For the first time in the history of the UFC a Bantamweight fight will be the main event with the champion Dominick Cruz looking to avenge his only professional defeat against the challenger Urijah Faber. Also, Chris Leben gets his wish as he is taking on Wanderlei Silva in the co-main event, and Tito Ortiz takes on up-and-coming Ryan Bader.
Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman
The first fight on the Pay Per View card is between lightweights Siver (18-7 MMA, 7-4 UFC) and Wiman (13-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC). With both fighters looking to keep this fight on the feet, expect fireworks to kick off the PPV card. Siver has won numerous kickboxing championships and I expect him to win this fight and continue to put himself in title contention by the beginning of next year.
Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Welterweights Condit (26-5 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and Kim (14-0-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) face off for a potential chance at the title. After his recent win over Nate Diaz, Kim asked for a shot at GSP for the title, but first must defeat the last WEC welterweight champion in Condit. With Kim undefeated in his professional career, and Condit winning 11 of his last 12 fights, someone’s streak is coming to an end. I see Condit winning this fight and taking another step towards his first UFC title shot.
Ryan Bader vs. Tito Ortiz
Former light-heavyweight champion Ortiz (15-8-1 MMA, 14-8-1 UFC) could potentially be fighting in his last fight in the UFC if he is unable to defeat Bader (12-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC). Ortiz continues to take on top 10 light-heavyweights in the world, but has not had any success without having a win in the past five years in the UFC. He will face a tough challenge in Bader, who is coming off his first loss of his career against current light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and is looking to get back on the winning side. Ortiz has had a great career in the UFC and is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of the promotion, but his time may come to an end as I see Bader coming up with the victory.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben
The co-main event has one of the legends of the sport as Silva (33-10-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) dominated PRIDE for years but has not been able to have as much success in the octagon. His last fight was a brutal knockout against Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson that kept him out of the octagon for almost 16 months. Back and healthy ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva thinks that a win could put him on the right track for a shot at the light-heavyweight title in the future. Standing in his way is Chris ‘The Crippler’ Leben (21-7 MMA, 11-6 UFC), coming off a devastating knockout at the hands of Brian Stann and is looking for a big victory to move back up the ladder in the light-heavyweight division. With both men taken a lot of abuse in their time in the octagon, I expect this to be more of a technical fight than a standing slugfest, like most fans are use to seeing from these men, with Leben getting his hand raised in victory in the end.
Champion Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber (for bantamweight title)
Now for the main event, a rematch four years in the making as the champ Dominick Cruz looks to avenge his only defeat against former featherweight champion Urijah Faber. When these two first met Faber was the featherweight champion and the most recognizable figure in the WEC, and the companies biggest draw as well. Cruz was a young up-and-coming fighter and didn’t like the fact that he seemed to be just coming along for the ride on the ‘Faber train.’ Cruz wasn’t even on the promotional posters for fight, so any chance he had Cruz signed his name on the face of Faber, which clearly upset Faber. When fight time finally came, Faber choked Cruz out early in the first round and after the fight told Cruz “good fight, buddy” adding fuel to the fire (Faber claims it was good sportsmanship, but said that Cruz “knew what he meant. He was right”).
Four years later these men get together for the first bantamweight main event in the UFC’s history and in Faber’s words, “He wants what I have and I want what he has.” Cruz isn’t the same young fighter he was four years ago, he has become stronger and smarter inside the cage and expects a better result than the last time they met. But Faber is also different than when he fought at featherweight, as he is faster and not facing men who are naturally bigger than he is anymore. I see this fight being a five round battle, with Faber becoming the new bantamweight champion.