WEC 26 took place on March 24, 2007. This card featured a Bantamweight championship fight between the champ, Uriah Faber, and the challenger, Dominick Cruz.
Cruz was new to the organization and this would be his first fight in the WEC.
Faber was coming off of back to back wins over both Joe Pearson by submission in Round 1, and Cole Escovedo by KO in Round 2. He was explosive, tough, and highly favored to win this match.
Round 1: Faber and Cruz come to the center and start the feeling out process. Faber throws a high kick that lands to Cruz’s shoulder. Cruz backs off momentarily then closes the distance. They start to circle each other in the middle, feeling each other out. Faber charges forward, throwing a sharp right hand that Cruz blocks. Faber drops his hands and taunts Cruz to come in, then throws a wicked left right combo. Cruz blocks, dodges, and returns with a left right combo of his own. Faber looks very confident, throwing another attempted high kick. Cruz backs out of the way, and they engage again.
They both circle each other in the center, trying to establish some offense. Faber backs up slightly then charges forward, throwing a haymaker right hand that misses the mark. Cruz immediately counters with a punch and a high kick which lands to the top of Faber’s head, but doesn’t do any damage. Faber moves forward, hands down at his sides, showing no respect for Cruz’s power. As they circle Cruz attempts a couple of right hands that miss. Faber backs up and blasts forward, catching Cruz with a strong right hand. He grabs Cruz’s head in the clinch and tries to land a knee.
Cruz pushes Faber back and they square off once again. Cruz grabs Faber and attempts a takedown. They both go to the mat, but Uriah has Cruz’s neck. They both scramble, attempting to gain a better position, but Faber still has Cruz’s neck surrounded with his right arm. Cruz is able to stand and break free momentarily, when Faber catches him with a knee to the face. They both drop down to the mat again, with Uriah once again holding onto Cruz’s neck with his right arm. Dominick is trying to improve his position, while Faber attempts to connect his hands for a full guillotine.
Cruz continues to work and Faber is finally able to clasp his hands together, then throws his left leg over Dominick’s back into a guillotine choke. Cruz starts trying to fight it, and Faber uses his own momentum to flip him completely over onto his back, still holding the choke. Cruz still tries to fight off the choke, but Uriah’s grip is way too tight, and after a few more seconds Cruz is forced to tap. Referee Herb Dean separates the two and Uriah Faber defeats Dominick Cruz by submission in Round 1.
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