LAS VEGAS, July 2 – It might sound cheap to say that the first 135-pound title fight in UFC history was the best one ever, but Saturday’s UFC 132 main event that saw Dominick Cruz retain his bantamweight championship with a five round unanimous decision win over Urijah Faber at the MGM Grand Garden Arena certainly set a standard that will be hard to top.
Then again, with Cruz ruling the division, excitement may always be on the menu.
Scores were 50-45, 49-46, and 48-47 for Cruz, the former WEC champion who defended his belt for the first time. Faber had defeated Cruz in a March 2007 bout for the WEC featherweight belt.
Cruz landed with his first punch of the fight, a straight right to the head, but Faber shook it off. Moments later, Faber locked up with the champion, and after being unable to secure a takedown, he ended the grappling sequence with an elbow to the head. Faber was swinging hard with each shot, and two minutes in, a looping right hand sent Cruz to the canvas. Cruz bounced up quickly from the flash knockdown, but a message had been sent by the challenger. As the round got into its final two minutes, Cruz began to get his rhythm, and he effectively mixed punches in with leg kicks. Faber responded by bulling Cruz to the fence and again landing a hard elbow before the two broke loose.
Dominick Cruz post-fight interview - Urijah Faber post-fight interview
The pace stayed high in round two, yet both fighters were being more selective with their attacks early on. That didn’t last long though, as both Cruz and Faber tagged each other with hard strikes that got the crowd roaring. What may have been most impressive as the round progressed was Cruz’ stellar defense and movement, both of which kept Faber guessing long enough to get hit. Faber wasn’t backing down though, and in the second half of the round he scored his second knockdown of the fight. But it was Cruz with a hard flurry at the end that left the final impression.
Cruz appeared to be taking deep breaths in round three, but his workrate didn’t slow an ounce. Faber was just as busy, and nearly three minutes in, he scored a takedown, yet he got reversed by Cruz, who quickly got back to his feet to resume his standup attack, which he varied nicely between punches upstairs and kicks to the legs and head. With under 30 seconds left, Cruz shot for his own takedown, but was rebuffed.
Showing more urgency, Faber raced out of his corner to begin round four. Cruz calmly met his charge with some quick shots, but another big right hand dropped Cruz for a third time. Cruz responded with a quick takedown, but it was the Faber knockdown that did the most damage, and the crowd chanted his name in appreciation. Cruz started mixed in more takedown attempts into his offense as the round wore on, though Faber defended them well, and by the end of the round, he was the stalker.
With a flying knee, a flurry of punches and a takedown, Cruz roared out for the fifth round determined to keep his crown. Faber got up immediately from the trip to the canvas, and though Cruz got another quick takedown, he almost got caught in a guillotine choke for his trouble. Cruz didn’t stop pressing, sending Faber southward four more times. The challenger rose immediately each time, but the points Cruz scored were important ones in such a close fight, one that earned the ovation the crowd gave at the final bell.
With the win, Cruz improves to 18-1; Faber falls to 25-5.
Watch UFC 132 here: http://www.ufc.tv/ufc/event/cruz-vs-faber/541
UFC 132 Main Event Results: Remember His Name – Cruz Outpoints Faber
Click below for the UFC 132 main event report...