Dominick Cruz may not be fighting any time soon, but that doesn’t mean he can’t offer some expert analysis on a fight in his own division. The current UFC 135lb king took some time away from rehabbing his knee to predict the bantamweight matchup at UFC 157 between Uriah Faber and Ivan Menjivar.
“I like Faber in that fight,” Cruz said recently as a guest on Darce Side Radio. “The reason I say that is because Menjivar, his style kind of plays right into the style of Faber’s.”
The cerebral fighter, now a featured analyst on FUEL TV during pre and post-fight shows, gave his reasoning for picking Faber.
“I think Faber is confident in the fact that he can take down Menjivar, and Menjivar will hold himself down by holding Faber in the guard,” Cruz explained. “And then Faber can use his ground and pound.”
Menjivar, also known as “The Pride of El Salvador” boasts a 4-1 record in the UFC since returning to the promotion after a six year layoff. Two of those wins earned him submission of the night honors. The belly down arm bar submission victory over Azamat Gashimov at UFC 154, displayed beautiful technique, and showed that the BJJ brown belt’s ground game must be respected.
This would suggest Faber could be in danger if he chooses to hang out in Menjivars guard, but when you look at the record of “The California Kid” he has never been submitted, and when he fights he usually displays good wrestling and top control on the ground. Cruz gave his thoughts on what he thinks Faber will be looking to do.
“I think Faber is looking for the take down. He wants to get into the guard of Menjivar. I see Menjivar not using his guard effectively to get up like he should.”
Cruz suggested that momentum could swing for Menjivar, if it doesn’t end up on the ground.
“I think he could give Faber a lot of trouble if he stays standing on his feet and stuffs his takedowns.”
According to UFC.com Menjivar’s take down defense is only 43%. Conversely, Faber’s take down success rate is only 29%. That being said, those numbers don’t suggest that the fight won’t make it to the ground at some point. When it does get there, and if Faber ends up in Menjivar’s guard, Cruz stated that it will be as familiar a strategy for Faber as it would for any of his teammates.
“That’s cliché Team Alpha Male,” Cruz said. “They love guys that use their jiu jitsu to look for submissions instead of using their Jiu Jitsu to get back up to their feet, because the Alpha Male guys love to sit in the guard and pound guys out from there,” Cruz further elaborated with an example. “It’s exactly what Danny Castillo just did in his last fight. He looked real good doing it,” Cruz said, complementing Castillo’s recent win over Paul Sass.
“The whole crew from that camp love Jiu Jitsu style matchups, because that’s how they win their fights. They do a real good job in that guard, and doing that ground and pound, landing the elbow. So that’s how I see this fight playing out.”
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