UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz breakdown his UFC 132 matchup verses ‘The California Kid’ Urijah Faber at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Go to mmadiehards.bnqt.com for more videos.
UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz breakdown his UFC 132 matchup verses ‘The California Kid’ Urijah Faber at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Go to mmadiehards.bnqt.com for more videos.
Urijah Faber despises Dominick Cruz, loves Joseph Benavidez, and does the Dougie with UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, all at the same time.
UFC 132 has had the “California Kid” preparing for a rematch with Cruz, in a bout that has multiple similarities to the first time they met at WEC 26, on March 24, 2007.
WEC 26 found the two competitors fighting for the WEC featherweight belt, a belt Faber held for two years, and Cruz was undefeated heading into the fight. Faber made quick work of Cruz, submitting “The Dominator” with a guillotine choke in first round, and following that was a slew of disrespectful behavior from the UFC bantamweight champ.
From the jibes Cruz did or said in public, to the miniscule things that make up his personality, Faber cannot pinpoint exactly what irks him about Cruz, but he’s knows he does not like the Arizona native. Faber insists that he did not intend for things to be this way, but rather Cruz chose him.
“He chose me as an enemy and I accepted,” Faber said in explaining his detest for Cruz to MMADieHards.com. “I never even knew the guy and he started being a jerk. Since we first fought, look at the stuff he’s done. He was signing over my face on a poster, then he kept getting more disrespectful, and then it just so happened that we crossed paths again. We’re both vying for the No. 1 spot in the world. I don’t like the guy very much, but it’s nothing particular.”
Faber recognizes the similarities between this fight and their bout at WEC 26, and he acknowledges the differences, but he guarantees the outcome will stay the same.
“A lot has changed since the last time we fought,” Faber admitted. “This is going to be a completely different fight, but I’m planning on winning again. I can’t wait to get it there and mix it up. I can’t wait to see what happens. I don’t know how this is going to play out, but I will have my hand raised because I’m a better fighter, for sure.”
While Faber was becoming a household name and defending his WEC featherweight belt, Cruz was regrouping and making a run at the WEC bantamweight championship.
Cruz utilized tricky footwork and a quickness that is seldom seen, even in the smaller weight divisions, to capture bantamweight gold. A lot of people are buying into Cruz’s fighting style, calling it effective and intelligent, but Faber calls it irritating. Faber had his Team Alpha Male brothers help him prepare to chase Cruz around the Octagon, but he outsourced a couple of other crafty, quick guys for assistance.
“I spent a couple days with Anthony Pettis and Sergio Pettis,” Faber said. “I didn’t change too much. I got the guys I need to help me get ready for him.
“He’s hard to hit. He can jump around for five rounds and be elusive, so I have to work against that in my offense, but I’m a hard guy to hit, also. I think it’ll be me trying to chase him down. That’s how I see the fight going. He just does some pitter-patter and then starts running.”
Team Alpha Male, a gym owned by Faber, houses great talents like Chad Mendes, Justin Buchholz and Benavidez. The training partners within the facility have progressed into somewhat of a family, from business endeavors to sharpening each others’ skills in the gym. Team Alpha Male is about helping one another improve.
Mendes was mentioned as a candidate to fight Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight belt, Faber is preparing for his opportunity to grasp the UFC bantamweight belt, and Benavidez hovers near the top of the bantamweight division. If Faber defeats Cruz at UFC 132, it increases the possibility he and Benavidez could meet in the Octagon, but the “California Kid” does not envision that happening.
“There’s no real need for it,” Faber explained. “We’ve been together for a really long time and we’ve built our careers together. We wouldn’t do that.”
There has been speculation that Benavidez will compete in the flyweight division when the UFC incorporates that 125-pound weight class into its shows. However, Faber does not believe Benavidez is positive about dropping down a weight class.
“I know he likes to eat,” Faber joked. “He’s put on some weight over the years, so we’ll have to see what happens there. I feel that Joseph is right on the verge of becoming a world champion at (bantamweight), still.”
Amidst all of Faber’s preparations for UFC 132, the former WEC featherweight champion has found some time to provide MMA fans with a few entertaining videos.
Besides the typical fight hype videos that have been viral for months, there is the humorous video of Faber getting back at a gamer that was talking trash to him online. But the video that has most fans talking is a recording of the “California Kid” alongside Mendes, Benavidez and Jon “Bones” Jones, doing the dance known as the Dougie.
