UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber goes down Saturday night in Las Vegas, and in case you’re feeling some MMA fatigue after five consecutive weeks of events, let us remind you — this card has the potential to be a real son-of-a-bitch. Familiarize yourself with the lineup here, and get your juices flowing again by watching some career highlights from the fighters on the card. Enjoy…
(Ryan Bader vs. Keith Jardine, UFC 110, 2/21/10)
(Melvin Guillard vs. Dennis Siver, UFC 86, 7/5/08)
Okay, so it’s not the next UFC event on the docket — that would be this Sunday’s UFC Live: Marquardt vs. Story show — but we might as well start getting hyped for the next pay-per-view card. UFC 132 goes down July 2nd in Las Vegas, featuring a bantamweight title fight, a fan-friendly matchup of sluggers, and Tito Ortiz‘s ongoing quest for redemption. The extended video preview does a decent job of explaining why you should care, but as is usually the case with these things, the hype is based on a series of well-worn fight cliches. Lets run ‘em down…
“I’m not the same fighter I was then. Things are just different. It’s not the same anymore.” (Dominick Cruz)
When Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber first met in March 2007, the California Kid was the WEC’s reigning featherweight champ and the promotion’s first home-grown star. Cruz was a promising contender, but he was still a little green, and wound up getting choked out in under two minutes.
Cruz hasn’t lost a fight since, and now the roles are reversed; he’s the reigning champion (now at 135 pounds), looking to stave off a title challenge by his old rival. Admittedly, Cruz is a much better fighter in 2011 than he was four years ago. His footwork has developed into a dynamic, utterly unique style of controlled chaos; his integration of boxing and wrestling has become seamless, and maddening for his opponents.
The reason that “I’m not the same fighter” is a lame cliche, even when Cruz says it, is that it implies your opponent is the same fighter. Which he’s not, obviously.
Happy Monday, Nation. We hope you had a good weekend. No, really, we hope you’re in a good mood, since we’re presenting the second installment of Keyboard Warrior. Hopefully everyone had naked funtime last night, slept like a baby, and had a great breakfast this morning. Otherwise, we imagine there will be lots of very not-nice things in the comments.
We’ve changed up the appearance of KBW, making it look more like a typical MMA forum, complete with the kind of critical information any Keyboard Warrior should have for important discussion, like join date and number of posts. Maybe now it won’t seem like we’re blatantly ripping off other peoples’ ideas.
You can read the first episode here (all two pages of it), check out number two, and then you’re welcome to leave suggestions, ideas, and odes to our greatness below.
(Weirdest part is, the Portuguese language doesn’t even have a phrase that means “dress shoes.”)
Just one of the many, many problems inherent in ranking MMA’s top “pound-for-pound” fighters – aside from the obvious fact these lists are 100 percent fantasy-based and therefore flatly ridiculous to begin with — is that a lot of people can’t even agree what the phrase “pound-for-pound” actually means. Does it simply provide a method for comparing the best fighters in the world across different classes? Does it purport to measure a fighter’s dominance relative to his size? Does it envision a bizzaro world where everyone is the same height and weight? And if so, does a 135-pound Fedor Emelianenko still have that ribbon of fat around his gut? Fuck if we know.
Fact is, pound-for-pound lists are really just a study in speculative fiction. Rather than trying to rank a bunch of fighters who will never actually fight we’d probably be better off writing a sprawling, dystopian novel presupposing that the Nazis won WWII, Custer didn’t die at the Little Bighorn and that during the summer of 1985 a 27-year-old Dan Severn accidentally stepped on a butterfly during his morning jog through Ann Arbor, setting off a chain reaction that caused Jon Jones never to be born at all. I guess what we’re trying to say is, things are about to get real theoretical up in this bitch. Like, comically subjective and shit.
Still, even if we can’t claim to know exactly what these rankings are trying to achieve, we do know one thing: Our carefully cultivated demographic information tells us you motherfuckers loves you some lists. And in that, we must oblige …
“I’m not really sure what’s holding it up right now,” Condit manager Malki Kawa told MMA Weekly. “Hopefully Condit’s the guy they call to do it. I don’t know if there’s a better fight than Condit for him, but we’re excited about the opportunity and hopefully, if Joe Silva, B.J. Penn, and the UFC feel like it’s something they want to do, Carlos is itching. He texts me every day, ‘Any word on B.J.?’ I’m hoping that’s what happens for him.”
(All this talk of finances is really harshing Urijah’s mellow. Pic: CageToday)
Props to our BFFs over at Bloody Elbow for pointing out an odd little singularity in the early UFC 132 betting lines this morning. After bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz and challenger Urijah Faber opened at matching -120 odds, early money appeared to push Faber to as much as a -160 favorite before Cruz stormed back to flip-flop the line. As is it stood in the a.m. on Monday, Cruz was now a -160 favorite, while Faber was a +120 dog, exactly the opposite of where they’d been less than 24 hours earlier.
But what does it all mean, you ask? Well, one of two things: Either the knee-jerk, hair-trigger gamblers blew their wad on Faber only to have opportunists go heavy on Cruz as soon as he became an underdog … or the chimpanzees who get paid to do data entry at these gambling sites screwed it up to begin with. Either way, we know you’re dying to hear more …
There was good reason for Jose Aldo to immediately start gobbling up the headlines after the UFC crowned him and Dominick Cruz its newest champions at the beginning of this year. Aldo after all has been known to suspend the rules of space and time during his fights and in one of his two most recent performances, ground the former consensus GOAT’s lead leg into andouille sausage. Still, with all the attention afforded the featherweight champ these past few months, we couldn’t blame bantamweight kingpin Cruz if he were sitting around right now mumbling something like “Wait ’till they a get a load of me.”
Because, while Aldo has been tabbed the immediate breakout superstar of the lighter weight classes, Cruz has certainly been no slouch. His unique blend of evasive footwork and striking has so far been a riddle no one at 135-pounds can unravel. Slated for a second bout with Urijah Faber at UFC 132, Cruz will get the stiffest test of his career during his first Octagon appearance. That bout could potentially see a realignment of the bantamweight Top 5. Until then, here’s how we see the cream of the 135-pound crop …
The UFC announced on Saturday that the bantamweight title fight between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will go down at UFC 132, July 2nd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Since taping for TUF 14 is expected to take place sometime this summer, it seems unlikely that Cruz and Faber will be tapped as coaches for The Ultimate Fighter‘s first bantamweight/featherweight season.
The two former WEC stars have shared some bad blood since the lead-up to their first fight at WEC 26 in March 2007. Upset that he wasn’t featured on the event poster, Cruz signed his name over Faber’s face — which the California Kid perceived as a sign of disrespect. Faber went on to score a guillotine choke victory in just 98 seconds, retaining his featherweight title.
It may be too early to declare that a new era has begun, but last night proved that the old one is on life support. The Prudential Center is used to watching some pretty lopsided beatdowns, but even the hometown crowd seemed surprised at what they were watching. Unlike the Nets, fans actually expected Shogun to put up competitive effort.
Last night was business as usual for the newly crowned LHW champion, Jon Jones. Shogun, who landed only eleven strikes all night, was outclassed in literally every aspect of the fight. It’s no exaggeration to say that Jones made Shogun look like the 23 year old fighting a legend of Pride. For that matter, it’s barely an exaggeration to say that Jones made Shogun look like the untrained mugger he stopped in the park earlier that day. It’s tempting to prematurely declare the Jon Jones Era after last night. But let’s wait until he defends the belt first.