It was a close one, but Dominick Cruz did enough in the judge’s eyes to keep Urijah Faber from taking his belt after five rounds of action in the bantamweight division.
“All you fans out there, thank you so much for your support, and thank you so much if you didn’t because you’re helping me get stronger,” said Cruz after the fight.
“Congratulations to Dominick,” Faber said. “He won. It wasn’t enough of an output on my side to make it a decision. I didn’t finish him. So, I felt like it could have gone either way. I thought I won the fight. But again, you can’t really judge when it comes to that.”
It was a back-and-forth affair from the start, with both men frequently finding moments of success throughout the bout. While Dominick Cruz flitted in and out at varying angles with varying strikes, Faber loaded up on fast, heavy shots and cut angles to get inside and work from the clinch. Both men hit takedowns, both men landed clean — though Faber did the most damage, dropping Cruz on more than one occasion — and both men fought hard, round for round.
“I knew it was going to be a tough fight, you never really know until you get in there,” said Faber. “I thought I landed the bigger punches, I had him rocked a couple times.”
“I’ve got to say Urjiah was, that dude hits hard, his hands were very fast,” Cruz admitted. “His hands were very good.”
Cruz landed with more frequency, Faber with more effectiveness and it could very well have been the champion’s last round salvo which sealed him the fight in the judge’s eyes. Cruz turned it on after enduring a strong round for Faber in the fourth and repeatedly hit takedowns in between landing smooth strikes — he opened the round with a flying knee.
The crowd booed the official decision, but whether you agree with the judges’ call or not, that was a fight to behold. Technical and gritty, Cruz and Faber both put on performances to be proud of and it’s likely that few would argue if Joe Rogan’s call for a rematch between the two was answered.
“That’d be great,” Faber said of a third go with Cruz. “Let’s do it.”
With the win, Cruz improves to 18-1, avenges his only loss and makes his third consecutive title defense.
Faber falls to 25-5 in defeat and makes it 0-3 in recent title fights.