“Me, Joseph and Chad did the first one, and we actually did it at Master Thong’s gym,” Faber explained. “I bought the video cameras, and my buddy Tommy was filming and put that video together. After that, me and ‘Bones’ were filming a K-Swiss campaign, and we had to kill a couple hours in between. So, we’re sitting there bored and I put the song on and it just kind of got made from there.”
During Faber’s next training camp, he will probably still detest Cruz; he will for sure still be training with Benavidez, and maybe produce another dance video.
Possibly the Macarena with Cain Velasquez?
NEWARK, N.J. – Jon Jones is the UFC light heavyweight champion, and it wasn’t even close.
Jones overwhelmed legendary champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark to grab the belt and complete a meteoric rise to the top of the UFC.
Jones will now face Jackson’s MMA teammate Rashad Evans in his first title defense. Evans’ injury opened a spot for Jones to get into this match in the first place. Previously, the teammates had said they would not face one another.
“We are teammates, and we sparred many days,” Jones said. “But this is my dream and I have to do exactly what I have to do.”
“Great performance out there,” Evans said. “I guess you should never say never, right?”
Jones completed his destruction of Rua at 2:37 of the third round. He was completely dominant in every aspect and never let the Brazilian unleash a single one of his trademark kicks.
“It feels so good,” said Jones, who thwarted a robbery in Newark earlier in the day. “It’s a dream come true.”
“I have to congratulate him, he was better than me,” Rua said through an interpreter. “He was a very tough guy, a very tough fighter with great ground work.”
Through two rounds, the only thing about Rua that was in championship form was his heart and a chin of granite that took Jones’ best shots. The game champion attempted a knee bar in the early going of the third round but was not successful and ended up on his back in half guard, forced to defend the lethal ground-and-pound of the Endicott, N.Y. native and the favorite of the home crowd.
It was the beginning of the end.
Rua managed to get to his feet under a rain of strikes, but that spelled the end, as he ate a knee that helped pummel away his belt away. Referee Herb Dean waved it off after Jones crumpled Rua with a left to the body, and a new era began.
Not only has Jones proved unbeatable, but he also seems far and away the best fighter at his division, maybe more dominant that any of the title holders in the UFC. Such was the talk in press row after the fight’s conclusion.
Jones needed 30 seconds of the second round to land a spinning back elbow to Rua’s face, but Rua finally stemmed the tide a bit as Jones began to slow down. Jones, in a southpaw stance, connected with a straight left to Rua’s jaw. It sent the champion back but did not halt him. The takedown that ensued left Jones in an offensive position once again in the lopsided affair. By the final minute of Round 2, it seemed Shogun’s only hope of retaining the title was to tire out Jones and catch him with one a powerful strike. Jones rode out the round on top, working on delivering elbows from the guard.
Jones, who cartwheeled into the Octagon, started the fight with a flying knee that did not connect, then a spinning back kick that just missed before he slammed Rua and moved into a half-guard that was so wide it might as well have just been side control. Rua worked back into guard and worked to defend the imminent elbows. Jones hit with a couple of elbows to the liver and the crowd erupted with its second “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant of the night.
Jones unleashed a combination and narrowly missed a front kick to the face as Rua, spitting blood, could not offer even a single one of his trademark kicks in return. The round ended with Jones on top in a decisive first round.
Eddie Wineland vs. Urijah Faber
Dominick Cruz, get ready. The only man to beat you is coming after your bantamweight title.
Urijah Faber scored a unanimous decision victory over former champ Eddie Wineland to all but secure a title shot with Cruz.
“I want that UFC belt,” Faber said. “Hide the kids, hide your wife, I’m coming to get it.”
Faber won 29-28 on all three judges’ cards. He rallied to win the final two rounds after losing the first.
“I felt pretty good,” Faber said. “Eddie is really tough. He caught me off guard coming out with the clinch. He’s a really good guy and has a great future.
“You don’t know how fast they are or how powerful they are, so I was trying to gage that. I’d like to get the finish.”
Faber is the former WEC champ at 145 pounds, a weight at which he handed the only career loss to Cruz, who carried the bantamweight title to the UFC after defending the WEC belt against Faber’s teammate, Joseph Benavidez.
The fight was up for grabs as the third round started and neither did anything to create a gap in the first half of the round. Faber connected on an uppercut with 2:09 remaining and then stuck Wineland twice more in a combination, eventually taking him down with 73 seconds left to take the round and secure the decision as he rode out the remainder from top position.
