UFC 132: What we learned
UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber started off slow, plodding, and uneventful. By the time we got to the UFC bantamweight championship main event, it was already in the books as one of the year's best mixed martial arts events.
Of course, I was lucky enough to encounter the luxurious double-edged sword that weekend. On one hand, I was in beautiful Miami, Florida. On the flip side, I had a family friend dinner banquet thing I was attending--meaning I missed the live UFC 132 main card. I was worse than Lindsay Lohan during rehab for the three hours of UFC withdrawal I went through.
Thankfully, for the sake of my mental health, I was able to order the replay hours after the show ended. Don't call it a comeback, but this show turned the corner faster than any other I've seen.
What we learned at UFC 132
Don't judge a fight card by its prelims: Sometimes prelims are well, prelims--for a reason. UFC debutants Jeff Houghland and Donny Walker put on a hard fought bantamweight bout, but the crowd was still on its hands.
Lightweight unorthodox striker Anthony Njokuani lit up Andre Winner like a Christmas tree in the first round. Somehow, Winner survived and the fight slowed down considerably after that. That's not a knock on both fighters. Winner was rocked most of the fight and showed his fighting spirit. Njokuani seemed tired after a striking clinic, combined with the shock of Winner still walking, talking, breathing, and fighting after round one.
Brad Tavares didn't want to get taken down by the deceivingly older middleweight prospect Aaron Simpson. Simpson wanted to take him down. Most of this fight saw both fighters pressed up against the cage. Sucks to be Tavares, who followed a star-making performance against Phil Baroni with a snoozer. Styles make fights and these two fighters' styles made for an OK bout that didn't do much for the crowd.
Former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles (with a cereal bowl haircut) beat Takeya Mizugaki by unanimous decision, in a fight that disappointed many longtime WEC fans. Both fighters usually put on much more exciting fights, but this one went to the judges. That's four straight decisions on the Facebook prelim card. This card looked doomed until...
The Spike TV prelims began.
Two knockouts later and this card woke the crowd up. Surely, the combatants on the main PPV card couldn't keep this up? Wrong.
On the PPV broadcast, we got flying knees, an undefeated streak broken, a shocking upset, an end of an era, and an extremely competitive main event between two bitter rivals. Like I said, dont judge a fight card by its prelims.
Carlos Condit deserves a UFC welterweight title shot: Four straight wins with the last three fights ending by KO/TKO. "The Natural Born Killer" has brought excitement to the stagnant welterweight division that doesn't present too many clear cut new contenders, with the exception of Jake Ellenberger and Nick Diaz. Jake Shields and Jon Fitch have had their title shots and quite frankly, haven't excited UFC fans in their last few outings. Ellenberger isn't ready yet, but could be next in line with a win over Shields in Sept.
That leaves Mr. Condit, who handed Dong Hyun Kim his first loss in MMA with a brutal flying knee. Condit is the last WEC welterweight champion and has gone 11-1 since July 28, 2006. His only loss since then was a split decision to Martin Kampmann. He hasn't be finished since June 3, 2006 either. With a finish-first style that's aesthetically-pleasing to fans and wins over current/former contenders Kim, Ellenberger, and Dan Hardy, it won't be surprising to see Condit get a title shot by early-2012.