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UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber was a mixed martial arts event held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship on July 2, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event of UFC 132 featured a bantamweight title fight with Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz defending his 135 pound strap against the only man to ever have defeated him, “The California Kid” Urijah Faber. When the pair first met in 2007 in the WEC, Cruz was only 21 years old and lost via submission in the first round to Faber. Since then Cruz evolved into one of the pound for pound best fighters in all of MMA and the bantamweight champion of the WEC and UFC. The rematch saw the fighters come into the bout with bad blood leading up to the July 2nd event. Cruz entered the fight with a 7-1 record in the WEC and no UFC bouts yet. Faber entered the bout 10-3 in his prior WEC and UFC bouts and as former featherweight champion of the WEC, the division in which the pair’s first meeting took place.
Cruz came forward and landed with his first punch. The shorter Faber reached forward with an overhand right, clinched up with the elusive Cruz, and desperately worked to sling Cruz to the ground. Cruz displayed excellent takedown defense despite having his back taken standing, and Faber landed a nice punch as they separated from the sequence. Cruz began to get into a rhythm with his unorthodox style, darting in and out and side to side, but a moment later it was Faber who landed a punch that briefly dropped Cruz to the ground. Cruz immediately jumped up and continued his attack. Faber held his own in the exchanges but ate a big uppercut. Cruz landed a body shot and the Faber swung with mean intentions with his right hand. Urijah cut off the cage and darted forward into the clinch. Cruz broke free and flicked a kick at Faber’s head. Cruz flew forward and Faber countered, then took Cruz to the ground right as the horn sounded for the end of an intense and very competitive first round.
Faber landed a right hand early in the second, dropped for a double leg takedown but found nothing. Cruz with a nice two-punch combination and a nice left hook a moment later. Faber had a hard time getting in range though did connect with a right hand after a few misses. Cruz seemed to have an easier time eluding Faber’s attacks in the second round and chipped away with low kicks, jabs, and uppercuts that Faber had a hard time blocking. Faber scored with a good right hand with a minute left in the round and ran after Cruz who stumbled momentarily to the ground. Cruz surprised with his first takedown attempt of the fight, planting Faber on his back though unsuccessful in holding him down for more than a few seconds.
Faber landed a low kick to start round three but ate a punch to the face for his effort. Cruz’s style made it so difficult for Faber to know what was coming that it appeared he was getting out-pointed by the champion. Cruz connected on a big uppercut and a low-power head kick, with Faber having a hard time getting in close. Faber finally got his arms around Cruz with two minutes left in the round, took him to the ground but Cruz immediately reversed into top position. Faber scrambled free and landed as they stood. Cruz’s effectiveness on the feet was on display over the next minute, then in a likely attempt to steal the round he shot for a takedown. Faber defended and the round ended in the clinch.
Cruz landed a big right hand early in the fourth, perhaps his best punch of the fight to that point. Faber rocked Cruz and showed he still had the ability to land big shots. Cruz fell down but was up a second later looking no worse for the wear, and continued his attack. Faber stuffed a takedown attempt and with such a high pace the question of which fighter had the better endurance became important. Cruz looked for a late takedown again unsuccessfully and the fight headed to the fifth round.
Cruz landed a flying knee to start the fifth, looking to land cleanly. Faber held his ground, was taken down by Cruz, popped up to his feet and worked his way out of a precarious position with Cruz on his back. Faber landed a knee and looked for a standing guillotine. Cruz escaped, the fighters hit the ground, and were back up a moment later. In a sign of both fighters tiring, Cruz pressed Faber against the cage and seemed content to pause there for a moment with his weight on his opponent. Faber desperately moved forward looking for a finish in the final minute, but Cruz was too quick as he put Faber on the mat twice in a row. Both fighters raised their arms in victory at the bell as they headed to their respective corners and waited for the official decision.
The judges scored the bout 50-45, 49-46, and 48-47 for the winner by unanimous decision, Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz.