood throughout the round.
It's a big set back for Matt Wiman who brought three straight wins into the fight. Siver may not have strengthened his case for a title shot in the crowded lightweight division, but he didn't fall back.
Coming into UFC 132 everyone expected Tito Ortiz to be announcing his retirement after a loss against Ryan Bader, but no. Tito came out and submitted Ryan Bader in the first round. Ortiz first dropped Bader with a short sharp right hand.
Once Bader was stunned, Ortiz was quick to pounce. He quickly gave up top position in order to get an arm-in guillotine. After the fight Ortiz told Joe Rogan that "a lot of wrestlers will tap to that." Bader, a one-time University of Arizona teammate of UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez, is definitely a wrestler.
He's now a wrestler on a losing streak after losing a second straight fight. Bader's previous loss came against current UFC light heavyweight champ Jon jones.
Ortiz, a long-time UFC champion at the turn of the century, had been threatened with imposed retirement had he picked up another loss. Prior to tonight, Ortiz hadn't won a UFC fight since 2006.
Carlos Condit called for a title shot against UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre after he blasted Dong Hyun Kim into unconsciousness with a flying knee. Kim had previously been undefeated in the UFC and Condit now has four straight wins of his own.
Condit is the former WEC welterweight champion, but he dropped a decision to Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut. His next two wins against Jake Ellenberger and Rory Macdonald were gritty come from behind victories. After knocking out Dan Hardy with a devastating hook in the first round and stopping Kim quickly, Carlos is the highest profile contender for George St. Pierre's title.
Kim is South Korea's biggest MMA star and his loss will make holding a UFC event in Asia all the more difficult.
Guillard lit up Shane Roller in a brutal exhibition of fistic fireworks appropriate to the Fourth of July. He really took it to Roller with a combination that started with a crushing left hook and culminated with a crescendo of chopping shots.
Guillard has to be closing in on a title shot after 5 straight wins including over rising star Evan Dunham and the tough Jeremy Stephens. Guillard's taken heat for coasting to a decision over Stephens, but he won't have to worry about getting criticized after this performance.
It didn't take long and it left no doubt, Rafael dos Anjos had George Sotiropoulos' number at UFC 132. He knocked him out with a right hook that came from Mars and left Sotiropoulos falling to the mat.
Referee Yves Lavigne applied a choke hold to dos Anjos to pull him off the fallen Sotiropoulos and stop him landing more shots. Sometimes referees leap in between the fighters, imposing their body between the fighters. Not Lavigne and it cost Sotiropoulos a shot to the head.
Dos Anjos finally scores a big name win in the UFC. Sotiropoulos falls for the second straight time. Prior to the back-to-back losses he'd won seven straight and was seen as a top contender for a title shot. Dos Anjos likely needs one or even two more wins to get a shot at the UFC lightweight belt.
Brian Bowles got hurt in there against gritty Takeya Mizugaki, probably pretty bad. He broke his hand on Mizugaki's face at some point in the second round in the course of a dominating unanimous decision at UFC 132.
Bowles dominated Mizugaki on the feet, landing some hard right hands, outwrestled and outgrappled Mizugaki through all three rounds. The bantamweights put on a good show for the crowd. Mizugaki did enough to win one round on one judge's card, but not much more.
The fight has definite implications for the bantamweight (135lbs) division because of Bowles' status as a former champ with two straight wins since losing his belt via decision.
Bowles very well could find himself going from the preliminary card that comes free on Facebook to the pay-per-view that costs $54.95 as a headliner in his next fight. That's if he gets an immediate title shot against the winner of UFC 132's headliner Dominick Cruz vs Urijah Faber.
Simpson dominanted position, landed some strikes and mostly pinned Tavares against the fence standing for long stretches of the fight. He also made a few notable submission attempts.
But Tavares landed several hard punches some even stunning Simpson. He also took Simpson down, even slamming him hard at once point, but it never added up to enough to win a round on a single judge's score card. Simpson refused to lose and never stopped attacking.
With the win Simpson improves his UFC record to 5-2 and puts his previous two fight losing streak in the rearview mirror by adding a second straight win.
Tavares falls to 1-1 with the promotion. He is a veteran of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.
Anthony Njokuani beat Andre Winner bad enough for two judges to award two of MMA's rarest score -- 10-8's. Njokuani tagged Winner in both the first and second rounds and followed up with the kind of sustained beating that gets stopped by the referee 9 out of 10 times.
But Yves Lavigne -- probably influenced by the Njokuani's failure to ever drop Winner -- made the correct call to let the fight continue. Winner managed to come back to his senses and actually ended the fight on the offenses. But it was way less than too little too late.
Njokuani had a significant reach advantage and a much more varied attack, combining punches, kicks, knees and elbows to brutalize Winner's face. Amazingly, not only did Winner not fall from the beating, he didn't even bleed. Sure his face pumped up like a busted bicycle tire tube that had been patched 6 too many times, but he never fell and he never bled.
Hougland managed to bloody up Walker on the feet and repeatedly threatened with submission attempts. Walker came alive in the third round and attempted some subs of his own but came up short.
Walker's corner inveighed him to "at least make it an exciting fight" before the final round and told him he needed to get a finish to win. He fought with the appropriate level of desperation but it wasn't even.
Hougland had the gritty style you'd expect from a veteran of the Mid-West regional circuit. He looked to stun Walker on the feet and then quickly apply a submission to his stunned prey. Walker is a veteran himself and proved hard to finish.
Both men were making their UFC debut. The pair had built up a combined 15 fight win streak to earn their UFC featherweight berths. Both men are over 30 and it's possible the loser will never come back to the promotion.
Join me, "Kid" Nate, for live commentary and results from UFC 132 tonight starting at 5 p.m. ET. I'll be calling the fights as I see 'em, pulling no punches and telling no lies all night.
Bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz looks to extend his winning streak to 9 straight fights tonight against Urijah Faber at UFC 132. Cruz hasn't lost since Faber choked him out in 2007. That was back when both men were in the WEC and were fighting in the featherweight division at 145lbs.
Faber lost his WEC featherweight belt to Mike Brown in 2008 and made two unsuccessful attempts to reclaim it, once against Brown and again against current champ Jose Aldo. This could be Faber's one and only chance at UFC gold.