Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) just diffused its annual Independence Day weekend pay-per-view (PPV) firecracker (Sat., July 2, 2011) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
UFC 132 featured the first-ever main event between World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) transplants, with bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz looking to score redemption against arch enemy Urijah Faber. It took him five rounds, but he did it, relying on his stellar takedown defense and quick stand up to notch his first-ever victory inside the Octagon.
Faber actually knocked down Cruz about three times throughout the 25-minute fight, but he was never seriously injured, bouncing back as if nothing happened. "The Dominator" just continued to unload, firing piston-pumping strikes at "The California Kid" ... and the air.
And perhaps it was his "busy-ness" that was the key to his success. The fight was close. It was by no means a robbery, but a case could be made that Faber deserved a nod from at least one judge sitting ringside.
The good news is that his previous win over Cruz, as well as a solid performance in the rematch, will likely earn him a trilogy fight in the future ... if he can keep winning moving forward.
The super brawl between hard-hitting, aggressive middleweights Wanderlei Silva and Chris Leben wasn't expected to last long. Surprise! It didn't.
"The Axe Murderer" came out swinging for the fences, looking to end it early and violently. That's the way it ended, but it was the Brazilian who took an early dirt nap in "Sin City." Just 27 seconds into the fight, actually.
Leben caught him with an awkward, glancing left hook to the back of the head, which forced Silva to grab the "Oh Shit" handle behind Leben's neck for balance. "The Crippler," however, wasn't so obliging, blasting him with about four or five short uppercuts that dropped Silva to a knee.
It was all academic after that.
Leben landed about another three or four big lefts, putting Silva to sleep just seconds into the first round. Silva was so punch drunk that afterward he attempted to submit the referee after the action was stopped. Leben, meanwhile, was celebrating the biggest win of his career, jubilantly.
He's back, and Silva isn't ... perhaps ever.
Dennis Siver and Matt Wiman collided in a lightweight match up that was supposed to provide a little more clarity to a very muddled 155-pound division. The result did just the opposite, if that's possible.
In one of the worst examples of judging this side of the Atlantic this year, "Handsome" was denied an important decision victory after three hard-fought rounds, which saw him utterly dominate the German in the second frame, turning his face crimson with a brutal barrage of elbows the busted him wide open.
Siver came out for the third and final round undeterred, however, and turned in a decent five minutes of work. Wiman still controlled much of the action, but Siver somehow impressed enough with his striking to squeak out the round.
Not really sure what the judges were looking at, but it didn't look like the right fight, proving once again that leaving a result in their hands is not a very good idea. Bad decisions are turning into quite the epidemic lately, which begs the question as to when it will seriously impact the integrity of the sport ... if it hasn't already.
It was all or nothing for former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, literally, in his showdown with the upstart Ryan Bader. "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy," who had not won a fight in five years, was guaranteed a pink slip unless he registered a career-saving victory.
Against all odds, Ortiz delivered.
He landed a short punch during a close exchange in the first round that dropped Bader to the canvas. Ortiz followed it up with his patented ground and pound, but Bader angled for a leg to weather the storm. Ever the veteran, Ortiz, realizing he still had Bader hurt, sat back and sunk in a fight-ending guillotine choke.
Welcome back, Jacob.
That's a monumental win for Ortiz against a very talented opponent. Perhaps not the most talented -- he's fought Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Matt Hamill during his epic losing strek, which is now hopefully just a memory.
He's still got some gas left in the tank ... time to see for real just how much. No excuses.
Welterweights Carlos Condit and Dong Hyun Kim kicked off the PPV broadcast in a pivotal divisional showdown that had potential contender implications on the line. Condit, a former WEC champion, had strung together three straight wins after dropping his Octagon debut.
Make that four.
"The Natural Born Killer," looking to stifle the strong wrestling of the South Korean, connected with a sick flying knee in the opening frame that stopped "Stun Gun" in his tracks. He followed it up with vicious hammerfists that put Kim down and out for the count for the first time in his career.
Condit sent a message, loud and clear, that he deserves number one contender consideration. And he added an exclamation point to it just for good measure. Look out Georges and/or Nick ... Carlos is coming.
That's enough from us -- now it's your turn to discuss "Cruz vs. Faber 2" in the comments section below. Sound off, Maniacs!
For complete UFC 132 results and detailed blow-by-blow commentary of the televised main card fights click here.