UFC 132 staff picks

UFC 132: CRUZ vs. FABER takes place Saturday, July 2, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., and features a main event with bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz (17-1) defending his title against the only man ever to best him, former WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber (25-4).

The event also features UFC legend and pioneer, former light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz (16-8-1) fighting to keep his job against top-10 ranked Ryan Bader (12-1), who is coming off the first loss of his career to light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.

Also, Pride legend Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1, 1 NC) takes on heavy-handed brawler Chris Leben (21-7) in a bout that almost certainly will be vying for “Fight of the Night”.

The highly prestigious ( staff has come together once again to offer their professional opinions, expert analysis and best guesses on who will emerge victorious in the following UFC 132 fights.

Brian Bowles (+275) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (-375)

RICHARD MANN: Bowles showed very little rust in his return bout. His striking game should give Mizugaki trouble. The Japanese fighter is good at everything, but not really great at any one thing. Bowles should have a power and technique advantage on the feet that will carry him to victory. Bowles by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Brian Bowles.

JACK BRATCHER: We know MMA math never works, but it is sometimes fun to discuss. Mizugaki lost a unanimous decision to Mizugaki in April 2009. In Aug. 2009, Bowles knocked Mizugaki out in the first round to earn the WEC bantamweight title, which he lost in his next bout to Dominick Cruz. Cruz, who is still champ, remains Bowles’ only loss. Mizugaki’s Zuffa career has been literally up and down; lose one, win one. Bowles has NEVER been to a decision and has some heavy hands and as a brown belt in BJJ a very respectable ground game. In fact, he has twice as many wins by submission as knockout. I think Mizugaki tries to stand and bang with him and the Georgia boy puts him out. Bowles via TKO.

JOSH CROSS: Going into this fight I think that Bowles has the advantage wherever this fight goes. I don’t think Bowles will be able to finish Mizugaki with his striking, but once Bowles takes the fight to the ground I think he will be able to get the submission fairly easily. Pick: Bowles via Submission.

KELVIN HUNT: Bowles via submission.

George Sotiropoulos (-240) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (+190)

RICHARD MANN: Dos Anjos is not the easiest guy to takedown, and he will have an advantage on the feet. Even if the fight goes to the ground, he should be able to survive. I am going with Dos Anjos due to his striking game, but I will not be surprised if Sotiropoulos ends up on top and takes a decision. Dos Anjos by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: George Sotiropoulos.

JACK BRATCHER: Fun grappling fight between two BJJ black belts. Neither fighter is great on the feet but Sotiropoulos has been noticeably improving in the stand up. Both only have one win via (T)KO, but I think this may be a good next fight for Sotiropoulos to  add one more TKO to his resume. Sotiropoulos via TKO.

JOSH CROSS: I don’t see either fighter being able to finish the other. I do think that Sotiropoulos will be able to grind out the decision pretty decisively though. Pick: Sotiropoulos via Decision.

KELVIN HUNT: I’m looking forward to this fight more than any other fight. I’m a big fan of dos Anjos…he’s better on the feet and both are very good on the ground. Dos Anjos is probably the slightly better wrestler so I’m going with him via split decision.

Melvin Guillard (-300) vs. Shane Roller (+220)

RICHARD MANN: Despite having a reputation as a dangerous striker, Guillard mostly wins fights when he is able to out-wrestle his opponents. When he does not have that advantage, he struggles. Roller should be able to handle his wrestling game. If he can avoid big shots from Guillard, he should be able to control the fight and score a submission. Sure Guillard has improved, but less than three years ago, he was absolutely worked over on he ground by Rich Clementi. Roller by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Melvin Guillard.

JACK BRATCHER: Mr. Roller will be looking to submit Mr. Guillard and his biggest chance will be to get the fight to the ground. Guillard seems to have matured as a fighter and I think is really coming into his own This is his time to shine. Melvin is a very entertaining fighter to watch and with 16 of his 27 wins coming by knockout if Roller tries to stand and bang it out, he will go down. I like what Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn are doing with him and I got him winning this fight via (T)KO.

