UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber opened up with a quartet of preliminary bouts, streamed live on the UFC’s Facebook page. All four bouts at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas went the distance.
Brian Bowles vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Brian Bowles looked to earn his second UFC victory and was placed with the tough task of facing Takeya Mizugaki. The two top ten bantamweights showed a lot of respect early, engaging in small exchanges with caution and precision. Mizugaki countered with low kicks and a straight right, while Bowles used his speed to stick his jab and right hook.
After a close first round, the former WEC bantamweight champion began to get more comfortable with his strikes and was able to take Mizugaki’s back in the second and third rounds. It appeared that Bowles may have hurt his right hand during the fight as he was a little reluctant to use it in the later rounds.
After three rounds, Bowles was named the victor by unanimous decision. The win moved him one step closer towards title contention in the growing bantamweight division.
Aaron Simpson vs. Brad Tavares
Aaron Simpson continued his resurgence from a two-fight losing streak on Saturday with a hard fought decision victory over Brad Tavares, his second consecutive victory. It was a solid win for the division one All-American wrestler who kept his middleweight dreams alive.
Simpson pressed Tavares against for almost three minutes, working for a takedown, but was unable to get the Hawaiian on the mat. Referee Josh Rosenthal reset the fighters back to the center, but Tavares found himself with his back on the fence again shortly after.
Tavares stunned Simpson with a right hand early in the second but was able to recover and briefly took Tavares’ back. The former “Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 participant found himself against the fence as Simpson continued to pressure him. Tavares reversed positions and landed a big slam against the former Arizona state wrestler but Simpson immediately got back up.
The final round saw a few spurts of action and was best summarized by Simpson’s smothering game plan. Brad Tavares displayed impressive takedown defense but it was not enough to sway any of the judges in his favor. After three rounds, Aaron Simpson was awarded the unanimous decision. The loss was the first for Tavares.
Anthony Njokuani vs. Andre Winner
Both fighters exchanged early with Njokuani mixing up his hands and legs while Winner moved forward with a boxing oriented approach. Njokuani rocked Winner with a counter uppercut near the end of the first round and unleashed a barrage of precise knees and punches. Miraculously, Winner was able to survive the round.
Njokuani stunned Winner again just a minute into the second round, but the Brit was able to weather the storm. Unfortunately, Winner was unable to overcome his opponent’s striking prowess and failed to land any effective strikes.
The final round saw more of the same with Winner backing up with every onslaught by Njokuani. Andre Winner showed a lot of heart, but it was the Nigerian’s accurate strikes that dictated the fight. After three rounds it was an obvious unanimous decision victory for Anthony Njokuani.
Jeff Hougland vs. Donny Walker
A pair of Octagon newcomers opened up UFC 132 and they both put on a solid performance. Jeff Houghland entered the cage riding an eight fight winning streak while Donny Walker brought seven of his own.
Hougland, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt, showed his experience on the ground and utilized a very effective jab. Landing the cleaner punches and kicks with some near submission finishes, Hougland earn a unanimous decision over Walker after three rounds.