First Thoughts on UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber

This Saturday, July 2nd, California “Golden Boy” Urijah Faber enters the cage to face Dominick Cruz for the newly minted UFC Bantamweight Championship Belt. But before they do, there’s a few bouts that pique my interest…

Ryan Bader vs. Tito Ortiz

Before we go any further, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit: Ryan Bader is one of my favorite fighters in the UFC right now. Sure, his last fight was a loss to Jon Jones, but there’s hardly shame in that. I’m sure it was a learning experience for Darth Bader. Unfortunately, almost none of what he could learn will be of use against Tito Ortiz. Except maybe “don’t get hit.”

Tito Ortiz enters the cage a shell of his former self. When I heard about this fight, two things entered my mind: Tito ticked off Dana again, and they’re setting up Bader with a relatively easy win. I know Tito’s been saying some good things, and always has a chance in the cage, but really… Bader should put on a clinic on Saturday.

George Sotiropoulos vs. Rafael dos Anjos

I’m not a big fan of little (under 170 lb) fighters, but I’m a big fan of George Sotiropoulos. He seems to be a very well-rounded fighter with a fire to learn and expand his game. Most of his recent victories have come by the way of submission, but he’s no slouch on his feet.

And he did one thing that cost him a fight, but made him the envy of many people: Sotiropoulos’ 2006 loss to ruthless Shinya Aoki came by DQ for a groin strike.*

Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller

Guillard has put together some explosive victories lately and I’m glad he’s part of the free Spike prelims, so more people can see him fight. He faces a tough opponent in Shane Roller, but one he can beat. It has the potential to be a spectacular fight.

Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben

What to say about this match-up that hasn’t already been said… It’s going to be like watching every episode of UFC Unleashed, but live! Seriously, that this fight is even happening is almost as mind-blowing as the Ortiz vs. Bader bout. I just can’t wrap my brain around it right now…

 

*We at MMA Rants Today take a hard line on dirty fighting. It’s one thing to have something happen in the heat of battle, but when a trained professional sucker-punches his opponent after the round has ended, holds a submission for a long time after a tap, causes pain with malice beyond what is needed for the win or in other ways fights dirty, we have no respect or patience for that fighter. Aoki embodies that, and it is widely accepted that Sotiropoulos’ groin strikes were unintentional. But it happened, and in this isolated case, George gets a +1 from me.