Faber hit his first takedown 80 seconds into the second round and worked on pounding Wineland, a former WEC bantamweight champion, from the top with elbows. Wineland tried to scramble up after another 90 seconds but Faber kept him down. When not trying for elbows, Faber was looking to land bombs rather than consistent and lesser blows.
Wineland was out to show that Faber would have trouble taking him down at the beginning of the fight, stuffing his first attempt and keeping him against the fence. Wineland landed a right hand off the break, then stuffed another takedown attempt and pushed Faber back against the cage. Wineland lifted Faber clear of the mat and slammed him, but could not keep him down. Faber continually got his Greco-Roman takedown attempts halted by the taller Wineland, who mainly used his jab and did not show his powerful right hand often.
Kamal Shalorus vs. Jim Miller
Jim Miller did what he needed to do to remain in the mix for the UFC lightweight title.
Miller, of Sparta, scored an impressive third-round TKO of previously unbeaten Kamal Shalorus and then asked what else he needed to do for a shot at the belt.
“Is that all I have to do?” Miller said. “That’s seven in a row in arguably the toughest division in the UFC. I’m ready (for the title shot).”
Miller was in complete control by the third round. His crisp striking led to a big left that buckled the stout former Olympic wrestler from Iran. With Shalorus in trouble and posturing for a takedown, Miller smashed him with a left knee that appeared could have broken Shalorus’ nose and essentially ended the fight.
“I’ve been waiting for that,” Miller said of the knee.
It was a night of mixed emotions for the Miller family. Jim Miller’s victory came only minutes after his older and heavier brother, Dan, lost a unanimous decision to Nate Marquardt. The Miller brothers fight out of AMA Fight Club in Whippany.
“Kamal is the toughest opponent for me,” said Jim Miller. “I hit him so hard, I think I hurt my hand. I knew the first time I laid my hands on him he was tough.”
Miller pressed forward in the second round and pushed back Shalorus with a stiff combination before trying a flying guillotine. Aggressively, Miller took down the wrestler, securing a body triangle while taking the back and working for the rear naked choke. Shalorus had to get through the final three minutes in that precarious position. Miller tried a painful air choke with the forearm with two minutes left, but Shalorus kept his chin tucked just enough and the sequence repeated a minute later and again 20 seconds thereafter. Shalorus was so preoccupied with the hand fighting he never realized Miller let go of the body triangle.
A couple of fighters who are great on the ground decided to duke it out on the feet for the opening three minutes of a kickboxing match. Amid chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” for the local product against the Iranian, Miller left a mouse under Shalorus’ left eye, then stymied him with a kick to the head. Shalorus earned a takedown of Miller but nearly caught himself in a guillotine. Shalorus made the round close with the takedown but Miller had the best of the action.
Dan Miller vs. Nate Marquardt
A late opponent change did not seem to affect Nate Marquardt’s game plan at all as he cruised to a unanimous decision victory over Dan Miller.
Marquardt had his opponent switched from Yoshihiro Akiyama, who stayed behind in his native Japan after the natural disaster there. Miller stepped up from the preliminary portion of the card and was a game opponent, but had trouble handling Marquardt’s top game.
Miller has come up just short in decision defeats to middleweight contenders Marquardt, Chael Sonnen and Demian Maia, in addition to the rising Michael Bisping. Marquardt rebounded after losing two of his previous three fights.
With Miller’s corner urging him to finish Marquardt, the third round began and the fighters traded leather in the center of the Octagon for the first minute. Now bleeding above the left eye, Miller continued to try to catch Marquardt with an uppercut, but took punishment for his efforts. Marquardt scored a takedown but Miller defended well off his back after eating a couple of elbows. Marquardt stayed just busy enough from the top to take the round and secure the decision.
Round 2 began as a stand-up battle, as Marquardt partially landed a high kick and an uppercut by Miller cut the lip of his opponent. Marquardt went for a flying knee that Miller caught and turned into a takedown. After 90 seconds in the middle of the cage, Marquardt took down Miller, who nearly cinched an arm-in guillotine from the bottom in a very close round tha went Marquardt’s way.
Miller earned the first takedown of the match, but had to work nearly a minute to complete it. Marquardt used the fence post to stay in the sitting position, get up and then take down Miller, who tried to lock in his signature guillotine but could not secure it. Marquardt could not advance from top position, leading to a stand up. Marquardt connected on another slam as Miller tried for the guillotine, and that second slam was the difference in the round.
Brendan Schaub vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
Brendan Schaub turned out Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s lights, knocking him out at 3:44 of the fourth round of their heavyweight match.
