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UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber [Preview]

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UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber

Dominick Cruz (c) vs. Urijah Faber [Bantamweight Championship]
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader
Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman
Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller
George Sotiropoulos vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Brian Bowles vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Brad Tavares vs. Aaron Simpson
Anthony Njokuani vs. Andre Winner
Jeff Hougland vs. Donny Walker

Jeff Hougland [0-0 UFC, 9-4 MMA] -vs- Donny Walker [0-0 UFC, 15-6 MMA]

Both of these fighters are newcomers to the UFC, but Hougland is on an eight fight win streak while Walker has picked up seven wins in a row.  Hougland just fought a month and a half ago, while Walker has been inactive since last December and will be the fresher fighter.  Walker has also fought mostly in the featherweight division, so he will have a bit of a size and power advantage to go with his advantage on the feet.  With four TKO victories already, I see Walker having an edge going into the fight.

Anthony Njokuani [0-1 UFC, 13-5 MMA] -vs- Andre Winner [2-3 UFC, 11-5-1 MMA]

This fight is going to be a must win for Andre Winner, and possibly Anthony Njokuani as well.  Winner had a dissapointing year in 2010, going 1-2, dropping his last two fights against tough opponents, Nik Lentz and Dennis Siver.  Njokuani has also been in a slump lately.  He put together a decent run in the WEC, starting out 3-1, but like Winner had a rough 2010, and has dropped three out of his last four fights, including his UFC debut in March.  If both of these men are aware of the consequences if they suffer another bad loss, we should look for both of them to try everything they can to pick up the win.

Brad Tavares [2-0 UFC, 7-0 MMA] -vs- Aaron Simpson [4-2 UFC, 9-2 MMA]

Replacing Jason "Mayhem" Miller in this fight, Brad Tavares is looking to continue his streak and stay undefeated taking on a tough opponent in Aaron Simpson.  Simpson bounced back in his last fight against Mario Miranda with a unanimous decision victory after losing two in a row.  Tavares, still sporting an undefeated record officially, has entered the UFC 2-0 after coming up short in the TUF house.  Both fighters will be looking for the win to take the next step in the Middleweight division.  I can see this one turning into a brawl if neither man can get an advantage sometime early in the fight.

Brian Bowles [1-0 UFC, 9-1 MMA] -vs- Takeya Mizugaki [1-0 UFC, 14-5-2 MMA]

Bowles bounced back from his loss against former WEC and current UFC Bantamweight Champion, Dominick Cruz, with a submission victory at "UFC Live 3" over Damacio Page.  Mizugaki picked up his latest victory at the same event over Reuben Duran, after losing his last WEC fight against current title contender Urijah Faber.  I believe Bowles is still near the top of the Bantamweight division, and we could see him get a rematch with Cruz if he scores another big win, or possibly even a fight against Faber is in his future.  On the other side, this would be a huge victory for Mizugaki, and will give him the opportunity to compete against the rest of the Bantamweight division's best.

George Sotiropoulos [7-1 UFC, 14-3 MMA] -vs- Rafael dos Anjos [3-3 UFC, 14-5 MMA]

If you're on of those MMA fans who only appreciates a knockout, this one might not be on the top of your list of "fights to watch" on this card.  I expect this fight to look like a grappling clinic.  Each fighter will be looking to snag the best position and pull something off, and though I do think this will be exciting for fans of the ground game, I see it ending in a decision with neither being able to get the finish.

Melvin Guillard [9-4 UFC, 28-8-2 MMA] -vs- Shane Roller [1-0 UFC, 10-3 MMA]

Melvin has been on fire!  After entering the UFC, Melvin's performances and record stood mediocre at 3-3, but has since gone 7-1 [6-1 UFC] in the last three years, losing only to Nate Diaz.  Roller had also faired well while competing in the WEC's lightweight division, losing only twice, both to former champions, Ben Henderson and Anthony Pettis, while also defeating a former champion in Jamie Varner more recently.  Roller is now 1-0 in the UFC after defeating Thiago Tavares in his debut.  Will Shane keep rolling along...or will "The Young Assassin" add another name to his hitlist?