JOSH CROSS: I think that Roller has the best chance to win this fight if he can take Guillard to the ground. I don’t see that happening though as Guillard’s takedown defense has improved. Roller has had issues with good strikers in the past and I think that he is going to have issues again here with Guillard. Pick: Guillard via TKO.

KELVIN HUNT: Guillard via Dragon Punch

Dennis Siver (-120) vs. Matt Wiman (-110)

RICHARD MANN: Before defeating George Sotiropoulos there were not a lot of people talking about Siver. He is a powerful striker, who can score with his spinning back kick. However, Wiman should have the better overall game. Look for Wiman to have an advantage on the ground and in the clinch. Wiman by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Dennis Siver.

JACK BRATCHER: Dennis Siver is 8-4 in his UFC career. Some people don’t realize he has been fighting for the UFC since 2007. Matt Wiman fought his first UFC bout about a year prior to Siver. He is 7-3 in his UFC career. Both guys have won their last three bouts. Coincidentally, both Wiman and Siver won two of those fights by decision and one by submission. Siver’s striking has looked really good and will have the advantage there. He actually has more wins by submission, almost twice as many. You can never underestimate Wiman though and is extremely capable. His last fight was a decision over Cole Miller. Siver’s last win was a decision over George Sotiropoulos. I point all this out to show how evenly these guys are matched up but I’m leaning toward Siver via decision.

JOSH CROSS: Both of these fighters looked good in their last fight. I think that Wiman’s best chance to win this fight is by taking Siver to the ground, but I don’t think he will be able to do that, as Siver’s takedown defense was impressive against Sotiropoulous. Wiman is definitely dangerous on his feet, but he can get wild some times and I think that is where Siver will make his move. I think Siver will throw some good kicks in until Wiman leaves an opening and that is when Siver will go in for the finish. Pick: Siver via TKO.

KELVIN HUNT: Tough fight to call…but Siver’s confidence has to be sky high right now. If he can keep it on the feet and not fade late in the fight…he will win the decision.

Carlos Condit (-105) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (-125)

RICHARD MANN: I think a lot of people will pick Condit, because he is he more accomplished fighter. However, he has always had a big hole in his game: he can’t stop takedowns. Kim has shown that he can control a fight with wrestling and top position. He should be able to do that here. Condit still has a chance in the late rounds, because Kim has heavyweight-level cardio. Kim by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Carlos Condit.

JACK BRATCHER: Dong Hyun Kim remains undefeated in his UFC and pro career. He has won all six of his UFC bouts, even though because Karo Parisyan tested positive for banned substances at UFC 94, that fight was overturned to a “no contest”. Kim has beat some tough guys in the UFC, but truth be told, he has not faced someone of Condit’s caliber yet. Out of 26 wins, Condit has had ONE fight go to a decision… one. Condit has won 12 fights via (T)KO and 13 via submission. The majority of Kim’s fights have been won by decision, seven in total, plus six by knockout, and one by submission. Kim will not out-strike Condit. He also will not submit Condit. His best hope is to grind out some type of ugly victory. I don’t see that happening. Mr. Condit should be able to pick Kim apart on the feet. Kim may take the fight to the ground, but that would be pretty dangerous for him. Kim’s going to be hard to submit and he is tough on the feet, so I’m not sure if Condit can finish Kim here but he should pick up the win regardless. Condit via decision.

JOSH CROSS: I think that the length of this fight will be a major factor in its outcome. Condit has great cardio and has a history of starting off some of his fights slow only to rally and pull out the win later in the fight when his opponent became tired. Kim on the other hand is somewhat different in that he starts his fights strong but tends to tire in later rounds. I think the best chance for Kim is to finish this fight quickly before he gets tired. The thing is that I don’t see Kim finishing this fight in time. Pick: Condit via Decision.