As the third round moved on, Schaub wrestled down Filipovic twice in a minute. “Cro Cop” got back to his feet with 2:42 left, in need of a rally to win. But it was Schaub who unleashed big right that knocked Filipovic cold, ending the fight. Referee Herb Dean sprinted in and got to Schaub just fast enough to prevent one more blow.
“Not bad,” Schaub said. “I really gotta thank Dana White and Joe Silva.”
A day after his birthday, Schaub won one of the $70,000 bonuses for knockout of the night. He continues to move up the heavyweight ladder and could soon get consideration for the upper echelon of title contenders.
“I just keep getting more experience, and showcased my wrestling because ‘Cro Cop” is so dangerous,” Schaub said. “That’s what we do all day in camp.”
Before the knockout, Round 3 began with a bang, but it was to Schaub’s groin on a left kick. Schaub was able to continue with a short break and appeared unaffected. In the first round, “Cro Cop” hit Schuab with an illegal upkick, although no points were deducted.
As the second round commenced, “Cro Cop” measured and delivered a left kick toward the head, but Schaub checked it with his forearm and then took him down. Schaub was about to get up when Filipovic hit him with an illegal upkick, but Dean issued only a warning, and no points were deducted as Schaub was not affected. Dean deducted a point from Schaub, now bleeding above the left eye after taking a left elbow, with a minute left in the round for a blow to the back of the head. Schaub won the round, on all judges’ scorecards, but the point deduction made it even.
Schaub came out aggressive to open the contest, trying to keep the southpaw from generating his offensive game. Filipovic was patient, but as he tried to measure one of Schaub’s strikes two minutes in, Schaub ducked under for a hard takedown. Schaub got up but “Cro Cop” remained on his back, and Schaub went into ground and pound from the top, trying only to land big right hands, eventually allowing the Croation to scramble to the feet.
The crowd clearly favored the Pride Fighting legend over the TUF 10 finalist, but it was Schaub who decisively took Round 1.
Eliot Marshall vs. Luiz Cane
Luiz Cane looked like his old self in beating down Eliot Marshall.
Cane came after Marshall from the opening bell and finished him with ground strikes at 2:15 of the first round of their light heavyweight match. When Marshall could not hit a takedown, he had no answer for the southpaw’s power strikes. Marshall did his best to cover up but Cane was relentless.
“I wanted this win so bad,” said Cane. “I trained so much, (after) I lost two fights in a row. That’s the result.”
Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani
Edson Barboza pulled out a victory over Anthony Njokuani in the final seconds, connecting on a spinning back kick to the head, grabbing a close round of their lightweight match that was fight of the night.
Both fighters received a bonus of $70,000.
Barboza scored a 29-28 decision on the cards of all three judges, but it appeared like Njokuani had a slight edge heading into the last 30 seconds. Barboza scored a takedown, but Njokuani got up as the claps for the final 10 seconds occurred. Barboza then landed the kick that sealed the fight.
Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle
Mike Pyle loves to go into his opponents’ backyards and win fights.
Pyle stuffed Ricardo Almeida’s takedowns and was aggressive to the point where he was the choice in a close decision in a battle of veteran welterweights.
Pyle, who beat England’s John Hathaway in London, won 29-28 on all three judges’ cards, although the scores were announce incorrectly after the fight. Pyle threw down Almeida, who trains out of Hamilton Township, in the first and third rounds, and although Pyle did not establish position on the ground, he kept Almeida’s lethal Brazilian jiu jitsu game in check, halting his takedowns by using the fence.
Gleison Tibau vs. Kurt Pellegrino
Gleison Tibau scored a split-decision victory over Belmar’s Kurt Pellegrino, winning 29-28 on two judges’ cards and losing by the same score on the other.
The tightly contested battle was hard to call in Round 1, but a combination and then a slam by Pellegrino gave Pellegrino the second round. Tibau stayed aggressive in the third to get the nod in the decision.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian Loveland
Joseph Benavidez took a little while to get going but finally took over in the second round, getting the necessary takedowns to control Ian Loveland and keep him at bay en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Benavidez won 30-27 on two cards and 29-28 on the other, as one judge gave Loveland the first round. Loveland’s only damage was a slight cut on the top of Benavidez’s head, which led to a small bit of blood that leaked to the former bantamweight contender’s brow.
Nick Catone vs. Constantinos Philippou
Nick Catone scored a unanimous decision victory over Constantinos Philippou, giving New Jersey its first win of the night.
