Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Bloody Elbow presents their UFC 157 PPV fight card primer, previewing all the action at UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche. Here, we look at Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar.
UFC 157 includes action in the Bantamweight division as Urijah Faber (26-6 MMA; 2-2 UFC) faces Ivan Menjivar (25-9 MMA; 4-2 UFC). This is the third of five fights on the UFC 157 PPV. UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche airs live from Anaheim, California this Saturday, February 23. The main card begins on PPV at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
This is a fight that seemed close to happening last summer. When Faber was set to challenge champion Dominick Cruz and Cruz went down with an injury, the UFC looked to fill his spot with another challenger. Renan Barao ended up getting the call and going on to become the interim champion, but from many reports, Menjivar was on the short list of options. Now, these two met, and while I don't see the winner immediately moving on to a title shot, this is still definitely a clutch fight for both.
How do these two stack up?
Faber: 33 years old | 5'6" | 69" reach
Menjivar: 30 years old | 5'6"
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
"The California Kid" Urijah Faber was once a 21-1 fighter, the WEC Featherweight champion, and in discussion for top pound for pound fighters. But ever since losing that title to Mike Brown in 2008, he has not found that consistency, going 5-5 despite a drop down to Bantamweight. All 5 of those recent losses come in world title fights (yes, that means Faber has had 5 straight losing efforts in title fights). Faber still can beat almost anyone in the division, but just seems unable to beat the very best anymore.
It's hard to believe Menjivar is only 30. The 12 year veteran has fought all over the world in a wide variety of weight classes. He had a solid 3 fight win streak in the UFC in 2011/2012, and looked on the verge of title contention when he dropped a dull decision to Mike Easton last summer. He's since scored a rebound win over Gashimov, but that momentum is gone. A win here would be huge for Menjivar, and if he wants to have another run towards the top, it has to start now.
Why should you care?
These tend to be two exciting fighters, who should put on a spirited fight. Plus, given the recent cuts and Dana White's statement that a Faber loss could potentially mean his exit from the company, there is an extra intrigue added.