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What’s Next for “the California Kid”?

What’s Next for “the California Kid”?

Number two-ranked bantamweight Uriah “the California Kid” Faber looked solid in his domination of bantamweight powerhouse Michael “Mayday” MacDonald at UFC on Fox 9. Faber’s striking looked significantly better in this fight as he dominated the striking exchanges with some great counter-punches that managed to stun MacDonald.

Faber controlled the first round using his striking to set up for takedowns to keep MacDonald pinned to the mat. MacDonald tried to avoid the top pressure from Faber by trapping Faber’s left arm from guard (potentially setting up for a triangle choke or an omoplata), but Faber utilized his strength and athleticism to lift MacDonald up and slam him back on the mat. Faber closed out the rest of the round outpunching MacDonald in their exchanges.

In the second round Faber countered a MacDonald right hook with a perfectly timed overhand right that stunned Mayday. Faber chased the fleeing MacDonald across the cage and dropped him to the mat with another right hand. As MacDonald set up for a single leg to recover, Faber locked up a patented Team Alpha Male Guillotine Choke that forced the tap at 3:22 of the second round.

This victory over MacDonald marked Faber’s fourth consecutive victory since his unanimous decision loss to Renan Barao at UFC 149. Faber has scored wins over top Bantamweights in Ivan Menjivar, Iuri Alcantara and Scott Jorgenson (who made his transition to Flyweight after his loss to Faber). Given the quality of opponents that Faber has defeated since his loss to Barao, its pretty obvious that he deserves the next crack at the UFC Bantamweight title.

Both UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz and Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao are scheduled to unify the titles at UFC 169, so it would only make sense for Faber to get the next shot at the belt. Faber is currently 1-1 with Cruz, with heir first fight ending with a Guillotine Choke victory for Faber at WEC 26. Their last fight at UFC 139 was extremely close, but Cruz walked away the unanimous decision victory. After coaching Season 15 of TUF opposite Dominick Cruz, Faber was slated to take on Cruz for the third time, but an ACL tear forced Cruz off of the card. There is definitely some unfinished business between Cruz and Faber so a rubber match between the two would provide for an amazing fight.

With Dominick Cruz out with his ACL injury, Uriah Faber faced the Brazilian phenom Renan Barao for the Interim UFC Bantamweight title at UFC 149. Barao dominated the fight utilizing a similar game plan to his Nova Uniao teammate Jose Aldo, as Barao peppered Faber with brutal kicks and counter punches that stifled Faber’s offense. The fight between Faber and Barao may not have been competitive, but I’m sure Faber is hungry for revenge. With Faber’s increased striking he may be able to contend with the Nova Uniao standout should he win his next fight against Cruz.

I think that Faber’s performance against MacDonald was enough to silence some of the critics that called for his retirement. He put all of his skills on display and really looked like an improved fighter. Faber seems motivated to add a UFC title to his resume and I cant wait to see his face off with Barao or Cruz next.

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