KELVIN HUNT: Very tough matchup for Condit stylistically…he’ll have the advantage on the feet but probably can’t stop all of Kim’s takedowns. The question is if Condit will play the guard game(his is very good) or will he try to get back to his feet. Kim tends to fade late in fights and Condit can fight for days. I think Condit wins via late TKO.

Tito Ortiz (+350) vs. Ryan Bader (-500)

RICHARD MANN: If Ortiz could earn a spot on “Dancing with the Stars,” he probably would stop fighting. However, his media savvy has always been more overrated than his wrestling. Bader should be able to stop takedowns and win this one on the feet. Afterall, in his last fight, Ortiz had trouble with the striking of Matt Hamill. Bader by knockout.

BRIAN FURBY: Tito Ortiz.

JACK BRATCHER: Poor Tito. He said he was contacted by the FBI after the nude photo of him was posted online that somebody got off his phone he had left in a public bathroom by accident. He said it was a photo he had taken for Jenna. He begged to keep his job after losing his last fight to Matt Hamill in October of last year.Tito’s biggest defense is he has been “competitive”, is not getting knocked out or submitted, he’s not slurring his words and he’s not getting dominated and he says people still want to see him fight and he makes the UFC money. But the fact remains, he hasn’t won a fight since he beat Ken Shamrock during the Bush administration (2006). Ryan Bader looked horrendous against Jon Jones in his last fight. But then again, who doesn’t, right? Let me make this as clear as possible. Tito does not stand a chance against Ryan Bader, none, zip, zero, zilch, nada, nothing, won’t, can’t and will not happen. Tito was a great fighter in his day. But he’s been fighting professionally since UFC 13 in 1997. He’s only had one fight outside the UFC in all that time (WCNHBC in Los Angeles in 1998). It’s time for Tito to move on. Maybe he could fight in Strikeforce. He says he still wants to fight; let him move over there and see what he can do. If he puts together some nice wins, they can bring him back possibly but this will be his final UFC fight and Ryan Bader will beat him, likely by decision. Because of Tito’s style he is hard to finish so I doubt Bader can finish him, but he should be able to dominate the fight with better stand-up and wrestling and take home the victory.

JOSH CROSS: The stats of both Ortiz and Bader look almost identical except for one thing and that is that Bader is about eight years younger than the Huntington Beach Bad Boy. Ortiz just isn’t in the prime of his career anymore, and while he hasn’t won a fight in the last six years, he has fought some tough guys and five of those six fights did go to decision. Ortiz is tough and I don’t see Bader being able to finish him in this fight. I do think that Bader will dominate the fight and take the decision. Pick: Bader via Decision.

KELVIN HUNT: -I think Ortiz has a shot to win this fight. I don’t think Bader has the power to knock Ortiz out and I think Ortiz is actually better on the feet when it comes to who is technically better. I’m not sure that Ortiz can stop Bader from taking him down though…but if Ortiz is able to take Bader down…Bader would be in some serious trouble…Ortiz’s downfall has been his cardio in his past few fights though…and injuries/surgeries have just robbed him of the ability to train to get his cardio back up to I’m have to go with Bader via decision.

Wanderlei Silva (-180) vs. Chris Leben (+150)

RICHARD MANN: This is an interesting fight to pick. Silva is the better striker. However, Leben has the ability to come forward like a zombie and land big shots. On top of that, it appears as if Silva’s once solid chin is leaving him. Leben could easily take this fight if he comes out looking to wrestling, but I doubt he will do that due to his reputation as a brawler. If it stays on the feet, Silva should be able to land cleaner strikes and avoid the deathblow. Silva by decision.

BRIAN FURBY: Wanderlei Silva.

JACK BRATCHER: What a match-up. This is such a crazy match-up, just hearing these two names in the same sentence and knowing they are going to fight has excited a lot of fans. You’ve got two guys who love to stand in the pocket and slug it out until somebody drops. So who will drop first? Silva proved with his unanimous decision win over Michael Bisping last year he is competitive in and probably more physically suited for the UFC middleweight division. Leben admitted Silva is likely faster than him. I agree with that and I also believe he moves better and is technically superior to Leben. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point Leben tried to shoot in on Silva. Silva should have little trouble picking Mr. Leben apart and finishing him via TKO in round one or two.

