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UFC 132: The Aftermath

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UFC 132 brought us one of the most entertaining cards this year.  By the numbers we witnessed 4 vicious KO stoppages, 1 future altering submission, and several decisions that could have been fight of the night on any other card. Much props need to go to Joe Silva’s match making ability to bring us fireworks this Canada Day / Independence Day weekend and several reasons for fans to celebrate for what’s coming up next for the fighters on the card.

Dominick Cruz defeats Urijah Faber Decision (Unanimous)

Earning fight of the night honors, both fighters showed why they belong as the top 2 bantamweight of the division.  But the biggest issue that the UFC will need to deal with is, what’s next?  It’s a good issue to have since they have lots of options.
How about a rubber match?  It’s an idea that Urijah would love, as winning the most recent match typically holds more clout than “I beat you once 4 years ago when you were new to training full time and out of your prime.”  In many eyes the decision was close (unless you are the judge who scored the 50-45 for the Dominator) but the right fighter still took home the belt.  This might not warrant an immediate rematch.  Plus I’m getting a bit sick of people asking Dominick why he doesn’t like Faber.  I’m sure he is too.

There are tons of killers in the bantam division but no clear-cut number 3 contender who is as well known as Faber or Cruz.  One could make an argument for speedy new star Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson to get a title shot.  He has a 4 fight win streak going with the best names defeated including Miguel Torres, Kid Yamamoto and Damacio Page.  Johnson’s last lost was a decision against Brad Pickett who was only one fight away from a title shot, but was stuffed by Scott Jorgenson.   Injury permitting with I’d love to see a rematch between Johnson and Pickett with title implications.

Chris Leben defeats Wanderlei Silva KO (Punches) round 1 0:27

The essence of this fight felt like this: “I punched my hero in the face because I want to fight like him.” It’s an oxymoron of a complement.  It was almost like Leben was saying thank you for inspiring me, Axe Murderer. Leben’s comeback after being KO’d viciously himself, gives him a date with another top ten contender. I would love to see him fight the likes of a Demian Maia or Vitor Belfort (if he can get by Sexyama at ufc 133). As for Wanderlei…  Should he really be getting the retirement buzz?  Well… Maybe…  He’s been 2 – 6 since getting hit up side the head with Crocop’s signature left high kick (that’s the cemetery side). 4 of the losses come by way of knockout.  He’s won his world titles, and has had many memorable fights that most fighters dream about.  He has a successful MMA gym, and like many Legends from our sport, he will surely have other opportunities in endorsements and movies, so financially, he should be ok.  Only think really that would be keeping him in would be the call of competition that we’ve heard all about from Randy and Chuck.  His main obstacle for him returning to the octagon is Dana White.  He has already stated during the UFC 132 post fight conference that it’s “probably the end of the road for Wanderlei.”  It looks like Wandy might be lead down the same path that the Iceman had to walk down last year.

Tito Ortiz defeats Ryan Bader Submission (Guillotine Choke) round 1 1:56 Sub of the night.

I am one of those die-hard Tito Ortiz fans that he talks about in his interviews and twitter posts. Yes, we are out there. He’s not making us up.  No matter what, I will never bet against him, even at last night’s betting line at +500.  This win was probably my proudest moment of the night. I’m not usually the type to get up in the bar and parade around when my team or guy wins and get in all the hater’s faces, but I was compelled to last night as my whole table was talking about this fight being Tito’s last. My favorite post fight shot during the broadcast was Chuck Liddell’s look of disappointment that he will need to still deal with Tito as part of the UFC.      During the post fight interviews, Tito gave all the credit to his new coaches.  Having BJ Penn’s old boxing coach Jason Parillo made a huge difference in his movement and his hands and also his mental state.  Still going through much drama in his personal life, Tito stated that the coaching staff kept him in a positive frame of mind and gave him a new air of confidence.

So what’s next for Tito?There are a lot of intriguing fights in a stacked division.  Rich Franklin came to mind as he is on a similar road to revamping his MMA career.  Also vengeance is on the platter where a great second fight against Forrest Griffin or Rashad Evans could be justified as both fights could have gone Tito’s way.

Oh… and Ryan Bader…From being on a 12 fight win streak to dropping 2 in a row.  It seems to be 3 losses in a row is the UFC magic number for issuing walking papers.  He’s now in a tough must win situation for his next fight.  He might even end up on the Facebook fights if they feed him an up and comer.  I do hope they give him a worthy opponent for his next one to give him a chance to redeem himself.  The likes of Brandon Vera, Shogun, Matyushenko, or any other fighters that Jon Jones brutalized come to mind.

The rest… Condit wins first round by flying knee and punches against Dong Hyun Kim in the first round. The “Stun Gun” got STUNNED! There. I said it. Carlos Condit deserves a title shot because he’s the only guy to STUN the STUN GUN!  Oops. I did it again. Matt Wiman’s second round ground and pound was masterful, and his strategy was smart by using the threat of takedowns from holding back Denis Siver’s signature spinning back kicks to only one thrown, and missed, but a slow first round start and Siver’s raw power kept Matt from winning this one.  Love to see Siver fight another upper echelon lightweight, especially a striker like Pettis or a bomber like Melvin Guillard.

Melvin also proves time and time again he deserves the nickname “the Young Assassin” with his one punch KO of Shane Roller.5

Rafael dos Anjos has his own one punch KO against once highly touted lightweight contender George Sotiropoulos.  George is now also in the must win situation in dropping his last 2 fights.

Brian Bowles is Boss with winning a decision with a broken hand in the third round against a tough opponent like Mizugaki and proves he’s still in the bantamweight mix.

Aaron Simpson wins against Brad Tavares in classic wrestler fashion: Decision by pining his opponent on the fence and ground via wet blanket technique.

Anthony Njokuani puts on a Muay Thai clinic with a unanimous Decision win against Andre Winner.  Andre shows he has a granite chin as he took a flurry of punches knees and elbows from Njokuani in the first round was still standing.

Jeff Hougland started the night with a unanimous decision over Donny Walker through a gritty back and forth ground war.  Both showed heart and I’d love to see them both fight again.

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