a blog by La Kifo
Tonight we will see two aging greats who hate each other try and rip each others faces off.
To say that the two hate each other might be a bit much. Yet it comes with the territory in such a sport and when the two are hours away from fighting each other for the third time. Still, it makes sense that these guys do no like each other. Cruz's fighting background comes from his days as an amateur wrestler during his public school tenure. He never attended a University and never competed at a collegiate level in any sport. His start in professional fighting began in the WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) where he fought and lost to Urijah Faber, his first and final loss. Cruz went on to win his next 21 fights, beating Faber in the second installment of their fighting trilogy.
Faber on the other side of things, attended and graduated from the University of California at Davis where he competed in wrestling. Faber finished his collegiate wrestling career as the greatest his school had ever seen. He entered the life of professional MMA when he defeated Jay Valencia in the Gladiator Challenge promotion. Faber would go on to have an illustrious MMA career never losing a non-championship bout.
Urijah sits on a record of 33-8, while Cruz's records shows 21-1. If you were to break down both styles of fighting to a very basic level, you would be somewhat confused. Cruz is a versatile fighter who wins majority of his fights by decision (13). He scores a lot of points with his non-conventional stance, quickness, and defense. Fighters find it very hard to successfully land strikes on Cruz because of his quickness and unpredictability. Looking at some stats on Cruz, you'll find his takedown defense at 84% and his strike defense at 76%. Both of which are impressively high, especially his strike defense. Being able to avoid that high percentage of strikes thrown is something not seen very often.
Looking at Faber, he is a wrestler. Stemming from his background in collegiate wrestler, he has submitted the majority of his opponents winning 19 fights by submission. He boasts very quick hands, having the ability to set up combinations with ease. A aspect that Faber thrives at, his versatility. Add 7 knockouts to his resume along with the 19 submissions and throw in 6 wins by decision. Something that most fighters have to watch out for is his ability to take fighters down to the mat.
There are a lot of reasons that make this event very intriguing. A large one for myself is the match up between these fighters. Fabers attacking ability and quickness against Cruz's defensive tactics and quickness. This event is important for both fighters, as most main event fights should be, but even more so considering Faber is in the twilight years of his career and Cruz is not to far removed from a brutal ACL injury that sidelined him for 4 years. It's not as if this is Cruz's first fight back, he regained his Bantamweight Championship from Faber's teammate TJ Dillishaw at UFC Fight Night on January 17, in no other place than the greatest city in the world Boston.
I got my money on Cruz tonight. I just think he has the advantage when it comes to fighting style and overall ability. I believe there was once a point when Faber was physically/technically stronger than Cruz, but that time has passed and Faber is almost 40. I cannot see Faber extending his long run of dominance in the UFC anymore. Faber will have trouble trying to take Cruz to the ground, as well as landing significant strikes. If I had internet money, I would put it on Cruz to win by decision, but I don't, I only got janitor money and that janitor money needs to go a couple other places, like paying for the fight...
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