Former WEC superstar Urijah Faber managed to earn a win on his UFC debut tonight in the co-main event of UFC 128, but Eddie Wineland made sure he had to work hard for it.
Faber made his intentions clear from the start as he threw a few punches purely to set up a takedown attempt. Wineland did very well though to stuff it.
Not easily put off Faber continued to look for takedowns, but surprisingly Wineland was more than a match for him and showed exceptional base to remain on his feet on each occasion. Even more of a surprise, Wineland then took Faber down, albeit momentarily.
Clearly a different approach was called for and Faber started to engage in the stand-up. Despite Wineland being the more technical striker on paper, Faber was actually getting the better of the exchanges thanks to his fast hands, though a big right hand from his opponent was the most significant strike of the round.
It looked like round two was going to feature more stand-up action until Faber suddenly shot for a single and then swept Wineland’s other leg to finally get the takedown he’d been looking for.
This is Faber’s world and though he remains stuck in Wineland’s guard for the rest of the round he’s able to stay busy and land some reasonably effective ground and pound while easily shrugging off any attempts from his opponent to get the fight standing again.
More stand-up to start round three, and it’s fairly even stuff. Faber looks for a takedown but Wineland does well to stuff it once again. Continuing to press forward Faber’s fast hands again help him out and he lands some solid straight rights.
Then he switches to another takedown attempt as they clinch up. It looks like Wineland is going to fight it off but Faber manages to duck under and finally drives him to the mat. From their he’s able to again stay busy with elbows and punches until the final bell.
It’s a close fight but Faber had the edge and he earns a unanimous decision victory by 29-28 on all three scorecards, and with two wins under his belt at bantamweight, a title shot with Dominick Cruz now looks on the cards.