JOSH CROSS: This should be a really fun fight to watch as I think that while both fighters will start off playing it safe, they will ultimately end up brawling like they are both known for. It will be interesting to see how Silva looks following his knee surgery and subsequent 16-month absence from the cage, but I think he will look just fine. I favor Silva in a brawl with Leben and I think that the two start swinging Leben will get caught and go down. Pick: Silva via TKO.

KELVIN HUNT: As I wrote in the preview…I don’t think this will be the slugfest everyone thinks it will become. I’m sure there will be moments of fireworks, but I think Silva will show patience and a controlled aggression(even some takedowns) to win a unanimous decision.

Dominick Cruz (-160) vs. Urijah Faber (+130)

RICHARD MANN: I have never been impressed with Cruz’s stand up game. I think he pointlessly moves around and lands powerless strikes that have no effect. It is odd that people ignore the fact that it really was his wrestling that carried him to victories over Scott Jorgensen and Joseph Benavidez. When he strikes with Faber, he will be as ineffective as before. When he tries to wrestle with Faber, he might get some takedowns. However, Faber will be able to create scrambles and catch Cruz in a submission. Faber by submission.

BRIAN FURBY: Dominick Cruz.

JACK BRATCHER: Urijah Faber is 32-years-old. Dominick Cruz is 25. It’s been over four years since Faber submitted Cruz in what was remains his only loss. Four years is an eternity in this sport. Since then, Cruz has made vast improvements under the guidance of Team Lloyd Irvin. Cruz already bested Faber 2.0, Joseph Benavidez, not once, but twice, in the past couple years. In addition to the two wins over Benavidez, Cruz has taken out Ian McCall, Brian Bowles, Scott Jorgensen, Ivan Lopez, Kenneth Aimes and Charlie Valencia since his fight with Faber. Cruz’s footwork is second to none. He’s unpredictable, fast and will pick Faber apart on the feet. Faber’s best hope is to get the fight to the ground and submit Cruz. It’s possible he could catch Cruz with something big or time a good takedown and slap on a submission — anything’s possible, but I believe the odds favor Cruz in this fight and he will win it via unanimous decision. It is important to note Faber’s accomplishments and what he’s meant to the sport. If the UFC would have had featherweight and bantamweight divisions since the beginning, Faber might be the most famous fighter that ever lived. Think about this for a moment: Faber has had 29 pro fights — 20 of those have been title fights. I’m not sure anyone in the sport has had more championship bouts than Faber. He’s always dangerous, he’s creative, he’s a great athlete and has great conditioning. So it’s important not to underestimate Faber. But Cruz should take this.

JOSH CROSS: It has been more than four years since these two faced each other, which resulted in Faber handing Cruz his only loss to date. Since then both fighters have evolved and improved, and that’s why I don’t see this second meeting ending as quickly as the first. I think Cruz will outwork Faber on the feet, but Faber is tough as seen in the Aldo fight so I don’t see Cruz finishing the California Kid. I think Faber has the advantage on the ground, but Cruz has learned from his mistake in their last encounter and will play it much safer if the fight goes to the ground. I don’t see either fighter finishing the other, and while Cruz is favored over Faber, I think Faber will be able to take the fight to the ground and grind out the decision win. Pick: Faber via Decision.

KELVIN HUNT: I think Cruz has improved much more than Faber since their last fight…you can take that as Cruz was really young back then or Faber was just really good then…and is still good now…Cruz was able to take Faber down in the first fight and that will be no different on Saturday if Cruz decides to go that route. I think Cruz can out point Faber on the feet and just his movement is makes him difficult to hit. Faber is going to have to create scramble opportunities in this fight because that’s the area he excels at…and in those transitions..he’ll need to gain advantageous positions…if not…he’ll lose via decision…and that’s probably what will happen. Cruz via UD.

NOTE: All odds provided by

Leave a Comment