Catone took down the Long Island product and used his top game to control and pound Philippou, who came in on six days’ notice when Dan Miller was moved from this fight into the pay-per-view portion of the event to fight Marquardt. Catone won 30-27 on all the judges’ cards.
Erik Koch vs. Rafael Assuncao
Erik Koch stunned Rafael Assuncao with a heavy right hand for a straight knockout at 2:21 of the first round.
Koch floored Assuncao, who never got up and was laid out for another few minutes. A stretcher was brought out, but Assuncao was finally able to leave on his own power.
Like Schaub, Koch received a $70,000 bonus for knockout of the night. Two knockout bonuses were awarded, as there were no submissions.
MMADieHards.com’s Joe Rizzo talks with Urijah Faber about his UFC 128 matchup against Eddie Wineland.
While the name Eddie Wineland may not reverberate with casual fans of the sport of MMA, purists of the sport recognize the bantamweight for a variety of reasons.
Most notably, Wineland was the first bantamweight title holder in the WEC. And while that was nearly five years ago, Wineland is again working his way toward title contention as he prepares to battle Urijah Faber in the co-main event of UFC 128 on March 19 in Newark, N.J.
Wineland recently joined hosts Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton for Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. The group broke down the significance of the Faber fight, as well as the new-found recognition that bantamweight and featherweight fighters are experiencing since the WEC was absorbed by the UFC in late 2010.
The winner of the Wineland-Faber fight might well be the next to face current bantamweight kingpin Dominick Cruz. This is something that Wineland is not taking for granted.
“It’s the fight of my life; the biggest fight of my career,” proclaimed the former title holder. “It’s for all the marbles with the possibility of a title shot. (I’m) looking forward to testing myself against Faber.”
After defeating Antonio Banuelos at WEC 20 in 2006 to claim the bantamweight strap, Wineland dropped his first defense against Chase Beebe in 2007. Despite the lengthy road back to contention, Wineland is far from upset with the situation.
“I’ve been having a good time with it. I’m doing what I love to do,” explained Wineland. “Obviously I want the belt, but if I’m not fighting for the belt, at least I’m fighting. I am fortunate to get paid well to do what I love to do. The belt is the ultimate goal and one day, sooner or later, it’s going to happen.”
For those unfamiliar with the Midwest-based fighter, Wineland has been racking up both highlights and bonuses of late. The heavy-handed, lifelong wrestler disposed of Will Campuzano at WEC 49 last June and then capped off his WEC career by knocking out Ken Stone with a vicious slam at WEC 53 in December. Both victories earned the veteran knockout of the night honors.
Wineland’s start in the sport is similar to many former wrestlers’. Upon completion of high school, Wineland’s college lacked a wrestling program, but Wineland still had a strong desire to compete.
“A buddy of mine introduced me to MMA,” Wineland recalled. “I got thrown around by guys that were 180, 190 pounds. I got a bloody nose. I had never had a bloody nose in my life, but I loved it. I trained for two months and had my first fight. Been on a tear ever since.”
That tear wasn’t without its bumps in the road. Wineland’s career actually got off to a 3-4-1 start. Since then, a tear might be the best way to describe his past 17 fights. Wineland has won 15 of them, with an astounding 12 finishes.
When asked to classify his own fighting style, Wineland wasn’t shy about his intentions.
“My hands are my strength,” he said. “I’ve got that one-hit power. People don’t realize how hard I hit until I put my hands on them. As soon as I put my hands on you, you’re going to see stars.”
With the addition of the bantamweight and featherweight classes to the UFC roster, there has been talk that the fourteenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” will feature the lighter weight classes. This is something that Wineland sees as only natural.
“They’ve had all the weight classes on there, so it only makes sense to showcase the class for everyone.”
The recognition for the lighter fighters is not something Wineland takes lightly. His fight with Faber marks the first time that bantamweights have been featured as a co-main event in the promotion.
“I’m excited to represent the smaller guys,” said Wineland. “Once the general public sees the lighter-weight fighters, they’ll forget about the heavyweights. Not to say there aren’t exciting heavyweights, but you could be in the best shape of your life and not be able to go at the pace of the bantamweights and featherweights. It’s not physically possible.”
Even with a formidable opponent in his path in the former featherweight champion Faber, Wineland will be fine Saturday, win or lose.
“I have no intentions on losing,” Wineland stated. “But if, for some reason, it does happen, I will go wherever the boss tells me to go. As long as they’re letting me fight, I’m happy.”