Dennis Siver [7-4 UFC, 18-7 MMA] -vs- Matt Wiman [7-3 UFC, 13-5 MMA]

This fight could be the "dark horse" on the card.  Both fighters have been slowly climbing the ranks, are each on a three fight winning streak, and have both been beating some tough competition.  I'm not surprised these two are meeting at this point in their UFC careers, and this is a great opoortunity for whoever picks up the win.

Carlos Condit [3-1 UFC, 26-5 MMA] -vs- Dong Hyun Kim [5-0 1NC UFC, 14-0-1 MMA]

I'm excited for this fight.  Since Kim has entered the UFC, he has had all but one fight go to decision, but that doesn't mean he's a boring fighter.  I believe he needs someone like Condit to bring it out in him to go for the finish.  Styles definitely make the fights, and against someone like Carlos who is active on his feet as well as on the ground from the top or bottom, he's going to pressure Kim into wanting to finish.  With Kim being undefeated and Condit only losing one fight in the last five years, both men are at the top of their game and want to be at the top of the Welterweight ranks.

Tito Ortiz [14-8-1 UFC, 15-8-1 MMA] -vs- Ryan Bader [5-1 UFC, 12-1 MMA]

Bader's career is taking off.  We are already seeing him fight guys at the top of the division, and only losing to current champ Jon Jones. This fight versus Ortiz has me asking...why?  Tito hasn't won a fight in almost five years.  I personally like Tito, sometimes.  I don't think he has the most easy-going personality outside of the octagon, but when it comes fight time, win or lose he still performs.  He has heart, no doubt, and he is also still one of the most marketable faces in MMA, but as a fighter his time may be up.  I know he wants to fight, but with other options folding around the MMA scene, the UFC is the only place for Tito.  The problem is, Tito needs to win.  Yes, he can still compete, but no wins in five YEARS?  Without a win against Bader, I can't see the UFC holding on to Tito's hand any longer.

Wanderlei Silva [3-5 UFC, 33-10-1 MMA] -vs- Chris Leben [11-6 UFC, 25-7 MMA]

2010 was Chris Leben's year, with a clean 3-0 sweep against tough contenders, and two wins within two weeks, Chris looked to be on the fast track back up the Middleweight ranks.  When it came time to ring in the new year, "The Crippler" found his bell rung and was KO'ed by "The All American" Brian Stann.  Silva has been out of action since early 2010 after he picked up a big and much needed win over top middleweight contender Michael Bisping.  I think that much time away from the octagon might have an effect on Wanderlei, and we know Leben will be looking to knock someone's head off after taking the last loss like he did.  Either way, don't expect a technical fight as both fighters have made it known they don't plan on changing anything, and will both be looking for the big shot.

Dominick Cruz [0-0 UFC, 17-1 MMA] -vs- Urijah Faber [1-0 UFC, 25-4 MMA]

This is the main event, a Bantamweight title fight, but more important it is a rematch from back in 2007, where at WEC 26 Urijah Faber defeated Dominick Cruz by submission.  That loss was current champion Dominick Cruz's only loss in his MMA career.  Faber is the former WEC Featherweight champion, and has since gone 2-0 since dropping to Bantamweight.  This is going to be a very fast paced matchup.  I see Faber pressuring Cruz, with Cruz stepping in and out, picking his shots.  Urijah will need to use his own hand speed to keep up with Dominick, as this may be the first time he's not the quicker fighter to the punch.  Cruz has proven he knows how to dance around his opponents and pick them apart, but Faber's aggressiveness and relentless attitude will be a factor.  Both fighters have proven they have the stamina and cardio to go the distance, but I don't think either fighter has needed to keep up the pace recently as much as they both will need to against eachother.

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